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Backing tracks and click-tracks

Muse make increasing use of backing tracks when performing live. This is a recorded track that the band play along to in order to add extra layers to their music which cannot be played by only three people.

This includes, for example, the orchestral strings in "Butterflies & Hurricanes", the synthesizer arpeggio in Bliss and the "Now, I want it now" backing vocals in "Hysteria" are played by Morgan Nicholls.

To keep in time with this track, the band have a digital metronome – synchronised to the recording – playing through their In-Ear Monitors, which the audience do not hear. A click track is also used in some songs which do not have backing tracks in order to keep in time with synchronised guitar effects like delays, for example in "Sing For Absolution".

FOH console and rack

Marc Carolan at a U2 concert where MUSE was the opening act

Front of House engineer Marc Carolan uses a Midas XL4 and a Midas PRO 6 mixing desks along with a rack filled with:

  • Empirical Labs Distressors and BSS Audio 901 multiband compressors for vocals;
  • Dbx 160s on kick and snare;
  • Tube-Tech LCA-2B on bass and guitars;
  • Eventide H3000 for vocal processing;
  • Yamaha SPX2000s for drum effects.


In-ear monitors

Matt with Sennheiser EK300 beltpack

All three band members use 'Westone' UM2 In-Ear Monitors (IEMs).

The whole purpose of In-Ear Monitoring is to reduce outside noise so that the artist can listen to the mix at comfortable levels thus saving his/her hearing, and as each set are custom made to fit their ear perfectly, over 20dB of isolation is given. The wireless transmitters are Sennheiser G3 300.[1]

Also, Dominic has two L-Acoustics dV-SUB subwoofers[2] sitting behind him to add more low end to his monitoring needs and Chris has two d&b J-SUBs for the same reason.[3][4]

Monitor console and rack

  • Digidesign Profile (for Automation, Delay & Reverb)
  • Midas Heritage 3000

PA System

The PA system used for The Resistance Tour consists of d&b audiotechnik[5]:

  • Main Array: J8/J12
  • Centre Hang: Q1
  • Subs: J-SUB
  • Fill with Subs: Q10
  • Amps: 96 D12 amps (digital in)
  • A/D Conversion: Apogee Rosetta 800
  • System Processor: Dolby Lake


Main article: Plectrums


Two maracas were used by Christopher Wolstenholme for the verse of "Endlessly" during the Absolution Tour.


Morgan Nicholls uses a cabasa during Supermassive Black Hole and Psycho, live. It was previously referred to as a "shaker" by fans, but when asked at the Royal Albert Hall gig on 12th April, 2008 he revealed that it was a cabasa. This has become a point of humour among Official Message Board members.

Morgan's Cabasa.jpg

Llama toenails

Used on "Screenager" and "United States of Eurasia", on which Matt described them as being "back with a vengeance".[6]


Chris plays a Muse custom Lee Oskar harmonica, to play "Man With A Harmonica" as an intro to Knights of Cydonia. Before this, Chris was taping two Lee Oskar diatonic harmonicas together as one alone couldn't achieve all of the notes needed for the song.


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