Raw, Intense Energy Delivered With Precise Balance
At press time, hardcore rock quartet Papa Roach (Jacoby Shaddix, lead vocalist; Jerry Horton, guitar; Tobin Esperance, bass; and Tony Palermo, drums) was amidst a month-long U.S. tour of mid-sized venues, co-headlining with Seether, which concludes on February 7 in Las Vegas at The Joint. The band and audio crew will then visit Australia and New Zealand in February and March, and then Europe on March 8.
The band’s energetic set list packs fan favorites from its recorded catalog, and includes two songs from its eighth release, F.E.A.R., due out on January 27. Mix caught Papa Roach’s January 13 performance in Philadelphia at the Electric Factory.
Front-of-house engineer Eddie Mapp says he joined this current tour “in mid-September  for a few rehearsal days as well as a few U.S. radio festivals before heading overseas for a month-long run, which covered parts of Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and Japan.
“Seether is also sharing our consoles at FOH and monitors, with the same basic setup, and the first two acts are on locally provided desks, which nowadays are all pretty much great quality consoles,” Mapp continues. “For this first run we’re pretty much self-contained, since we’re using house equipment. The band owns their in-ears and wireless rack, [monitor engineer] Mike [Lowe] and I each own our desks, plus we are carrying mics from Audio-Technica [for vocals], sE Electronics [drums], and Audix [kick drum and toms].”
Mapp says that the bands on this tour are relying on locally provided P.A. systems, but that Papa Roach is carrying “Jacoby’s personal d&b M2 wedges and two QSC KW181 [18-inch] subs for the drums. I like to approach each group that I work with in its own unique way to make everything as efficient and compact as possible without sacrificing quality. Before starting this tour I spoke with Mike for a few months, planning and ordering everything necessary to make this setup work.
“At FOH I have a Midas PRO2C and there’s a PRO1 in monitors, which is all networked together to give us a nice and efficient setup,” Mapp says. “All the inputs onstage are patched to a [Midas] DL151 [24-input stagebox with Midas mic preamps and dual-redundant AES50 networking], then sent via Cat-5e lines to the monitor desk, acting as the master console, where the rest of the inputs terminate to and are then sent down two additional Cat-5e lines to the FOH, which shares analog gain but has digital gain control.”
At a Papa Roach show, Shaddix’s vocals are of primary importance. Shaddix sings into an Audio Technica AE6100 into an AEW-5200 receiver, which patches directly into the Pro 1 monitor console. “On Jerry and Tobin’s vocals we are using AE6100 wireless mics as well, though the line output of each unit is patched in to a Rupert Neve Designs 5045 primary source enhancer, which essentially removes a few dB of ambient signal from the microphones,” Mapp says.
Mapp begins to build the mix each night with “all of the vocals, then [I] move onto the drum kit starting with cymbals, hi-hat and ride. This allows me to make sure that the system is capable of delivering highly intelligible vocals over top of the rest of the instruments coming off of the stage. After that I want to make sure that the bleed from any open microphones complement each other [in terms of] phasing, frequency and level. After that comes drums, bass and guitar.
“Papa Roach’s live shows are intense and full of energy, which is what I try to convey to the audience in the most consistent and coherent way possible,” Mapp says. “I like a powerful mix with good separation of each instrument that doesn’t hurt in the upper midrange. I tend to keep my mix at a decent level to give plenty of room for vocals and to allow headroom in the event that I need to push certain instruments so that they cut through tough acoustic spaces. Also I believe that each instrument is equally important and each input on the desk should count!”
Monitor engineer Lowe began with Papa Roach in April 2013 for The Connection tour. “Eddie and I discuss and walk through all audio decisions as a team, so we make choices that are best for both ends of the snake,” Lowe says. “The PRO1 serves as the master console controlling all analog head amps from our Midas 151 split box, with a 152 output box for giving a record split to an outside broadcast recording. In monitor world we are using Sennheiser G3 wireless for ears, and all band members are on JH Audio 13s or 16s. The fact that we are all on ears helps us work together, because I can keep the stage volume at a minimum to try to help Eddie as much as possible with his mix.”