By Luther Bell

After 23 years of recording and mixing everyone from Run DMC to Peter Gabriel, Robert “Void” Caprio may have had the easiest show of his career when he came through Minneapolis with Cee Lo Green. They were a special guest of Rihanna on her “Loud” tour and scheduled to do 21 dates with her. Cee Lo didn’t have his full band with him so Robert only had 4 channels to deal with (DJ L&R, Main Vocal & backup).  

The biggest challenge was to keep up with Cee Lo’s personality…and his on-stage volume.  When asked about the difference that he sees between Cee Lo as a rap/pop act and a typical rock band that he has mixed Rob had this to say; “I do see a difference between acts. Hip hop and rap acts often want tremendous volume and sub bass on stage, whereas rock acts typically want it loud but more balanced. Rock and pop bands will typically have a bit more ‘verb than a hip hop or rap act.”

Cee Lo sang into a Shure R series mic with a SM58 head and opted for using 3 d&b M2 monitors, but Rob was going to try and get him back on in-ears once they started touring with the band again.  Always on the lookout for gear that can do the job better, he found it in the Heil RC35 mic head.  He switched to that after the Minneapolis show because he found it had better gain before feedback than the stock Shure head he was using.  The sidefills were B2 Subs and 2 J8s on top of them.  Using Rihanna’s d&B J-series line array was fun for Robert because “it sounds great and allows me to concentrate on my mix as a whole rather than worry about system tuning to any large degree”.  It was a standard L-R setup with 4 hangs of 18 J12 boxes and 2 hangs of J-Subs.  

With his Avid Profile, Rob was able to keep a small footprint at FOH with Lake processing and no outboard gear.  Even though he has used other digital desks he keeps coming back to the Profile because it’s designed to work the way he thinks and he loves the plug-in implementation. He used the Channel G plug-in from McDSP for EQ and compression and also enjoys Avid’s Smack! and the Fairchild 660 from Waves.

Even though there are some perks to not being a headliner, there are some tradeoffs like not having a say on getting a sound check.  “You get a little spoiled after a few dates of having everything set up be the time you make it to the venue and leaving before the strike.  That’s one reason that large tours are nice, but smaller tours and one offs help keep you sharp when you don’t know what to expect with the gear in the next city.”  But, no matter if you have 4 inputs or 40, large tour or small, Robert’s biggest lesson that he has learned over his decades in the industry sums it up well; “Just trust your ears and have a strong work ethic.”