Live Sound

On the Road: John Ward

John Ward One of the year's most successful tours, country superstar couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have wowed audiences with Soul 2 Soul II 2006, which 8/01/2006 8:00 AM Eastern

One of the year's most successful tours, country superstar couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have wowed audiences with Soul 2 Soul II 2006, which reprises their acclaimed 2000 tour. Handling FOH for this all-Clair Bros. show is Dave Kob mixing Hill and John Ward, who's worked with McGraw for the past 12 years. It's a long tour that kicked off in April and ends next month in Las Vegas. We caught up with Ward during load-in at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

What's different about this tour?
Dave [Kob] is mixing Faith on a Yamaha PM5000. I was an analog ATI Paragon guy for a long time, but I'm using two DiGiCo D5s, which are stacked and set up in a hallway. That way, I can mix using a tablet from anywhere in the venue. I can walk the room and check the sound from the cheap seats and don't have to rely on anyone else's opinion about the sound during the show. All the outboard is MIDI'd and I have full control right there. The only downside is that sometimes people see me in the house with the tablet and think I'm taking drink orders.

What's in your FOH rack?
The D5s have a lot of onboard stuff, so I don't need so much outboard. I do have have a TC [Electronic] M5000 that connects to the D5 via AES/EBU and a dbx 120XP for sub bass. Tim's vocals go into an Avalon VT-737 vocal channel. This is fed from a Sennheiser SKM565 wireless — the one with the e865 capsule.

What are some of your favorite venues?
Lately, I'm mostly doing large venues, but I like the new Charlotte [N.C.] Arena, The Palace of Auburn Hills [Detroit] and the Philips Arena in Atlanta.

What do you like doing when you're off the road?
I'm usually out riding dirt and street cycles with my son.