For the The Red Hot Chili Peppers, embarking on a massive world tour meant harnessing the power of a cutting edge monitoring system to ensure confident performances in venues around the world. The audio experts at Rat Sound Systems Inc. chose to use their new Rat Sound SuperWedge monitors to deliver detailed, highly customizable audio to the band.
To take full advantage of the SuperWedge’s features, Dave Rat of Rat Sound turned to Powersoft's X4 power amplifiers. When Red Hot Chili Peppers monitor engineer Mark Vanderwall subsequently requested X4 amplifiers to drive the the rest of the monitor system, the tour officially had an all-X4 monitor power section, delivering incredible output and performance in two compact racks.
Rat Sound’s SuperWedge features four independent speakers, accommodating all four inputs from the X4 amplifier. Rat Sound engineers were able to use the Powersoft X4's flexible routing capabilities, configurable within its powerful Armonía software, to enable multiple output configurations for the SuperWedges to tailor their output to The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ on-stage needs. For bassist Flea and drummer Chad Smith, the X4 drives SuperWedges containing a pair of 12-inch speakers, a 10-inch speaker, and a 2-inch speaker.
“Utilizing input 1 on the X4 sends signal to all four speakers, while using Armonía to separate frequencies between 40Hz and 80Hz into one 12-inch, 40 Hz and 250 Hz into the other, and 250 Hz to 20 kHz in to the 10-inch and 2-inch speakers,” explains Dave Rat. “This results in a 4-way wedge that reduces comb filtering interference in the 80 to 250 region that occurs when both 12s reproduce this frequencies.”
Input 2 on the X4 allows the SuperWedge to function as a conventional tri-amp wedge, using one 12-inch speaker plus the 10-inch and 2-inch speakers. Input 3 outputs to only the 40- to 80Hz 12-inch, enabling direct control of sub frequencies exclusively. Each X4 was able to drive a pair of SuperWedges with plenty of headroom thanks to its 3,000 watts of power per channel at 4 ohms.
Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s SuperWedges each have one of their 12-inch speakers replaced with a 12-inch Celestion guitar speaker. With the X4’s routing, these deliver a standard triamp wedge configuration on input 1, and use input 2 to deliver full-range output to the guitar speaker only. Using an emulated output on the guitar rig, this allows Klinghoffer to hear a guitar sound from the SuperWedge that is extremely close in tone to the sound of his guitar rig. As Klinghoffer’s monitor wedges, operating in stereo, they are driven by one X4 each.
Red Hot Chili Peppers monitor engineer Vanderwall says that he was so impressed with the performance of the Powersoft X4 with the Rat Sound SuperWedges during early tests that he requested X4 amplifiers to drive the rest of the monitoring system, which includes EAW MicroWedge 12s, dual drum thumpers, a drum sub, two Rat Sound L-wedges, and side fills. This ensured Powersoft’s pristine clarity and reliable performance across the board. Due to their remarkably small 1RU footprint, the 10 X4s that comprised the final system were easily fit in two custom paneled racks designed by Jon Monson, head of touring at Rat Sound, which fit directly under Vanderwall’s console.
“It's hard to imagine that each of these racks can hold up to 120,000 watts at 2 ohms power with twenty-four inputs and twenty-four outputs," Rat says. “Not to mention providing five high-quality limiters per output.”
To accommodate a demanding large-scale international tour such as this, reliability and efficiency were key factors. “We feel very confident in the integrity of this setup thanks to using Powersoft across the board,” Rat says. “The systems have been running exactly as planned and we even included a backup X4 in each rack pre-loaded with all of the necessary configurations to replace any other X4 in the rack for added redundancy.”
Rat Sound assembled two identical stand-alone monitoring systems for the tour, allowing the the two systems to “leapfrog,” for some shows that are just too far apart to truck the gear fast enough. Rat Sound was pleased to acquire the full complement of 20 X4s necessary to facilitate both systems knowing that they will remain a valuable asset for countless future tours.
“Powersoft’s X series amplifiers and our Rat Sound SuperWedges compliment each other perfectly,” Rat says. “Having so much power and versatility in such a compact package is truly amazing. The multiple configurations, clarity and volume levels we are able to achieve with the X4 powering the SuperWedges is breathtaking. Literally the combo at high levels will give you an adrenaline rush they are so loud and clear."