ASHEVILLE, NC 3.10.22—Some might say the beauty of George Strait is you know what you’re going to get – straight ahead country music. But the real beauty of George Strait is his innate ability to collide comfortable and worn with fresh and exciting every time he straps on his guitar and steps up to the microphone. Strait is the only act in history to have a Top 10 hit every year for over three decades and has sold more than 70 million albums and earned more than 60 major entertainment industry awards.
The second leg of the “Strait to Vegas” tour continued into February with dates beginning at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will continue with dates in Arkansas, Houston, Nebraska, and Austin. All along the way, Spectrum Sound (Nashville) has been providing and continues to provide d&b SL-Series loudspeakers for stadiums and in-the-round arena performances. The tour will also feature songs from his new “Honky Tonk Time Machine” record.
“The plan is to use GSL for all the stadium shows and KSL for complete 360-degree coverage for the arena shows,” states Bobby George, Live Sound Sales Manager, Spectrum Sound. “The KSL system has plenty of horsepower when needed, and the arena shows simply don’t need the huge max SPL of GSL that the stadium inherently demands. The KSL boxes allow for better sight lines and smaller weight distribution in the arenas, especially when doing 360-degree shows covering the listening plane from top to bottom.” GSL is the flagship model of the SL-Series while KSL is the no-compromise smaller sibling of GSL. All family members of the SL-Series deliver the same broadband directivity control, extended LF response and advanced rigging options.
Spectrum Sound uses d&b ArrayProcessing for all their PA designs. “I can’t remember that last show we did without ArrayProcessing enabled,” states George. “It is always our goal to make sure that every seat in the house is not only covered but that fans can hear the show just like they were sitting at front of house. The arena coverage achieved by the KSL rig is astounding and we couldn’t wait for people to hear it.”
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.
FOH Engineer George Olson’s first large deployment with d&b was at ATLive 2021 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with George Strait using all GSL and KSL loudspeakers. “I was having conversations with Mike Anderson, Reba’s production manager and Strait’s personal guitar tech for over 17 years) about the challenges of so much stage volume and what is out there to help.” He first heard the PA at a Jason Aldean show, previewing it for what would have been the Reba 2020 Spring tour, which turned out to be this year. Anderson told Olson that the KSL box is “ridiculously quiet.” The ATLive show provided Olson the opportunity to see that the SL-Series could be a solution.
Olson said the background singers are in the center of the 40×40 stage and they are the gauge of how much volume is on the stage. “They noticed immediately that something was different and were never told that there was another speaker in the air. If they’re not complaining, we’re in pretty good shape. The problems we have in the round are more apparent than if you are doing a show end-stage. 144 boxes in a 50-foot radius can create a lot of coupling on stage, so the KSL system has been a long time coming when looking for how to quiet a stage down.” Strait and team have performed at T-Mobile Arena 33 times since the arena opened in April of 2016. There are 12 musicians and background vocalists on stage including George Strait.
“After the first show with the KSL system in the round, the band director Ronnie Huckabee asked me what was going on with the stage, that he could hear things and actually asked to have some of the dialed-in mix turned down because it was too much,” states Anderson. “It was only then he was told that there was a new PA. Once the band director understood it was something they had never used before he said to me “we need to keep this!”
Anderson said that during soundcheck everyone had been asking for monitors to be turned down. “The first thing I noticed about the KSL was not just that it was quiet on stage, but I was able to communicate with the band easier. I didn’t need to use so many hand signals as we weren’t yelling over the PA. Traditionally there would be so much bass rumble on the stage that they felt that it would be hard to stand still. You’d have to brace yourself; but all that is gone with the KSL and SL-SUBs. The band is a mix of wedges and ears. And George’s acoustic sounds better as it’s not feeding back from what’s coming off the back of the PA.”
“The first time I heard the d&b SL-Series was at ATLive,” states Paul Rogers, Strait’s production manager and former front of house engineer. “I was up on-stage during sound check and was wondering when they were going to turn on the PA. It hit me that we weren’t dealing with any of the issues of a loud stage and were curious as to what they were using to achieve this. Turns out it was the d&b KSL system. Load in and load out has been so much quicker with Spectrum and the d&b loudspeaker system. It’s amazing that the system draw is lessened, the smaller footprint of the KSL, and the crew call is faster for the area we cover. In the past we had to try all sorts of tricks to try to lower the stage sound, but nothing like we have now.”
Specific to the Vegas in-the-round shows, the d&b system included 144 x KSL loudspeakers,
16 x SL-SUBS, 12 x Y10P point source cabinets, 89 x D80 amplifiers, including monitor amps. A DiGiCo SD12 with SD192 stage rack, Allen & Heath S5000 with new prime pre-input/output cards, Shure Axient wireless, and Shure PSM1000s in-ear monitor systems, all provided by GP Productions.
For more information on Spectrum Sound, visit www.spectrumsound.net.
For more information on d&b audiotechnik SL-Series, visit www.dbaudio.com.
For more information on the George Strait 2022 tour, visit www.georgestrait.com.
-END- (Photo credits and crew photo ID on following page)
PHOTO CREDIT: Arena – Dave Thomas
Crew Photo: Jill Trunnell – George Stait Touring
CREW PHOTO ID: L To R:
George Olson – FOH George Strait
Paul Rogers – George Strait Production Manager
Ken Porter – Spectrum Sound
Erika West – PA Tech
Bobby George – Spectrum Sound
Rudd Lance – Systems Engineer
Nick Page – PA Tech
Bob Campbell – PA Tech
Dave Thomas – d&b audiotechnik