New York, NY (September 1, 2017)—Pop-rock stalwarts Tears For Fears returned to the road this summer on a co-headlining shed tour with another famed duo, Hall & Oates. Along for the ride was TFF’s longtime FOH engineer, Doug Kimball, who incorporated Focusrite’s ISA 828 eight-channel microphone preamp into his setup for the group.
“I was searching around for preamps, something I could use in a rack setup,” he said. “I came across the 828, saw that it had eight channels of Focusrite pres in a 2U rack space, and said, ‘Okay, let me check this out.’ I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate a splitter, set it up so that everything went into the 828s first, and then slid out to both monitors and front of house. That way, we were all getting the preamp sound. And we can get the best of both worlds—we get analog on the front end, and then we can still have the conveniences of the digital world, with recall and all that. I’ll tell you, when we started rehearsals, my jaw was on the ground, like “Why didn’t I think of this a long time ago?” The monitor guy, who’s been working with Tears for Fears for four years himself, was the same: ‘Why didn’t we do this years ago?’”
“The 828 just warmed everything up, and gave me tones I hadn’t heard for years, bringing in those second and third harmonic tones,” he added. “Specifically with Tears for Fears, the bass tone had always been a bit thin and clanky. So what I tried was to bring in a diaphragm microphone to replace what we had been using, then put the Focusrite pres on both channels—and it completely changed the sound of that bass. It sounded so warm. I thought, there it is! That’s the sound I’ve been looking for.”
While Kimball has worked with everyone from Lady Gaga to Aerosmith, “I’ve been working with Tears for Fears for years,” he said, “and the main reason is that I just really love their music. For a sound guy, it’s really rare to be working with a band like that. With them, it’s like mixing a record in a studio every day. These guys are just phenomenal—and they’re great human beings on top of that.”