Metro is an international a cappella powerhouse. Originally hailing from the United States, Metro relocated to Hong Kong in 1998 and has performed internationally since. While strictly a vocal ensemble, Metro acknowledges no genre boundaries and boldly extends its diverse vocal talents to pop, doo-wop, classic rock, R&B, Broadway, jazz, and barbershop.
As a vocal group, Metro’s sound relies on precise harmonies. Precise harmonies require precise monitor mixing. That’s why Metro chose the PreSonus® StudioLive™ 16.0.2 for mixing in-ear monitors (IEMs), as well as front-of-house—a big set of responsibilities for a small mixer!
“We were looking for a mixer of very high quality that was easy to use and roadworthy, but wasn’t gonna break our wallets,” recalls Michael Lance, the group’s bass singer and vocal percussionist. “We asked many of our friends in the entertainment and audio business, and the StudioLive 16.0.2 came highly recommended. We did some research online and felt this product was perfect for us.”
Lance elaborates on what makes the StudioLive 16.0.2 the right hardware for the job. “The 16.0.2 has amazing sound quality, and it very easily runs our four vocal mics and four IEMs without a hitch. Its greatest asset is ease of use. We usually travel with Hong, our sound man, who takes care of everything. But every once in a while, it's just us on our own without Hong. I sat down with Hong for about an hour, and he was very easily able to explain to me the ins and outs of the board with no problem.”
Tang King Hong, the band’s live-sound engineer, chimes in with some technical details. “We run aux channels 1 through 4 via four separate mixes,” he states. “For the in-ear monitors, we use the Warm Hall reverb preset, just enough to get a live feel directly into the band’s ears. Compression is only used on Michael’s vocal percussion channel, to keep his beat-boxed snare and bass drums under control.
“I have recently been using the StudioLive Remote for iPad® and QMix™ for iPhone® to mix in real-time during performance,” he continues. “This has definitely helped us to be more comfortable on stage! Very soon we are going to try out Capture™ 2 to do some live recordings of our shows.”
Metro’s reliance on the StudioLive 16.0.2 is so strong that the mixer has nearly become the fifth member of the band. “We are getting ready to head to Taiwan in a couple of weeks,” Lance says. “The StudioLive is coming with us! We have never, never, never, ever had a single problem with our 16.0.2. It has been true to us since the moment we pulled it out of the box. It really takes the stress out of getting good sound in the house—and in our ears—and lets us concentrate on being artistic and professional.”
Lance would sing the praises of the StudioLive all day, given the opportunity—but there are shows to perform! “I can sit here and rave and rave about the amazing quality we get out of the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 because it’s true,” Lance closes. “But it still comes back to the StudioLive's user-friendly interface. I don't have to worry about the mixer doing its job. All I have to do is make sure I’m doing my job!”