November 2, 2012

Rob Zombie Live Engineer Joel Lonky Talks Midas Pro 9 and Waves Plugins

Joel Lonky, front of house engineer for Rob Zombie on the Twins of Evil Tour, gave us an exclusive look into how he integrates the extensive set of Waves Multirack Live Sound Host and Plugins when using the Midas Pro 9 Live Audio System. Joel has an extensive pedigree of doing front of house sound for some of the world’s biggest live acts including Rage Against The Machine, Maroon 5, Cypress Hill, and Collective Soul just to name a few. While working with Rob Zombie in 2010 Joel switched over to a Midas Pro 6 console mid tour and has never looked back. The Midas Pro series has been his go to mixing console throughout the touring years and he is currently using their biggest and baddest model, the Midas Pro 9 Live Audio System.

Joel Lonky and the Midas Pro 9 with Waves Plugins

While the system Joel uses is as he says “truly plug and play,” there are a few workflow connections that must be facilitated to really make this console work flawlessly with the Waves Software Plugins. By using the Klark Teknik DN9650 Network Bridge, the Midas Pro 9 is able to be connected via a single CAT 5 from the AES50 input/output on the Midas console. From there the DN9650 network bridge is then connected to a Sonnet Echo Express  External PCIe to Thunderbolt Chassis using fiber optic SC cables. The Sonnet Echo Express is loaded with the RME MADI card to give it the power it needs to transfer high quality audio between the computer, interface, and Midas Pro 9.

To be able to facilitate scene changes the console must be connected to the interface via MIDI. Once connected, the CPU host must also be connected to the Sonnet interface which is done using a Thunderbolt cable. In addition a simple connection of VGA and USB from the computer to the MIDAS console displays the Waves plugins directly on the console’s right screen and allows for control of Waves Plugins and MultiRack using the trackball and keyboard on the Midas Pro 9 console. This is how the Midas is able to show the Waves plugins within the console and keeps Joel focused forward and on his mixing rather than what’s happening on a separate computer screen.

While all of these model numbers and configurations may sound confusing at first, this workflow is actually quite simplistic and is a welcomed change for the seasoned touring engineer. By eliminating the need for extensive amounts of rack mounted FX, compression, EQ, etc., Joel is able to streamline his workflow into a manageable system which makes prolonged and laborious sound checks a thing of the past. Connection and setup time has been minimized tremendously and Joel can focus less on getting the desk properly connected and functioning, and more time focusing on the fidelity of the front of house sound. This new system of digital mixing has seen more use from front of house engineers and is quickly becoming the new standard in live audio mixing. What really stands out with Joel’s current setup is the integration of the Waves Live plugins.

Started in 1992 Waves has been at the forefront of developing software solutions for live audio mixing. With their latest software development, Multitrack Native V9, they have added new features as well as updated their existing line of high quality plugins. Joel took us on a tour of some of the Waves Plugins he uses most frequently but to view the extensive list of available Waves plugins you can visit the Waves website. For Rob’s vocal Joel will use things like King’s Speech to get a distorted telephone style vocal as well as the OneKnob Driver for distortion effects. Joel extensively uses the C6 Multiband Compressor as well as the H-EQ for all his compression and equalization needs. One of the more interesting plugins used by Joel is InPhase which is used for correcting phase alignment and is perfect for the live sound engineer. Check out the video to see what other plugins Joel uses and how they look when running Waves with the Midas console.

Waves InPhase

After going over his live sound setup, Joel also showed us how he records the shows using a custom designed Pro Tools rig. Developed by long time friend and live sound veteran/producer Greg Price, this rig has all the capability to record every show, night after night, with pristine fidelity and ease of use.

After interviewing Joel we were treated to quite the Halloween themed spectacle with performances from Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. During Rob Zombie’s show we were able to see Joel in action as he pulled up scene changes and was able to adjust mixes on the fly with ease. Zombie’s show not only looked great with incredible stage theatrics, but it also sounded great with the help of Midas, Waves, RME, Klark Teknik, and Sonnet.

What do you think about the new advancements in digital mixing? What new technologies would you like to see incorporated into a front of house engineer’s arsenal? Which Waves Plugins have you the most excited? Let us know your thoughts and ask us any questions in the comments below.



I’m Joel Lonky and I’m Rob Zombie’s front of house engineer. Today we’re going to look at the Midas Pro 9 and integrating Waves into the Midas Pro 9 and any Midas Pro Series or 2C dash 2 console. The reason I choose the Pro 9 console is because it sounds the best to me. I think it has the best sounding front of any digital board. You can saturate it like an analog desk, run it in the red, and you don’t pay any of the digital penalties like a normal digital console. You can run it like an analog desk. To me it’s basically a digital XL4. All you Midas users, you know the power of our console. From you 2C users to you Pro 2 and all the way through you XL8 users – we know we have a powerful tool here.
But what can we do to make it better? Well what we can do to make it better is we can integrate Waves into our Midas and have a complete set of Waves plugins in our Midas console. Yeah I know you’re salivating on that one. It’s a good thing. So how do we do this? What’s our magical chain of events to make this Waves universe possible in our Midas? Well, it’s not as complicated as you think.

