They might be one of the world’s biggest hard rock bands, but when it comes to creating their live sound, it turns out that Metallica rely just as much on software as they do guitars and amps.
OK, we might be exaggerating slightly, but in a recent chat with Waves, legendary live sound engineer Greg Price, who’s currently mixing front-of-house on Metallica’s M72 world tour, says that it’s the company’s “go-to” plugins that “enable me to bridge 40 years of Metallica into a single show”.
The plugins are integrated via a SoundGrid Rack host into a setup that’s built around an Avid Venue | S6L 32D-192 mixer. “Metallica is only four guys, but we are using all 192 inputs in this show,” reveals Price. “To get everybody to see it, we have four drum kits [across the stage], each about 30 inputs, and we have multiple redundancy in the rest of the system. It’s like three stadium’s systems into one!”
Price recently stepped in to replace the now-retired ‘Big’ Mick Hughes, who served as Metallica’s front-of-house engineer for more than 30 years. This is far from his first hard rock rodeo, though - Price has previously toured with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Rage Against the Machine and Foo Fighters.
“Mixing Metallica is a rare treat in my career,” enthuses Price. “These guys are as dedicated as I’ve ever seen, and when they hand me the keys to the car - boy, that’s really special. I have to step up to meet that expectation.”