New York (December 21, 2006)–While there are plenty of performers half her age who resort to lip synching onstage, Madonna’a vocals have always been the real deal, whether she’s standing stock still or in the middle of a dance routine that would send an aerobics instructor vaulting into the nearest wall. Helping capture the Material Mom’s vocal on her recent “Confessions” tour was a Focusrite Liquid Channel, manned by vocal tech Sean Spuehler.
Sean Spuehler and his Focusrite Liquid Channel on Madonna’s most recent tour.Spuehler, who’s typically a Digidesign Pro Tools engineer in the studio, made the rounds on the tour due to his recording history with the artist. “I worked with Madonna in the studio on some of her past albums,” said Spuehler. “She likes her [personal monitor] vocals to sound like the album as much as possible, so it just made sense for someone like myself to mix her vocal sound and effects live. I started doing live gigs with her on the American Life promotional tour, which I guess was an audition of sorts, and ended up doing The Re-Invention world tour in 2004. The latest Confessions World Tour was an extension of that. It was great to be able to shake things up and get out of the studio for a little bit and experience the excitement of a live gig.”
Spuehler used a compact set-up while on tour, based around the Focusrite Liquid Channel, Apple Logic 7 with an Apple G5, and a DiGiCo D5 console, along with the Focusrite ISA 430 Producer Pack. It was, however, the Liquid Channel that made the difference, he said, noting, “After finding the right setting for Madonna’s live vocal, the Liquid Channel proved unbelievably reliable. We never had to worry when going from city to city, as it always just worked. In the studio, its versatility is what makes it so useful. It’s perfect for getting the right warmth and tone for different singers. We wanted to use the Liquid Channel on tour because being able to try different settings is what interested us the most. I was a little afraid of a delay, but that was never a problem. We found a nice setting, and just left it alone after that.”