New York, NY (August 29, 2017)—Perennial pop-punkers Blink-182 has been on the road behind its latest album, California, with Jason Decter, the band’s front of house engineer for the past eight years, manning a SSL L200 Live console provided by Hi-Tech Audio via Rat Sound Systems.
As a trio, the band takes up only 36 channels, but while the genre is punk, that doesn’t mean the sound is sloppy or anaemic. Decter highlighted that fact as he discussed how drummer Travis Barker “hits like he's a machine—he never stops. He's constantly filling the space. Of course, with that comes the challenge of the dynamics in the tom mics, the delicate blend of the snare, and so on. You don't want to hard gate anything because one minute he hits it really hard and the next he'll be really delicate—like a soft roll or that sort of thing. For that, I'm digging the channel gate and the filters in the L200; they are so precise. I can notch out the cymbal bleed and get a direct-source sound without compromising the sizzle in the mics. Also, the new version 4 software for SSL Live has the Submonix processor in the effects section, so I use that on the kick to fatten it out... And I use a lot of parallel compression."
The only outboard that Decter has with him is his favorite reverb processor for lead vocals. Everything else is inside the console—a combination of the 48-slot internal FX rack and the full-featured standard processing path. "I try to get as close to the record as I can with effects and delays and so on, but I layer the dynamics so I don't squash it so hard. That way, the kick drum still hits you in the chest... It's still a live show so you've got to feel something more… The audience is familiar with the sound, so I provide them with that, but leave a lot of energy in there too."
He attributed a lot of value in the responsiveness, accuracy, and low latency of the L200's signal path and processes: "I think the desk treats the audio more like a broadcast console would. My first impression was that it was incredibly smooth, but then when you get into it you find you can really fine-tune it with gates and filters. You can get a really warm sound.
Solid State Logic