TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Live FOH engineer Christian Ulbrich (Ina Müller, Jazzanova, Rebekka Bakken, Eivind Aarset, Jessye Norman, Johannes Oerding, Dhafer Youssef, The Bad Plus) uses Waves plugins, Waves MultiRack and SoundGrid® DSP Server One on a DiGiCo SD5 console when touring with German artist Ina Müller.
Ulbrich notes, “The first time I worked with Waves was when I was doing studio sessions years ago. Waves was on the forefront of the plugin business, and everybody was using them. The jump to live sound was only a question of time, and when Waves finally came up with the SoundGrid technology and MultiRack I was more than willing to try it out. Implementing Waves plugins in your live sound workflow gives you all the possibilities that you have in the studio. Meanwhile, PA systems are getting more and more sophisticated and deliver great results. Together with a great desk like the DiGiCo SD5, I can really shape my sound and use all the great tools that would eat up tons of rack space if I were using hardware. And there’s also the portability: when I’m on smaller tours and have to deal with local PA and sound desks, I just bring my MacBook together with an interface (i.e. DiGiGrid/SoundGrid) and am able to use my favorite Waves plugins.”
On his Waves plugins of choice, Ulbrich adds, “The Waves H-EQ Hybrid Equalizer is a plugin that I love to use on piano. It is a very musical-sounding EQ with plenty of settings ranging from good old analog filters to digital ones that really cut through. It has an analyzing function and a keyboard compressor/limiter layout, which come in handy for quickly translating harmonics into frequencies. I love the Waves CLA-76 Compressor/Limiter and use it a lot. Its warm compression and fast attack make it ideal for vocals. In this digital age, we are always looking for tools that bring back the warm sound of analog, so I also like to add the NLS Non-Linear Summer or the Kramer Master Tape to give a mix buss a good measure of tape saturation. The one plugin I’m probably using the most is the Waves C6 Multiband Compressor. It’s the most versatile tone-shaping plugin, and it can be used on practically every channel and buss. I use it mainly on vocals/vocal groups and on the bass drum. Because it is so intuitive, I sometimes send the master mix to the C6 and make only a couple of subtle adjustments, for example to get rid of harsh mids at the high dynamics.”
On working with Ina Müller, Ulbrich adds, “Ina is not only a fantastic singer but also a comedian, and in between the 17 songs, a good part of her 2.5-hour show is the comedy part. She often steps down into the crowd to interact with the audience. It is absolutely paramount for the crowd to hear every whisper. When Ina stands directly in front of the main PA or the front fills, this can present a challenge sound-wise. I’ve found that for these occasions the Waves NS1 Noise Suppressor is a huge help. It automatically detects where dialog is cutting off and acts as an advanced gate, leaving me with more gain before feedback and with a much cleaner signal. I also use the NS1 on lavaliers when I’m mixing Ina’s late-night show, ‘Ina’s Nacht.’ The NS1 works great in conjunction with the Waves Dugan Automixer, a great tool that is easy to use and really saves your day.”
Ulbrich sums it up: “The ability to get all those tools out of the SoundGrid Server One’s 2U rackspace opens up tons of possibilities. I love it, and I find myself toying around with all the new options whenever I get the chance.”