The new dbx DriveRack 4800 System Processor made its debut on January 20, 2006, when multi-Platinum-selling artist Toby Keith kicked off his Big Throwdown II tour in Portland, Ore. Chosen by Keith’s front-of-house mixer, Dirk Durham, in a critical-listening comparison test at Sound Image in San Diego, Calif.—the P.A. provider for the tour—the new DriveRack 4800 is part of an integrated HiQnet™ system.
From left David Shadoan, president of Sound Image; Rob Urry, president of HMG; Russell Fischer, front-of-house system engineer; and Dirk Durham, FOH engineer
“On the very first day I had it out, there were three cabinets in the JBL VerTec line array that were out due to bad cabling,” recalls Durham, who has mixed Keith’s live sound since the 2000 How Do You Like Me Now tour. “Using the graphic display in System Architect to check the ohm load on each box, I could identify the problem boxes without having to pull the P.A. system down. That saved me 45 minutes right there. I’ve literally just scratched the surface of what this system is capable of. The more I use it, the more I learn and the more I respect it.”
Durham is running a complex system, covering a full 270 degrees from the stage back video wall. He has divided the sound into five distinct areas: three main zones (a forward left/right and two side left/right zones), as well as two banks of 10 VerTec subs each side—one flown, the other on the deck, with the latter also feeding front-fill boxes for the first few rows. Each area has its own DriveRack 4800 controlling it.
“I knew it was going to sound great as soon as we tested it the first time,” Durham enthuses, recalling a challenge to identify A/B signals passing directly to the Crown I-Tech amplifiers or through the 4800. “None of us—me, our monitor mixer Earl Neal or Dave Shadoan of Sound Image—could spot the processed signal.”