Danny Badorine started his live sound career with Clair Brothers for five years before going independent. After working as a tech for Incubus, Danny took over mixing monitors, and has since expanded his regular gigs to also include A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. I caught up with Danny between tours to get his thoughts on moving to VENUE | S6L after mixing on Profile systems for many years.
DH: What consoles were you using prior to S6L?
DB: Mostly Profiles. I’ve mixed on lots of different consoles, but I was on a Profile last tour. Was on a Profile I think for about four years with Incubus. They owned their monitor Profile. I just switched to an S6L with them earlier this year. I did A Perfect Circle in the spring on a Profile, and then Incubus in the summer on an S6L, which is where I learned the console.
It all came about because of Greg [Nelson—FOH engineer for Incubus and Pearl Jam]. Before we were going to go out with Incubus he talked to me, production, and management and said, “You know, I think it would be important to move into the future and move onto a different desk in the monitor world.” Everybody thought it was a good idea, so I got an S6L for them, and I believe the band actually bought the console they liked it so much. They owned their Profile before that and it’s just an investment thing for them, so they decided to buy one. I mean they loved it. They came in the first day and they just loved how it sounded.
DH: What was your approach to moving to the new desk—did you bring across your old VENUE show files?
DB: I did it two completely different ways. With Incubus I started from scratch. I didn’t use very many snapshots before on the Profile. It was pretty straightforward, so I just decided to start from scratch and that worked really well. With A Perfect Circle, I imported my file from the Profile, because it’s a snapshot-ridden show. There is a lot going on. And that worked pretty seamlessly—it surprised me a little how well it worked.
Well I had a good training with Chant [Peck, Avid product specialist]. He spent a day with me, and honestly, it was pretty easy to figure out. Once I got the flow of it, it made a lot of sense to me—Avid stuff always has. I’ve been working with Pro Tools for 20 years, so it’s just intuitive to me. I had pretty much maxed the Profile out as far as the busses and everything, so it’s nice to have that many more busses and that many more channels and options. But really, it just sounds so good! I mean that’s what makes it easier, because I don’t need to do anything complicated or fancy to get it to sound good. A little bit of EQ, maybe some compression—it just rips.
DH: What else stands out with the new system?
DB: Everything is right there—it’s really easy and fast to get around. There are more VCAs, that’s a really big advantage for me. Just a lot of little features. I think one of the biggest advantages is the way it interfaces with Pro Tools and sets up your file for you from the VENUE. You don’t have to constantly maintain a template. From day one with Incubus, they came in and played and I multi-tracked it and then spent the rest of the night dialing in my mix. By day two, I was really ready for them. It’s just that easy.
DH: Do you use the new “per channel” Virtual Soundcheck feature that lets you mix live and recorded channels?
DB: I see it happening in the future of A Perfect Circle, because Billy, our guitar player, is a perfectionist with his guitar tone. It’s really one of the most important parts of the music, and he spends a lot of time on it. We haven’t done it yet, but I do think we’ll do it in rehearsals at some point, where I’m just playing back the band and he can dial in his tone along with that. I’m super excited to have that option, because if a guy on stage is having a problem, I can say, “Look, we can play back to it if you want to play along with what’s going on. If you want to stay late we can do that.” To present myself as somebody who is willing to solve problems, that option really comes in handy.
It’s also really useful, because I can set up a guest mix right away. With Incubus when they were doing new stuff, the drummer came to me and said, “Hey, can you give me some mixes of these songs?” I sent them to him and it’s just really convenient to be recording now all the time. I also send it to the lighting guys, so they can work on their programming.
When I’m able to do that I’m confident and feel good about the mix I’m sending out. Sometimes that guest mix is just something you throw together and don’t really want to be judged on it, but I was actually really happy with the product of what I was sending out.
DH: Do you have different challenges with Incubus and APC, or is it kind of similar as far as what you face?
DB: It’s definitely different challenges with the different bands. With Incubus, Brandon likes to hear his voice pretty loud in his mix, and he likes a lot of reverb. He just loves to hear his voice sail. What’s funny with him is when a venue actually sounds pretty terrible and I’m having a struggling day, those are some of his favorite shows, because there is just so much reverb everywhere. He likes it. And it’s completely different with Maynard and A Perfect Circle, because he likes his voice sort of tucked in his mix and pitching off of the different instruments.
They’re just two completely different nuances, as far as how I’m mixing for those guys. And then A Perfect Circle just has a lot more going on. The Incubus mix stays pretty consistent, other than the keyboards. So I’m only really snapshotting keyboards. With A Perfect Circle, it can be a completely different mix on different songs—a lot more snapshot heavy, and a lot more movement with what everybody needs.
DH: Did the guys in Incubus notice the difference between S6L and the old Profile, or was it basically the same for them?
DB: They were always happy on the Profile, but they were really intrigued by the difference in the sound when I brought the S6L in. I brought in the S6L and every one of them said, “Wow, this sounds so much better!” which is awesome.