All we do is we come out of one of our AES50 ports, out of the back of the console, via Cat 5 cable into our Klark DN9650 Network Bridge. And what the network bridge is doing is it’s converting our AES50 signal into Madi. Coming out of that via optical Madi into the Sonic Chasity features our RME effects card, which is 194 channels in, 196 channels out, and three full Madi universes. That being said, that now interconnects via Thunderbolt directly to our laptop. And those are basically the links in the chain to get Waves onto your Midas.

Once you’re up and running, you can control everything from your console. There’s no need to be reaching for your laptop or fiddling while you’re mixing. It’s eyes forward, hands on the console, everything can be controlled by the two screens. Our hands are on the faders, if we have to make changes we can easily make changes just by using our KVM switches. We can bring up our device, we have full parameter control, and we have full control of our computer with our hands never leaving the console. I’m always on the console. Bring back up my default screens, we’re back in default. Oh it’s that easy to get the Waves rack back up again when we need it. My show being very cue specific, I really have to keep my hands on faders and buttons and things. I can’t be turning around trying to mess with stuff. So this really makes this thing even more desirable because I don’t have to reach for anything or take my eyes off of my show. Also the RME card gives us Midi ability. So I have 37 snapshots on my show, and what I’m doing is I have a scene for each thing on my Waves rack. So my Midi from the RME also triggers my Waves rack changes. So again it’s not manual, I don’t have to keep reaching over during every song and making changes. I can mix my show, and I don’t have to worry about my Waves rack and what it’s doing. I know it’s coming up on the right scenes.

So let’s take a look at some of the things from Waves I am using during the show. Looking at Rob’s vocal right here, we’re running an HEQ, which is an equalizer with a built-in analyzer and the actual musical note on the keyboard so you can transpose yourself pretty well that way, and it’s just doing some contour work. We have the King’s Speech which I use for several songs for that telephone megaphone kind of sound, great plug-in. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for that type of thing. The megaphone or the telephone sounding microphone. I use the Oneknob driver for actual distortion on the vocal, and it works great. Oneknob: no muss no fuss. I can’t say much more about that. And then there’s the good old C6 to contour everything that comes out of the back end of it, because inherently the distortion in the King’s Speech make it peaky at about 800 to 1.2k so you have to do some squeezing and some smashing to get it to fit where you want it. We’re using a Puig compressor on the acoustic guitar for just some nice mellow compression with a great algorithm. A lot of C4’s and C6’s are being used throughout. Let’s take a look at Piggy’s vocal. Here we’re using three different plug-ins in a chain. We’ve got an RVox into a C6 into a doubler. It’s pretty simple stuff, straight ahead, nothing that complicated… something that you could do at home. And moving around, we have pretty much the same setup on John 5’s vocals. We’re using the inPhase tool on the bass, which is a great tool. It basically gives us two inputs and we can compare the two traces and actually come up with the proper delay time for absolutely perfect phasing. And then that goes into our lovely C6. And there’s a plethora of C6’s and C4’s throughout. I haven’t gone super crazy yet, I’m still learning the Waves plug-ins myself. I’m still adding everyday and experimenting so it’s definitely a work in progress. But I’m finding that the tools are becoming invaluable, and I can’t live without some of them.

On a side note, let’s talk about how I’m running Pro Tools through the Midas. I know all of you are very interested in that as well: having virtual soundcheck and having the ability to record every night. Well, knowing the Midas consoles as we do, or if we don’t we have three AES50 ports on the back of a Pro Series desk. Normally, I can do 62 channels of Pro Tools, but because I’m also using Waves, I need 24 ins and outs for the Waves. So what we decided to do is run 48 tracks of Pro Tools and then the 24 of Waves and that file up our three AES50 holes. So what we do is we come out of the console via the two AES50 ports into another Klark DN9650 network bridge converting to Madi. We then come out of the Madi and the network bridge and go into an Avid Madi I/O and then directly into the Pro Tools HD 9. As you see here I have full playback ability, full recording ability, it’s just as good as anything else if not better because it’s Pro Tools, and I have it through the Midas. It’s a one button operation on the Midas. All I have to do is tell preferences to be tape returns and the board is ready to receive a virtual soundcheck. It’s that simple. It really is two Cat 5 cables, plug and play. I’d like to thank my friend Greg Price at Martini Music for putting this rig together to my spec. It’s been flawless the entire tour. I use it every day, I record every night, virtual soundcheck every day; its smooth like butter.

Well there you got everybody. I’m Joel Lonky and you just got a tour of my Pro 9 with Waves Native running and Pro Tools all running through the Midas. And you can do this too at home, don’t be scared. It will work and it will work great. Thanks for watching UniqueSquared and check out some other engineers videos on Waves Live from Greg Price and Pooch. They’re very informative and you’ll learn something.