Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett at Montreux mixed using Waves

John Harris, music mixer for the Stravinsky Hall at Montreux Jazz Festival and partner in Music Mix Mobile, along with head technician Jerome Blondel and technician Rene Weis, used Waves’ SoundGrid technology and plugins to mix the 2015 event from the Le Voyager broadcast truck.

Among the highlights this year was a somewhat unusual duet from Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, introduced by legendary producer Quincy Jones.

“The configuration we used in Le Voyager for mixing the Montreux Jazz Festival’s broadcast for the Stravinsky Hall was a SSL C200 HD console, and in order to run Waves plugins we used the DiGiGrid I/O devices that handled the MADI/analogue-to-SoundGrid conversion with a SoundGrid Server One that enabled us to run 32 inserts of plugins in low latency, all controlled via the Waves MultiRack plugin host that was running on an iMac,” said Blondel.

A wide variety of Waves plugins were also put to use, according to Harris: “We used the Waves CLA-76 Compressor/Limiter, Waves Renaissance Vox and Waves Renaissance DeEsser in some combination on pretty much everything – kick, snare, bass, guitars, keys and vocals. I used the Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor and the Waves L3-LL Ultramaximizer on the master output," he noted.

“The Waves H-Reverb is really fantastic. I was really taken with the 224 preset; I owned an analogue 224 and the H-Reverb is so like it it’s scary. I am a big fan of drum rooms, and the H-Reverb has a bunch. It is now a permanent part of my sessions.”

And having both stars on stage at the same time presented Harris with a number of challenges: “I needed a solution to getting Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s vocals to both ‘pop,’ separately of course, but it was more important to get them together for the Montreux Jazz Festival mix. 

"They have different styles, volumes, microphones, monitoring, everything, but it had to sound like two halves of one whole. Combining the Renaissance DeEsser, Renaissance Vox and the CLA-76 Compressor/Limiter, with just a few tweaks, did the trick. I have the Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor at a ratio of 2:1 before it, just touching the signal, and the L3 set at -10, just tickling it. It’s how I know my TV broadcast will be spot-on. Great packing for the music!”

Harris concluded: “The SSL console, Waves MultiRack, and the Waves Mercury plugin bundle are a winning combination. My mixes are 98% Waves, and the ability to bring ‘my’ sound anywhere in the world on any mixer via Waves MultiRack is the key for me. It’s now the sound of the Montreux Jazz Festival, and I couldn’t be happier.”