RUSH front-of-house engineer Brad Madix recently spoke with MixOnline.com about the gear used on the latest tour - his fifth - with the band. An excerpt is available below:
Brad Madix signed on for his fifth full tour as front-of-house engineer for Rush this past year, and for the first time, the iconic Canadian progressive-rock power trio would have a string section perform on stage with them.
"I'd worked with strings in the past, but it was always either in a very quiet setting with minimal sound reinforcement or the violins were strictly electric," Madix explains. "On Rush's Clockwork Angels tour, the band definitely meant for the strings to be featured and acoustic. The main challenge was going to be fitting pickups to the instruments without tampering with them too much and getting a great sound with maximum isolation—all in a high-gain environment."
With the strings being placed directly behind Neil Peart's drum kit, Madix had to rule out miking the instruments as a section or even individually. He opted instead to use bridge mounted pickups on most of the instruments: "We wanted to avoid any involved install on the instruments, hoping to find a solution that simply clamped on [as opposed to replacing a bridge or gluing something to the instrument]. There were a few different solutions available, all of which amounted to some version of a piezoelectric pickup mounted to the instrument in one fashion or another.
"That's when things got a little dicey," Madix continues. "All of the piezoelectric pickups are very hi-Z. In fact, our first choice topped the list at 10 million ohms! Obviously we were going to need a DI for these and it was probably going to have to be an active one, and even then not just any was going to do the trick. When I started digging into which would make the best solution I was not surprised to find that input impedance specs on DIs are generally a bit lower than we were going to need. We found preamp solutions, but they offered too many bells and whistles for my taste. We just wanted to get the signal to the consoles in the best possible shape."
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As previously reported, MusicRadar.com presents In Conversation, a new podcast interview series in which RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS drummer Chad Smith sits down for wide-ranging, one-on-one chats with some of the most inspirational musicians of all time.
Multiple award winning and Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, Smith hasn't lost sight of what it's like to be a fan and last month, a few days before the legendary Canadian trio RUSH were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, he indulged his inner prog rocker and joined iconic guitarist Alex Lifeson for a laugh-filled, leisurely dinner at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, California.
"The invisible interview - that's what I call it," says Smith. "Friends, thoughts, information - why do you do what you do? Admiration, respect, insight and maybe a surprise."
In Conversation is not a traditional interview; it's an insight into the personal and professional lives of two great musicians. Over striped sea bass and baked duck, Smith and Lifeson enthusiastically hold forth on a variety of topics. Although their histories and bands couldn't be more different, their commitment to unconventional self-expression shows a deep, mutual bond.
"I've been a Rush fan since high school," says Smith. "Neil [Peart] gets a lot of attention, as he should, but Al is under appreciated, I think. He is as great a musician as he is to be around. I'm honored for him to be my first. He was gentle with me!"
"On his own, Chad Smith has always been a brilliant raconteur, but when paired with a fellow musician, he proves to be an incisive interviewer, one who is both fan and peer," said Joe Bosso, US Editor, Musicradar.com. "We are thrilled to be working with him on In Conversation, where he brings our readers and listeners inside the personal and professional lives of music stars in his own disarmingly casual, friendly and funny way."
MusicRadar.com will publish the first part of In Conversation: Chad Smith With Alex Lifeson on Monday, May 13th, and will roll out additional installments once a week for three consecutive weeks. Later this year, Smith will talk with other artists - legends, peers and up-and-comers - in what will undoubtedly be a can't-miss series of interviews for music fans all over.
(Thanks: Rush Is A Band