ASHEVILLE, NC (10.10.22)—Returning to the road after five years including a delay due to Covid, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are out with dates across the globe and currently touring in North America. The Global Stadium Tour (also known as the Unlimited Love Tour) will continue through 2023 and is in support of the band’s twelfth and thirteenth studio albums, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, which were and will be released on April 1, 2022, and on October 14, 2022, respectively.
Clair Global engineer, Toby Francis, became the point person for what the audio dynamic for the tour would become. “After the band changed guitar players, which changed the dynamic within the band, and a prolonged process with management changing as well, it became a four-year process to satisfy band requirements. The four band members have very dynamic personalities on stage and are adamant about what their show involves and wanting the best sound possible, so discussions took place prior to rehearsals. What they hear and feel from the d&b GSL and KSL loudspeaker PA on stage, and how clean it is drove everyone’s attention. They are thrilled at how it sounds: the coverage, and everything else about it. Making the band truly happy is the goal. They used a separate manufacturer’s PA for one show, and it was a struggle. The band is a Clair Global corporate account, and they require global support from one company using the same systems, so Eighth Day Sound is supporting the tour globally.”
The PA configuration for this tour is 20 x GSL8s per side for Mains and 16+4 (GSL8/12) for side fills, 30 SL-SUBs 10 per side flown and 10 on the ground as a horizontal subwoofer array, 10 x Y10P point sources for front fills. Delays are in 4 positions with 12 x KSL8s each position. The system is all powered with 82 x D80 amplifiers. All system alignment and optimization is done within the D80 amps using d&b R1 Remote software, and all system design and prediction is accomplished using d&b ArrayCalc software.
SL-Series is comprised of three siblings which all share the same broadband directivity control, extended low frequency response, and advanced rigging options. GSL, the largest system, sets a standard for power, accuracy, and control for the largest and most impactful of applications. KSL and XSL share the same neutral voicing to form a family which is intended to be used together or on their own.
“I have used ArrayProcesing in stadiums and other PA configurations with delay systems since it was introduced in summer of 2015,” states Ville Kauhanen, system engineer. “ArrayProcessing has been the biggest change I personally have experienced in large speaker system design and optimization after I was introduced to acoustic measurements. For me personally, the uniformity of the coverage area and day-to-day consistency are key elements for my work and this software really helps me achieve these parameters. On this tour the venues have been very different, and the only common denominator has been the large audience capacity. ArrayProcessing and especially with the SL-Series takes the control of the coverage and uniformity of tonality within the wanted coverage to a whole new level. It is also a very important tool for me when I need to combine systems like main PA to delays to properly control the overlap areas in x-axis.”
ArrayProcessing is a unique d&b technology which optimizes the performance of a d&b line array to deliver consistent tonality and level balance throughout the entire vertical coverage area of the line array, creating a consistent listening experience whether you are seated close to the stage or far away.
The massive Toronto Roger Centre most recently proved how the GSL and KSL systems came through with positive results. “Not having mixed on the two systems but having used the J-Series at festival shows, I was shocked at how clear the GSL and KSL sounded,” says Francis. “All of our shows are stadiums: baseball football, and soccer with occasional open field performances. We use delays on all shows, so the ArrayProcessing really made the difference and less difficult to cover every seat in the house. I’m now a true believer in this PA system. Ville Kauhanen is incredibly good at what he does…. the sound is consistent everywhere from ArrayProcessing, even where sound places are difficult. Big stadiums that have house PA is hard to time the systems together, so we rarely use house PA. The back corners of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, for example, was particularly clear thanks to ArrayProcessing.”
One of the band members was adamant about analog, so Francis is mixing on a Yamaha PM5000 analog console. “Features on today’s digital consoles give you features that were never available on analog consoles: endless amount as busses…automated everything.” So, using an analog board, he has added nine parametric EQs and a summing mixer to sum the band together. “Approaching it that way with a ridiculous amount of outboard gear…. the show is right in your face. Transients are so much faster on an analog console. And, mixing analog again with a truly modern PA, you can hear everything subtly, it’s crazy how good it sounds. The band has a vast list of songs they draw from, four songs every night and 14-15 songs that are different night to night. “I’m hearing detail I never thought I would hear in a 60,000-seat stadium. I’m absolutely blown away by the sound and coverage of the d&b loudspeaker systems.”
Francis added that the band and their friends are raving about how the system sounds, which, he says, ‘makes him a popular guy’. “Even engineers and half of bands friends that are record producers have been overly complimentary. Mike Dean, producer for Ye and Travis Scott was blown away when he attended the Atlanta show.”
For more information on CLAIR Global, visit www.clairglobal.com.
For more information 8th Day Sound, visit www.8thdaysound.com.
For more information on d&b audiotechnik, visit www.dbaudio.com.
PHOTO ID: L to R Ville Kauhanen, Toby Francis