Nearly 20 years and more than 6 million albums into her career, jazz chanteuse/pianist Diana Krall is bowing her latest collection, Glad Rag Doll, on October 2. A swing-based throwback to the 1920s and 30s, the album finds her working with producer T Bone Burnett and engineer Mike Piersante, all the while backed by a fine band—much as she was on Monday, September 24, as she performed selections from the new CD for a packed house of industry insiders at New York City’s The Box.
While it marked the live debut of her latest material, it also was the first performance with her new FOH engineer, Clive Alcock. With an audience hearing the jaunty new selections for the first time, keen, clear sound was key to the show. Alcock mixed the show on an Avid Venue Profile, and employed a variety of Neumann microphones for the gig.
“For vocals, she’s been using Neumann KMS 140s for quite a long time,” said Alcock. “It’s a wider cardioid than the more common KMS 105; she’s all over the place at the piano, so it helps make her voice more consistent in the mix. For the piano itself, I’m using a piano set-up that I like to use, which is to take the lid right off and get a couple of Shure KSM32s pretty close to the piano. It makes it sound big and open, and yet you can still get the mics close.”
Diana Krall's new FOH engineer, Clive Alcock, manned an Avid Venue Profile for her recent promo show at New York City's The Box.
Multi-instrumentalist and jazz star in his own right, Marc Ribot, contributed to the evening’s proceedings, adding violin, banjo and guitar. “He has a typical microphone/one-cable solution and a DSP pedal, but we’ve actually split some of those things off, so we have a separate EQ/limiter box for his violin, and then I’m taking his acoustic direct,” said Alcock. “Both of the guitar players have acoustic mics as well as direct. I actually use the acoustic mics on their electric guitars as well, because they’re doing that real old-timey kind of thing—almost like a swing band, rhythm section sound—so it helps that.”
While The Box, a 5,000-square-foot, Victorian-styled venue that holds 300 people, has its own in-house audio system, Krall’s audio crew brought in Meyer Sound CQ-2 loudspeakers and 600-HP subs to adorn each side of the stage. “We brought in the left and right stacks, because we wanted to avoid the spill off from the overhead boxes and just bring it down to band level,” explained Alcock.
The result was a big, present sound that fit the intimate venue and yet provided punch to the swinging sounds of Krall’s new album, as she and the band kicked off with a ripping rendition of “There Ain't No Sweet Man That's Worth the Salt of My Tears” and never looked back for the rest of the evening.