After hanging up his bass guitar from his time in bands like Kix and Wrathchild America, Brad Divens has been the Front of House engineer for a range of major artists, including Linkin Park, Cyndi Lauper, Garbage, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band and Mötley Crüe. This summer he mixed major European shows for Enrique Iglesias where, since switching to a Yamaha Rivage PM digital mixing system, he was able to bid a final farewell to years of touring with outboard racks.
Like all experienced engineers, Brad cut his teeth on analogue mixers. Since, he has used various digital systems, but it was when friend and fellow engineer Frank Scamalone recommended the Yamaha Rivage PM series that Brad properly took the plunge.“I knew that I wanted to do something different and Frank kept telling me ‘Look Brad, just plug an SM58 into it and listen to your voice, that's all you need to do and you will want to check it out.’ We had a long conversation about it because he's one of my peers and I trust his opinion when it comes to mixing,” says Brad.
He contacted Yamaha in Nashville for a system demo and immediately appreciated what Frank was saying. A key benefit of his switch to Rivage PM has been the ability to reduce, and then eliminate, the outboard rack he was carrying with his previous digital system.“When using other digital desks, I immediately felt that I needed to add something because they are a little on the sterile side. For example, with the previous system, I had all my group and mix buss processing on outboard. But when I tried the Rivage PM system I found there was nothing digital-sounding about it,” he says.
“There wasn't much rehearsal time before the first tour I wanted to use it started. My intention was to start with the rack in place, because I was happy with the group processing, and concentrate on the inputs. But by the end of the tour I wanted to have eliminated the rack, mixing only on the system and not having to worry about carrying anything else.”
As the tour progressed, Brad gradually replaced the rack processing with the Rivage PM system’s processing. By the time it was halfway through, the lead vocal channel was the only thing he was using the rack for.
“Once I was only using the Rivage PM system, I was like ‘This is it. This is beautiful. It’s exactly what I knew I could do with it,” he says.
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