Nashville, TN (April 2, 2020)—Until the coronavirus pandemic derailed the spring touring season, country star Jason Aldean was packing arenas nightly with help from Nashville’s Spectrum Sound. His “We Be Back” tour may be temporarily shuttered, but there won’t be a need to rename it when it returns with its crew and massive in tow.
FOH engineer Chris Stephens and monitor engineer Evan Richner are using SSL L550s at both FOH and Monitors. “We have been using SSL Live consoles at FOH and Monitors since 2014, said Stephens. “I couldn’t be happier with the functionality and sound quality we get out of the console. The clarity and depth that SSL provides is perfectly represented in KSL. The PA’s incredible accuracy perfectly represents the SSL consoles warmth and clarity.” Also residing at FOH is a Waves SuperRack plug-in set up.
Likely the newest addition to the Aldean audio arsenal is its d&b audiotechnik KSL system, which was chosen for a number of reasons, not least that it allows the production to be flexible in terms of venues, as it gets deployed in everything from arenas to amphitheaters to stadiums, occasionally in the same week.
Aldean’s production crew is not new to d&b loudspeaker arrays, having used J-Series in the past. “We’ve been touring with d&b J-Series from Spectrum Sound since 2010 and have seen the progression of that technology from D12 amplifiers to D80s, to the implementation of DS10 and Dante drive, and eventually ArrayProcessing,” said Stephens.
When the crew first worked with the KSL rig last October at Globe Life Park Stadium in Arlington, TX, it went all-in, fielding a whopping 132 KSL and 46 SL-SUBS to fill the stadium. “The idea of being able to do stadiums with a 10” loudspeaker line array was unthinkable a few years ago, but the amount of low frequency response we got out of this box far exceeded what we had previously,” said Stephens.
“The current leg of Jason’s 2020 tour is all arenas, and the low frequency pattern control of the KSL is even more evident and advantageous indoors. The clarity we are able to achieve in the low-mids has completely changed the way I mix the show…You don’t realize how much the information from 60 Hz-400 Hz coming from the rear of the array is adversely impacting the rest of the mix until it isn’t there.”
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While noting that the smaller KSL box allows the production to meet weight limits in older, less capable sheds, Stephens added that the PA has actually helped the star’s monitor mix: “Perhaps the biggest impact we are feeling with KSL is how quiet the stage is now. The band has consistently commented that they cannot tell when the PA is on or off when listening to their in-ears. This make a huge difference to Jason, who is particularly sensitive to LF bleed from the PA in his ear mix.”
Monitor engineer Evan Richner expanded on that, noting, “Jason has always been sensitive to stage volume, and the absence of show content coming from the back of the PA is amazing. It not only ambiently cleans up the mix on stage, but there is less bleed into the microphones, even further cleaning up the mixes.” Aldean’s entire tour is captured using Audio-Technica mics.
Richner added, “It has made it possible to fine-tune all of the guys’ mixes, allowing them to be able to put forward their very best performance. I don’t have to worry about battling the noise from the PA, just the sound of the room. Most of the bleed that makes it to the stage is simply from reflections in the room and not directly from the boxes. Instead of having to compensate for the PA and the room, I’m able to concentrate more on just making the effects of the room reflections minimal.”
The “We Back” touring rig includes 16 x KSL8/4 KSL12 per side for mains, 16 x KSL8s per side for side fill with 6 x SL-SUBs per side flown, 14 x SL-SUBs arrayed in 7 stacks of 2 for ground, 8 x Y10P loudspeakers for front fill, and 52 x D80 amplifiers.
Spectrum Sound • www.spectrumsound.net
d&b audiotechnik • www.dbaudio.com