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Marc Carolan at a U2 concert where MUSE was the opening act
Carolan's new setup
Adam Taylor's monitor bunker during the Drones 360 Tour
Monitor tech/audio crew chief Liam Tucker and Adam Taylor in the monitor bunker during the Simulation Theory Tour

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". During Map of the Problematique and the solo of Thought Contagion), the Whammy is also synchronised to the click track allowing Matt to walk around on stage instead of controlling the Whammy pedal.

FOH console and rack

For a long time, FOH engineer Marc Carolan used a Midas XL4 and a Midas PRO 6 mixing desks along with a rack filled with:

  • Empirical Labs EL8 Distressors and BSS Audio 901II multiband compressors for vocals and various other elements (Carolan reffers to the latter as his swiss army knife);
  • GML 8200 EQ on the main L/R bus;
  • Yamaha SPX 2000 on snare;
  • Dbx 160s on kick and floor toms;
  • Tube-Tech LCA-2B on bass and guitars;
  • Eventide H3000 for vocal processing;
  • Yamaha SPX2000s for drum effects;
  • Line 6 Echo Pro for vocal delays;
  • Bricasti M7 for reverbs;
  • Tube-Tech SMC-2B multiband compressor;

As of Autumn of 2018, he switched to a smaller, more compact Avid Venue S6L 32D digital console, coupled with Midas XL48 pre-amps in three rack units (used for drums/bass/guitars/vocals) He still uses the outboard gear.

Additionally, he's also been seen using the Genelec 8020 reference monitors at rehearsals only.

Both Carolan and Adam Taylor (see below) use the same set up for the current Simulation Theory Tour, with three shared Stage 64, 128-Channel Mac Pro dual record systems.

Monitors

In-ear monitors

Matt with Sennheiser EK300 beltpack

For a long time, all three band members used 'Westone' UM2 In-Ear Monitors (IEMs).

During last few tours, they have upgraded to Westone UM3 IEMs.

According to Taylor, the monitor engineer, they have tried every make and model of custom IEMs however the generic Westone IEMs always work for them, as they are lightweight, easily replacable and provide lots of consistent isolation.

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 used to be Sennheiser G3 300.[1]They've now upgraded to the Senheiser 2000 transmitters.[2]

Also, Dominic has two L-Acoustics dV-SUB subwoofers[3] sitting behind him to add more low end to his monitoring needs and Chris has two d&b J-SUBs for the same reason.[4][5]

Monitor console and rack

Muse's long time monitor engineer, Adam Taylor, used to use a Digidesign Profile desk (for Automation, Delay & Reverb purposes) and a Midas Heritage 3000.

For The Resistance tour, e upgraded to a Midas Pro 9.

As of the Simulation Theory World Tour in 2019, he upgraded to an Avid S6L console.

Plug-In wise, he is using Sonnox EQ and Dynamics, McDSP Channel G and EQ and various S6L's standard live-bundle plugins.

Hardware wise, he is currently using the GML 8200 EQ for IEM outputs, four Little Labs Phase Allignment units and an Aphex Dominator II.

The wireless units are Senheiser with a mixture of Neumann 105 and Senheiser dynamic capsules.

PA System

Before The Resistance world tour, Muse used an L-Acoustics V-Dosc system. As of The Resistance tour, Marc Carolan's PA system of choice are the d&b Audiotechnik J-Series speakers[6].

Additionally, for the Drones 360 tour, with the stage being in the centre, they were using d&b's array processing, allowing them to have an even coverage along the entire venue.

Currently, during the Simulation Theory World Tour, they use the following d&b set up:[7]

Simulation Theory Tour Outdoor Set Up:

  • Main/Side/Delay Hangs: GSL Series
  • 220 Degree Hangs and Ring Delays: KSL Series
  • Subs: SL-Subs ; Y10p Series
  • Front Fills: J12 Series
  • Amps: D80 amps connected over fibre networks
  • A/D Conversion: Apogee Rosetta 800
  • System Processor: Lake LM-44, Cisco based fibre dual ring system, Teqsas cyberteq distribution system, Dante AVIO adapters and Unifi Mesh Pro WiFi System
  • Back Up System: Avid 24C and E6L 192
  • Support Package: 2 aAvid S6L 24C 112 Engines Shared I/O systems
  • Intercom System: Green-GO Digital Communication Systems with over 30 wired and wireless comms

Simulation Theory Tour Indoor Set Up:

  • Main/Side/Delay Hangs: GSL Series
  • 220 Degree Hangs: KSL Series
  • Subs: SL-Subs in sub-array configuration
  • Front & B-Stage Fills: J10P Series
  • Amps: D80 amps connected over fibre networks
  • A/D Conversion: Apogee Rosetta 800
  • System Processor: Lake LM-44, Cisco based fibre dual ring system, Teqsas cyberteq distribution system, Dante AVIO adapters and Unifi Mesh Pro WiFi System
  • Back Up System: Avid 24C and E6L 192
  • Support Package: 2 aAvid S6L 24C 112 Engines Shared I/O systems
  • Intercom System: Green-GO Digital Communication Systems with over 30 wired and wireless comms

All PA is provided by Muse long-time live audio gear hire company Skan PA, based in Newbury, England.

Plectrum

Main article: Plectrums

Maraca

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

Cabasa

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".[8]

Wolstenholme's previous double-harmonica set up
Custom Muse Lee Oskar harmonica

Harmonica

Since around the middle of The 2nd Law tour, 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 diatonic harmonicas together as one alone couldn't achieve all of the notes needed for the song.

References


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