Dave Wooster has been manning Gary Mooreâ€™s front of house position for two years, has been working as an audio engineer for, he says, too many years. He is no stranger to the festival scene, working under varying conditions and with whatever equipment is thrown at him. However, experience has shown him that there are certain bits of equipment that are easy to carry and make like a whole lot easier. Enter the XTA DP448.
This summer, Moore appeared at festivals in Scandinavia, Montreux, Germany, Spain and – Woosterâ€™s personal favourite – a bikerâ€™s festival in Portugal. â€œAs a traveling engineer, Iâ€™m still surprised at the lack of knowledge that is out there,â€? he says. â€œSystems are set up and sometimes just donâ€™t work properly. Having the DP448 with me worked a treat.â€?
The DP448 meant that Wooster did not have to reconfigure the front of house desk each day, as integrating into the available system was easily done by turning it into a glorified matrix mixer, providing extra EQ and delay settings.
â€œAt one show, there were two front of house consoles and they refused to make mine the main desk,â€? recalls Wooster. â€œSo as a compromise we put both desks into the XTA and used it as a summing mixer. This meant that both desks connected directly to the PA, instead of one going through the other. It gave us two inputs, saved an argument and made it work for both bands because they each had separate EQ over the front end of the PA, which was distributed via the XTA.â€?
At another gig, Wooster found that the local sound company had supplied a line array that had three XTA DP224s per side as system control, but no computer there to check or correct the system and no one who was able to fix things.
â€œOn an initial listen it was obvious that problems were abundant,â€? he says. â€œAfter managing to explain things in sign language, all the XTAs were connected to my 448 and the reason the system sounded so bad became very clear: each one of the DP224s was configured with random delay times, completely throwing the arrays out of phase.â€?
Wooster got the interpreter to ask how long the system had been like this. The answer: since they had installed it four weeks previously for this summerâ€™s series of shows. â€œWe were the last band to use it and no one had checked or modified it,â€? says Wooster. â€œSo without the 448 on that occasion, goodness only knows what I would have done. The local guys stood with their mouths open at the end of the show because the system sounded so different.â€?
The XTA DP448, alongside his Digidesign D-Show Profile, were the only pieces of kit that Wooster carried with him throughout the summer. His final verdict? â€œIt fixed a multitude of problems at the most basic of levels and saved me a whole heap of trouble. It was invaluable!â€?