Swedish melodic death-metallers, Soilwork, have kick-started 2019 with a bang – in the form of a co-headline tour with Finnish metal giants, Amorphis. Performing 31 shows in 35 days across mainland Europe, Soilwork were supported by an Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixer running FOH and monitors.
The band’s full set-up includes an SQ-5 at FOH, with two DX168 I/O Expanders positioned on stage. Monitors are controlled from FOH, with an iPad placed on stage for the backline tech to make minor adjustments.
Tommy B (FOH & monitor engineer for Soilwork) purchased the SQ system, commenting, “Having mixed on most compact consoles, the Allen & Heath SQ series is by far the best. In the past, other manufacturers had set the standard for price friendly consoles, but the SQ just blows everything out of the water! With the SQ-5 I get great preamps, sharp EQ, super FX and with the DEEP compressors, it really adds that extra special something to the system. Plus, using the custom user layers makes a 30ch band seem like a walk in the park to control.”
The highlights of SQ for Tommy are the per channel DEEP processing capabilities, which he makes full use of. “I absolutely love the compressors! I use the Peak Limiter 76 for vocals, its attack and release really suits the lead singers vocal style, it also helps to keep his vocals in the centre of the mix the whole time, as his mic positioning can sometimes be off”, he comments. “I use the Opto on my drum group – heavily compressed – as it gives an extra kick to the drums in the main mix. With SQ’s low latency, it is possible to have L/R signals and groups in the mix at the same time, without any latency issues. I also use the Opto and the Tube Stage Preamp (with added Hi Drive) for the kick as it adds this great distortion, which means I can get this really heavy kickdrum sound with only one mic.”
Tommy continues, “I also use the 16VU on bass as it also has great compression but still gives the bass a powerful sound. The overall mix is combined with the Opto compressor; its slow attack and release keeps my mix together and adds the last and final punch.”