Waves plugins add ‘new dimension’ to Lorde’s live sound on Melodrama tour

The Front of House Engineer currently working on Lorde’s Melodrama tour is using Waves plugins to "try different things sonically". 

Philip J Harvey has been touring with Lorde since her rise to stardom as a teenager with the dream-pop-driven sound of debut album Pure Heroine. 

The arena set up includes an SSL L500 Plus console at front of house and a L-Acoustics’ L-ISA system, which maps to a multi-line array setup consisting of three 16-K2 plus two 21-KARA loudspeakers with four 16-KARA as extension hangs and two 8 K1 SB centre-hung subwoofers.

Harvey explained: "This set-up allows me to separate and localise my sound sources wherever I want in the house, creating a clear and totally immersive landscape for every single person in the audience. Before I even got in front of the L-ISA system, I used the Waves Nx Virtual Mix Room [a virtual monitoring plugin that delivers, on headphones, the same three-dimensional depth and panoramic stereo image you would be hearing from speakers in an acoustically treated room] to experiment and develop a sketch of the mix in a 5.1 setup, which was totally helpful to try out new ideas in creating a landscape for the venues in my headphones way before even seeing the system for the first time.” 

Harvey said using Waves plugins add a "new dimension" to the live sound, commenting: “There is a song called ‘Ribs’ that contains a side-chained stereo pad track. The Brauer Motion plugin inserted on this channel gives it an amazing rotational feel, which really adds a new dimension to the song live. Using it with the L-ISA system made the pads sound like they were rotating all across the arena, which was such a cool sensation.” 

On creating the layered, widening vocal effects and textures heard on some of Lorde’s biggest songs, Harvey commented: “In my vocal effects chain, I like to use two different reverbs throughout the set via MultiRack: the Waves Abbey Road Reverb Plates for a short reverb to reinforce the tonality of her voice and give it some extra character, and the IR-Live Convolution Reverb with a longer reverb setting using the Sydney Opera House impulse response to give her voice even more depth and expansion. 

"As a live mixing engineer, it’s a real bonus to be working with someone who really stands out with her natural talent.”