With a career spanning more than three decades, Carlos Vives, is a Latin American entertainment icon. The five time Grammy award winner recently took to the stage in Sincelejo, Colombia for ‘Fiestas del 20 de Enero’. The outdoor event was held on Friday January 18th, 2013 at Estadio Mochila, and put on by the City Of Sincelejo. 12,000 wildly excited fans filled the grounds to catch a thrilling “Vallenato” style performance by Vives and other Latin American hit makers: KVRASS, Maluma and Alfredo Gutierrez. C. Vilar Amplificacion Professional provided the complete sound, staging and lighting for the event.
Mauricio Vilar, FOH Engineer for Carlos Vives for the past 4 years, wanted to use the highly acclaimed Adamson E15’s for the performance: “Initially we had a production company proposing another brand of P.A. I had requested the E15’s on the rider and insisted that they were used for the event.” In the sound design process Vilar used the latest version of Adamson Shooter software (2.8.5) to nail down the setup, and glowingly stated the sound was: “Extremely similar to the computer prediction.” Other tools of the trade Mauricio finds essential, are first and foremost his ears, Smaart 7.4, a wireless measurement system and a live recording with Protools HD: “To tune the system, this to me is the most accurate way to do it.”
24 Adamson E15’s were flown above the stage in addition to 8 SpekTrix boxes as front fills. They used 16 stacked T21 subs to fill out the low end, with 8 boxes placed left and right of the stage. Adamson M15’s were used as stage monitors. The boxes were powered and controlled by Lab Gruppen amplifiers and Dolby Lake Processing.
When selecting a system for a large event like this, Cesar Vilar, owner of C.Vilar who also took on double duties as systems tech for the event, says that he primarily looks for the system’s performance: “Even coverage, great polar response, and it has to be easy to set up so it doesn’t take hours and hours.” With time being a key factor, both Vilars were pleased when the entire system was up in the air in less than 30 minutes.
Lately Mauricio Vilar has used a couple of other sound systems from very well-known brands: “The E15’s were chosen this time because it is easiest for me to get the best and most accurate mix. Most sound systems I listen to, sound decent for the first 30 meters, after that sound simply gets fussy, not to mention if you walk horizontally.” Mauricio explains the dynamic range that is needed when mixing an artist like Carlos Vives: “The show is loud and the music is very dynamic. It requires a powerful and coherent sound system in order to generate the feelings that the artist wants the audience feel. If the band is playing a slow ballad we set it back, if it’s a Latin hit, I will demand more energy from the system. I always try to know in advance what kind of audience we’re catering to.” Vilar was extremely happy with the final result: “The E15’s gave us enough headroom to get a great mix and I was glad to have such a powerful system.”
In his outboard/effects rack Mauricio uses some tube processors for the main vocal, and a high end multi-channel fx. For this Carlos Vives performance he used a Digidesign Venue Profile, but he’s got a short list of consoles he likes: “I think there are actually 3 very good consoles for FOH mix; Digico, Venue and Midas. Yamaha's very good for monitors.”
He also did a live recording of the show: “I am half a live sound engineer, and half studio engineer. I spend a lot of time in the studio listening, in detail, to every instrument and every song. This is how I realize what microphone techniques to use, how to improve the show.”
Mauricio Vilar currently also mixes the top music TV shows in Colombia.