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Live Sound

Robert Plant Rolls with SSL on the Road

FOH engineer Mark Kennedy has been mixing the legendary rocker.

New York, NY (August 6, 2018)—Legendary rocker Robert Plant has a slew of festival appearances lined up for late summer, but he’s already been on the road quite a bit this year. In tow for all those shows has been his band, the Sensational Space Shifters, and FOH engineer Mark Kennedy, mixing it all on an SSL Live L500 console.

“It’s a very real show,” says Kennedy. “There’s no playback, and quite a few acoustic instruments: Banjos, mandolins, acoustic guitars… And almost everybody sings.” It is by no means a silent stage, with 15 monitor wedges plus sidefills in use, and in-ear-monitoring has been put aside, but the result is an ‘organic’ approach that works well, he says.

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Supplied by Solotech and Britannia Row Productions, the console is used in the most basic of fashions, he says: “I turn everything off and start with a blank slate – the simplest set-up I can create. Then, as I need to, I turn features on… Apart from the normal channel processing, I use the SSL’s Bus compressor, reverbs, delays, the VHD Saturator, and the 31-band graphic EQ from the FX rack.”

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It’s not the first time Kennedy has gone out on the road with an SSL, having mixed Faithless 20th Anniversary tour. Nonetheless, he says the desk has changed considerably since then.

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“There have been a lot of small updates that have made it easier to use,” he says. “The input and output routing, for example, has improved a lot. It has got better and better since I first used it… But the main thing has, of course, always been the sound. The clarity and the dynamic range is amazing.”

Solid State Logic •