Grad Spotlight: Eddie Mapp

Conservatory graduate Eddie Mapp has done a ton of work in the past 15 years since he finished the program. Spending a lot of time both in the studio as well as doing live sound, his credit list continues to expand. From being a studio engineer and co-producer for Black Label Society, to running live sound as the FOH mixer for Evanescence, he has fully immersed himself in the audio industry.

In 2011, he wrote a premier article for Mix Magazine, outlining his techniques on how to be mic and mix vocal performances. Clearly his training, as well as his massive experience in the industry, has led him to becoming one of the most sought after engineers, especially in the live sound arena.

Reproducing the human voice in a concert situation can range from extremely easy (throw up the fader and go) to quite complex, depending on a number of situations surrounding the vocal. Are you mixing a soft-spoken singer, an aggressive rock group with multiple lead vocalists, or a pop artist whose crowd comprises 20,000 young teenage girls screaming at SPL levels higher than anything you’d ever want to compete with mixing-wise? In all of these environments, getting the vocal out there and on top is key to your mix.

In addition to bleed between other onstage instruments, fighting feedback can be a challenge depending on your singer and his/her position onstage. During the 2008 Stone Temple Pilots reunion tour, lead singer Scott Weiland was very energetic—many times climbing up the P.A. or stage trussing, as well as standing in front of the main P.A. for entire songs. This made it extremely difficult to keep his vocal on top of the mix while battling feedback from the main system, and I took many different directions before finding a solution. Using a combination of channel EQ, dynamic EQ, graphic EQ and even a Sabine feedback suppressor, I was able to maintain a reasonably consistent vocal with minimal feedback.

As a mixing engineer, it is your job to be attentive and deliver the best and most consistent show night after night, and this means paying close attention to the artist. Your knowledge of the artist and your ability to make split-second decisions cannot be replicated.

Recently Director of Education Mike Jones and educational assistant Matt Luckett had a chance to catch Eddie doing his thing live for Paramore when they hit up Comerica Theater here in Phoenix.