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Jay-Z Gets Midas Touch

New York (August 19, 2010)--Jay-Z’s current world tour finds the rap superstar accompanied by a Midas XL8 live production system at FOH, provided by Clair.

Kenyatta ‘Kelo’ Saunders mixedJay-Z to close out
the 2010Wireless Festival in London’s Hyde Park.
New York (August 19, 2010)–Jay-Z’s current world tour finds the rap superstar accompanied by a Midas XL8 live production system at FOH, provided by Clair.

At the controls is Kenyatta ‘Kelo’ Saunders, the rap artist’s long-time sound engineer and Grammy-award winner, who’s worked with artists including D’Angelo, Eminem, The Roots, Joss Stone and Erykah Badu.

This tour marks his first outing with a Midas digital system. “At heart, I’m an analog guy,” he confesses. “I’ve been using the Heritage 3000 for most of my work for years, and I’m all about the warmth of analog! I’ve tried other digital consoles, but moving to the XL8 is the only thing so far that makes me feel at home; I love it.

Kelo has been using the XL8’s Area B in dual mix mode. “I like being able to mix and have my tech work out any problems without stopping my workflow, and this is genius!” he says. “I can set up the focal channels for each song and have them just a touch away. I break the band down as if it was a studio mixing session, with each VCA group being a different instrument type, and the last two VCAs as master vocal and master band faders. This makes it easy to bring down the overall level of the band if I need the voice to stand out a little more.”

“The EQ, gates and multiple compressors are stellar. When you EQ something, you can hear it changing just like on a Midas analog console. The multi-band compressor is my all time favorite. Jay-Z naturally has this 2- 2.5k thing on his voice depending how hype he is. The multi-band compressor allows me to keep that under control without sounding too extreme.”

Another feature which Kelo found invaluable during the summer festival season was the XL8’s five daylight-visible screens with 3-way KVM switch. “The screens are highly visible in sunlight, and I like the fact I can keep my eyes on the stage while making adjustments on the console,” he says. “I’ve taken advantage of the KVM switch to add the DN9696, so I can see and control my recordings straight from the desk without leaving it.”

Jay-Z, Kelo and the XL8 are rounding out the summer with more US live dates, including four joint concerts with Eminem in Detroit and New York.