Bryan Campbell was in the right place at the right time. After spending his teens playing in rock bands, Campbell found himself relocating to Los Angeles, sharing living quarters with alt-rockers Depswa. Depswa quickly got signed to Geffen records. A handsome signing bonus followed, which the band used to purchase some recording gear—and Campbell jumped right on it.
“When they got signed, they bought a whole computer-recording rig with Nuendo 1 as the DAW and a Steinberg I/O and a RAID system,” Campbell recalls. “I immediately got on the computer and started learning how to use the equipment. When they went on tour, I was left with a whole home recording studio just begging to be used! I'd set up my drums and guitar rig and start recording songs and ideas. I've never stopped recording, mixing, and collecting gear.“
As a performer, engineer, and tour manager, Campbell has a lot going on. When not serving as the live engineer for The Fat Cat in Modesto, California, Campbell is the front-of-house and monitor engineer for mainstream rock acts like Taproot, In This Moment, and We Came as Romans. Campbell has looked to PreSonus to solve the challenges faced by a professional-audio multitasker.
While he uses the Monitor Station and three FP10s in his home studio, Campbell relies on the StudioLive 24.4.2 on the road. “Any engineer that has spent any time in and out of rock clubs in the United States knows that they are often lucky to have a fully operational console, let alone access to proper dynamics and effects,” Bryan sighs.“I was sick of mixing in these conditions, which is why I invested in to my StudioLive24.4.2. The fully parametric EQ and extra aux buses were features that I wanted, as well.”
Campbell also takes advantage of some of the StudioLive 24.4.2’s lesser-known features. “When I first started working for We Came as Romans, they were simply traveling with a rack that housed their in-ear monitor gear,” he says. “I had a StudioLive 24.4.2 shipped out to us so that I could start building a scene for their in-ears. Now that the band has started using the StudioLive 24.4.2, they never want to be without it.”
The StudioLive 24.4.2’s generous supply of aux sends is another feature Campbell appreciates. “There are six members in We Came as Romans, so we have six mono mixes set up on the first six aux channels,” he explains. “The whole band knows how to adjust the levels in their personal mixes, and are very comfortable walking up and making any adjustments they need on their own. Since we are self-contained, and the signal path to their ears is exactly the same every day, the band usually only has to make minor adjustments from show to show. This setup saves the day for me every day.”
“I'm both the front-of-house engineer and the tour manager for We Came as Romans, so my day is very hectic,” he continues. “We do not travel with a monitor engineer, so if I had to worry about six separate In-ear mixes on top of everything else I have to do... well let's just say that I wouldn't be the nicest person to be around.” (Laughs.)
While many live engineers would launch Capture to record a gig with the StudioLive 24.4.2, Campbell fires up his copy of Studio One Pro, employing the StudioLive 24.4.2 FireWire returns to insert a diverse array of his favorite plug-ins while recording the show. “The FireWire returns on the StudioLive 24.4.2 are my favorite feature of the board,” he states. “Being able to multitrack a show is pretty awesome but being able to do that while I'm able to insert plug-ins live is the greatest thing ever! I use the SSL E-Channel on every drum. I also like to use the Maserati plug-in on my inside kick, top snare, and tom mics to beef things up a little, but my hi-hats and overheads are all EQ’d on the console. For bass and guitar, I EQ everything on the StudioLive 24.4.2, and for the dynamics, I use the Waves C4 on my bass DI and mic inputs and the Renaissance AXX compressor on all of my guitar inputs.”
Campbell’s lengthy list of plug-ins doesn’t end there, but Studio One Pro running on a MacBook Pro handles them all with ease. He continues, “On my vocal channels I use an SSL EQ to dial up an EQ setting that sounds good to me on headphones, and then I use the parametric EQ on the StudioLive 24.4.2 to get rid of any harsh frequencies that change with whatever room we’re in that day. I compress lightly, and then I use the Waves Vocal Rider to follow the singers around so I don't have to smash the vocals too hard with compression.”
He also advocates PreSonus for simpler reasons. “I really like how easy PreSonus product are to use,” he says. “I also really love how transparent the StudioLive 24.4.2 preamps are. I feel like when I insert a plug-in into my live scene, I can really hear it working. On other consoles, like the Avid or Yamaha products, I don't hear the difference as much. When I bought my first FP10, I could definitely say that I bought it for the price. Over the years I have had plenty of opportunities to use other products, but I always find myself using the PreSonus gear. I have always had great results with the least amount of headaches.”