Mexican Star Launches 2024 “Éxodo” Tour with Solid State Logic Live

Peso Pluma fuses música Mexicana with elements of hip-hop, trap and reggaeton

Front-of-house engineer Fernando Guzman is taking a Solid State Logic Live L550 Plus and an L350 Plus mixing console in addition to a rack of SSL BUS+ and Fusion analogue processors on the road for GRAMMY® Award-winning música Mexicana star Peso Pluma‘s 2024 “Éxodo” Tour.

Peso is at the forefront of combining música Mexicana with elements of hip-hop, trap and reggaeton and bringing it to a wider audience, performing at arenas and festivals across North America, Mexico and Latin America with a band playing traditional instruments.

Guzman, a 30-year veteran of the industry who took a 10-year break from touring to work as SSL’s Live Product Specialist, returned to the road in August 2023 with Peso Pluma, mixing most of his shows through the end of that year using an SSL Live L200 Plus console supplied by 3G Productions, along with one THE BUS+ and a Fusion. For the “Éxodo” album tour, production provider Solotech is supplying a primary L550 Plus and a reserve L350 Plus console, together with a rack of five THE BUS+ and two Fusion analogue processors.

Having spent a decade training people to operate SSL’s Live series mixing desk, Guzman’s choice of FOH console is hardly surprising. But it’s the sound quality of the 64-bit native console that he appreciates most. “You can feel all this separation in the sounds and there is space to allocate every single sound in the mix,” comments Guzman, who has worked with major Mexican artists including Juan Gabriel, Caifanes, Cafe Tacuba, RBD, Jenni Rivera, Espinoza Paz, Chiquis, Tigres del Norte, Manu Chao, Benny Ibarra, Alejandra Guzman, Emmanuel and OV7. “Plus, it has real SSL SuperAnalogue preamps.”

He continues, “I’m a geek about time aligning and am very conscious about what’s happening with latency. So low latency and how the system manages it is big for me in the decision-making process when selecting a console. That’s why I also prefer to mostly use SSL’s internal plug-ins, because they have ultra-low latency, no more than one or two samples.”

Most importantly, Guzman says, “I mix on buses, not on VCAs or DCAs and, in my opinion, the best feature of the SSL Live console is the summing section.” For the upcoming “Éxodo” Tour Guzman added five THE BUS+ and two Fusion units to his FOH rig: “They sound fantastic. I feel that the quality in the mix has very much been elevated – I mean, it’s the ultimate bus compressor from the original manufacturer, so it’s going to sound good. Its additional compression types and saturation modes can add so much flavor.”

It might be his hands on the faders, Guzman says, but live sound is a team effort: “As a front-of-house engineer, the P.A. engineer is my partner. The excellent results that we get, night after night, are the result of two people, not just me, so I really must mention the great work of Julio Valdez from 3G, who was our system engineer on last year’s tour leg, and our current system engineer, Ben Malone, from Solotech.”

Peso Pluma’s band plays a variety of traditional Mexican instruments, all picked up wirelessly, including a tololoche, or upright bass; ​​three guitars, including a requinto (a smaller version of the classical six-string guitar) and a 12-string bajo quinto; and two alto horns (or saxors), known as charchetas in Mexico. Guzman assigns the instruments, also including an electric bass, individually or in combination to separate buses and processes them through THE BUS+ units. “I really wanted to keep a consistent flavor at every single step of the processing,” he says, explaining his decision to use only SSL outboard processors. “Every single bus individually gets THE BUS+ to control the dynamics.”

In música Mexicana, he elaborates, the tololoche contributes melody as well as percussion via two piezoelectric pickups, one on the body and another on the neck, while the two charchetas add harmony. Together, the three instruments form the foundation of most songs. “Then, the harmony between the three guitars is very powerful. That’s the drive in the mix. And we have two singers in this show; the first, of course, is the lead singer, Peso Pluma, and the second is a trombone. The trombone plays as a vocal in the mix, so you hear the Trombone talking to the singer, like a conversation,” he says. “This band is amazing; with ties to Mexico, including Sinaloa, the pure source of the best Mexican music of this kind.”

Summing up his overall signal flow, Guzman says, “I like to send inputs to buses then create processing on each bus — parallel compression and other things to make it shine. Then I send my buses to the masters. I’m using three masters, one for the music, one for the vocals and one for the subwoofers. All the masters are blended in the matrix and feed the P.A.”

Guzman sends the music master through a Fusion multi-processor. “The Fusion and the first THE BUS+ in the rack are in a cascade and are inserted into the music master, so the Fusion is not touching any vocals,” he says. “If we enhance that beautiful, natural character of the console with Fusion the result is amazing. It’s the palette coloring the mix. The Fusion basically provides the way to make this mix beautiful, to make it shine, make it warm and to make it appeal to the senses.”

Following shows at both Coachella weekends in April, Peso Pluma’s 2024 “Éxodo” Tour in support of his new album, due for release this summer, began on May 26 at the Sueños Festival in Chicago. The North American leg includes more than 35 shows, many in arenas, including dates in New York, Miami, Dallas, Las Vegas, and San Diego before wrapping on Oct. 11 in Montville, Connecticut.