Touring for the first time since 2003, rock legends AC/DC are once again on the road with the only speaker system able to reproduce their full-bore sonic assault to their satisfaction: X-Array from Electro-Voice. The tour celebrates the bandâ€™s most recent album â€œBlack Ice,â€? their 19th studio album in 36 years. The X-Array system for the tour was designed by long-time Electro-Voice user and consultant Harry Witz of Clair Global, the man behind some of the largest PA system designs of all time.
Analog-centric AC/DC also favors the warm, responsive sound of Midas mixing consoles. The Black Ice Tourâ€™s console spec includes a vintage Pro 40 and a Heritage 4000 operated by Front of House Engineer Paul â€œPabâ€? Boothroyd (who is also Sir Paul McCartneyâ€™s FOH man) and Monitor Engineer Mike Adams, respectively. A Klark Teknik DN9696â€”the worldâ€™s most powerful digital recorderâ€”adds a high-tech edge to Front of House.
These ingredients add up to one seriously powerful rock â€˜nâ€™ roll machine, as the 500,000-plus people who have already checked out the tourâ€™s North America leg will testify. Over one million people will have seen the show by the time the tour ends in Glasgow in June.
To provide sound to do justice to AC/DCâ€™s hard-rocking reputation, Witz and Boothroyd needed boxes capable of filling arenas with high SPL, highly intelligible sound night after night, as well as work ing seamlessly with the warm, full sound of the equipment at Front of House.
AC/DC required speakers that could blow their audience away both sonically and visually, steering away from line array designs lacking physical size. Having had great results on these same terms with X-Array on their last tour, they chose to stick with the winning formula. However, new system tweaks by Witz and his team had the X-Array system sounding as good as any state-of-the-art line array out there, but with all the muscle of far more moving air.
As AC/DCâ€™s last leg of its North American tour enters its final weeks, Witz and his team report that the response to PA has been excellent, and it has become apparent that the band and its crew made the right decision by once again choosing Electro-Voice X-Array for its touring rig. X-Array has set the standard for performance and ease-of-use in touring applications for many years, and has long been considered the ultimate in touring system technology. Itâ€™s hard to argue with legends like AC/DC. Or half a million of their fans.
Photos by Roy Timm, Harry Witz, and Nort Johnson
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