Line 6 Powers MO5AIC's Unique Vocally Driven Sound
For a band without musical instruments, the sound system and microphones are the most critical components in bringing a performance to life. The members of vocally driven, Las Vegas-based MO5AIC put themselves in full control of their sound with the Line 6® Dream Stage, a system based around the StageScape® M20d digital mixing system, StageSource® loudspeakers and XD-V75 wireless microphones.
MO5AIC is a five-piece a cappella group that features three tenors, a baritone and a vocal percussionist. Despite having no instruments on stage, they use voice control and digital effects to emulate a full band with exquisite harmonies. “We call ourselves ‘vocally driven’ because we don’t want to be pigeonholed as a traditional a cappella group,” notes bass vocalist Josh Huslig, who founded the group in 2002. “We’re taking this art form to another level, very mainstream and radio-friendly. We’re pretty self-contained, so having a sound system that’s easy to set up and still brings studio DSP effects into our live shows has been very exciting for us.”
The Dream Stage is centered on the StageScape M20d mixer, which uses touchscreen technology to make digital mixing more intuitive. The mixer features powerful onboard DSP to deliver professional audio processing on every channel—powerful parametric EQs, filters, gates, delays, automatic feedback suppression and more. Users can access everything via easy-to-use icons, and refine every last detail with the precise Deep Edit Mode.
Bringing this high-quality digital mix to life are the StageSource self-powered speakers. All StageSource speakers connect to StageScape M20d via bi-directional L6 LINK cables. The system intelligently detects which speakers are present and how they are oriented, then automatically deploys and routes them to the mixer as PA mains, stage monitors and subwoofers. “Being an all-vocal band, MO5AIC does a lot of shows at non-traditional venues like schools,” says band manager Landon Balding of Monumental Entertainment. “The Dream Stage lets them put on a professional presentation wherever they may be. It allows them to be fully self-contained without compromise.”
Of course, the most critical components for MO5AIC are vocal microphones. It’s no surprise that they use XD-V75 handheld wireless from Line 6. “As a bass vocalist, I have to say I’ve been impressed with the Line 6 wireless,” says Josh Huslig. “Sonically, it has all the low-end response I could ask for, and that’s not something I can say about a lot of other wireless systems I’ve used. Plus, physically, I really like the shape and feel of it, which is just very comfortable to hold and is very solidly built. Very professional.”
Tenor vocalist Roo Ahuja agrees. “What we do is very specialized, especially with the beatboxing and bass, which most wireless systems are not designed for,” he notes. “The Line 6 wireless gives us full frequency response, just like a wired mic. Crystal-clear sound, no dropouts, no issues. It also has mic modeling, which gives us the option of choosing a mic model that’s best for each vocalist, which gives us a versatility we’ve never had before. It’s the most impressive wireless system I’ve used, and I’ve been performing and running sound professionally for over 15 years now.”
With the Dream Stage in place, MO5AIC is poised to bring their unique brand of vocally driven music to new audiences, both live and online. “Speed of Sound,” the first single from their upcoming album RE5ET, has been nominated for a 2013 CARA (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award) in the Best Original Song category.
“What we do is all vocal, but it’s also very effect-driven, very modern, and ‘Speed of Sound’ is a great example of that. People are amazed when they find out there are no instruments involved,” says Josh Huslig. “I like to think we’re manipulating sound in ways that no a cappella band has ever done. When you listen to our originals, they don’t sound out of place next to pop music you hear on the radio. That’s where MO5AIC is going with this—we’re breaking the mold. When you think about it, the Dream Stage does the same thing. Line 6 is a perfect fit for us.”