Freddy V's Stage Setup
"I get a lot comments about the setup that I use to replicate the sax section sound from the old AWB recordings. I went through quite a bit of work experimenting with different equipment configurations. For a long time I was bringing out a 5 space rack with my Shure wireless units, my effects and harmonizer, a 4 input DI, and a power conditioner. I had it pretty streamlined, thanks to my friend, Lindsay Vannoy, who was my tech on the Rock N Soul tour. That was great as long as we didn't fly anywhere. The problem was that every time we did fly, we would get blasted for excess weight (my rack weighed 75 lbs) and the TSA would dismantle all the connections, so we'd get to the next show and have to set it all up again (which kind of defeats the purpose of having a rack). Lindsay managed to make some changes and by making a couple of components removable so we could distibute the weight among the other equipment, we cut the weight down to under 65 lbs . . . and then the airines lowered the weight limit to 50 lbs ! So. back to the drawing board. . .
We've really managed to slim it down to one Sennheiser G2 wireless unit, which has 2 outputs in the rear; one which sends a dry signal direct to front-of-house and the other goes into my harmonizer/EFX unit. We found a great floor unit by TC•HELICON called the VOICELIVE. It's a 4 voice harmonizer ( I seldom use more than 2 voices at a time) and EFX unit . The interface is designed for a solo artist working live, so it's pretty easy to use onstage. It has enabled us to lose four pieces: my MidiMate foot controller (which worked great, but always added to the weight issue), my bypass pedal (the VoiceLive has 2 user assignable buttons), my old Harmonizer and my old EFX unit. The VoiceLive is sturdy, and very well designed. TC has a great reputation for building quality gear and I'm very happy with it. And no more overweight charges! (The VOICELIVE has been discontinued and has been replaced by the Voicelive 2, which I'm experimenting with, but have yet to take out on the road)
My mics are modified versions of AMT(Applied Microphone Technologies) model L-11. They're great, lightweight mics and our sound guy loves them. I'm one of their beta testers, and the mics I use were retrofitted with a very effective mounting system, which really eliminates key noise. When I do local gigs around Atlanta, I use their Wi5II. It has the transmitter mounted onto the mic, which clips on the bell, so no more dealing with a belt pack. Every sound guy I encounter says "Wow, what is that mic? it sounds awesome!" I've turned on several sax players in ATL onto the AMT mics, and they all love them.
I believe that the we're able to achieve a pretty realistic two horn sound by feeding our front-of-house sound man two signals: a dry sax signal and a signal from the VoiceLive, this allows him to mix the harmonizer like a second horn (or horns) and control the amount of dry/wet signal, depending on the tune.
All the harmonizer parts are worked out and programmed in advance, based on the parts that Roger Ball and Molly Duncan played on the original recordings (or parts that I played on the recent stuff). One of the keys to getting a believable section sound is to always voice the real sax as the top note in the harmony. If you put the harmonizer voice on top, it sounds a bit kazoo-like.
Figure out what your part will be when you play the tune live, then work out what you want the "section" to play beneath you. Then assign those harmonies to the harmonizer. You can't expect to just go on the gig and play with the harmonizer off-the-cuff with no advance prep. I spent hours pre-programming all the horn parts for the AWB show. Like I said; every tune is a different program (some tunes have 2 or 3 programs because there are key changes).
My alto is a Selmer MkVI and I've been playing a Yamaha Custom Z on tenor. Both my alto and tenor mouthpieces were made by Jody Espina in Savannah, GA. Jody is a great saxophonist who is earning a great rep among some very well respected players. He is making some incredible pieces and he personally tests each one. I use his JodyJazz DV 8 on tenor and alto and I love the way they play. I can't wait to get one for my soprano, (maybe then I'll start playing it again). For reeds, I use Rico Jazz Select Filed. I use one of Phil Barone's Satin Gold Plated necks on alto."
- Fred Vigdor
Alto: Selmer Mark VI,
Tenor: Yamaha Custom Z
Alto: JodyJazz DV8 .
Tenor: JodyJazz DV8