Waves plugins mix Megadeth 2023 tour
Friday, 1 December 2023
chrisrakestrawMegadeth’s producer Chris Rakestraw doubles as their touring monitor engineer
USA - Front-of-house engineer Stanley Soares (known for his work with Sepultura, Devin Townsend, Motörhead, and Meshuggah) and producer/monitor engineer Chris Rakestraw (who produced/engineered the last two Megadeth albums) have chosen to mix Megadeth’s recent stadium tour with Waves plugins via the Waves SuperRack plugin host, seamlessly integrated in their DiGiCo Quantum 338 and Avid Venue S6L consoles.
Soares’ current setup when mixing Megadeth includes a DiGiCo Quantum 338 in conjunction with Waves SuperRack, Waves’ Mercury, the Studio Classics Collection and Abbey Road Collection bundles, all powered by two Waves Extreme SoundGrid Servers.
His setup involves three dedicated computers: the first hosts Waves SuperRack, the second manages recordings and virtual soundcheck through a DiGiGrid MGB interface, and the third handles Smaart and walk-in music duties.
“The Waves integration provides a clean and efficient workflow, allowing me to keep focus on the mix,” Soares says. “Several plugins are my go-tos. I consider the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ as the ‘The Swiss Army Knife’ of plugins. I’m a huge fan of dynamic EQs and the F6, with its real-time analyser, is a perfect fit for many of my applications, not to mention that it’s zero latency. I apply it on my snare bus, for instance, to expand 4-5 kHz range at every hit, adding a crisp top-end bite to the snare tone without introducing excessive hi-hat bleed.
“I also use it on bass guitar to selectively subtract and expand certain frequencies. This approach makes it easier to keep the bass low end in check, by taming the areas with more energy in large resonant rooms, while expanding the high mids for a clearer tone. Another great use is to control the mic proximity effect on vocals, where I usually set one of the floating bands around 100-200 Hz on the F6, allowing it to dynamically adapt to the vocal performance without compromising the tonality.”
He continues: “Another favourite is Trans-X, which works wonders for percussive instruments. It’s my go-to for achieving a punchy kick and snare drum in my mix. The SSL-E Channel and SSL G-Master Bus Compressor hold a special place for me: they bring me back to my studio times when I used to work on an SSL console.
“These plugins really capture the feel and characteristics of the console. I have the SSL-E Channel strip across guitars, drums and vocals channels/busses, along with the SSL G-Master on the master fader to tie everything together (settings 2:1 ratio, 30 attack, 0.1 release, and about 2 or 3 dB of gain reduction).
“In my opinion,” he adds, “the Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain is one of the most musical EQs in a plugin. I have several presets on this one, and I’m currently using one of them on my master bus for mixing Megadeth. This preset is basically an increment of 1 dB EQ Shelf from 512 Hz and above and another 1 dB boost at 10kHz.
Megadeth’s producer Chris Rakestraw, who also doubles as their touring monitor engineer, remarks: “The greatest benefit of using Waves with my Avid console is not having to set up an extra computer and another screen to run SoundGrid, since the S6L allows you to control all of that.” His setup includes an Avid S6L with a couple Waves Titan-R SoundGrid Servers, Waves SoundGrid Rack for Venue and Waves’ Mercury, Studio Classics Collection and Abbey Road Collection bundles.
Rakestraw and Soares sum it up: “No matter where we’re playing in the world, and no matter what console we’re on, we can rest easy knowing that Waves has us covered with the reliable tools we need to mix the show.”

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