Sam Roberts Band – Toronto, ON pt 2

Here’s part 2 of this post. This one is more of an audio nerd’s guide to this show. For part 1, which is a less nerdy account, click here.

To the surprise of many, I had to be at Massey Hall at 9am. This was because we had to oversee how the audio rig was installed. This goes for everything from how the PA system is flown, to the placement of stage risers, monitors, backline, how my console gets set up, you name it.

What Massey Hall looks like at 9:00am. Note the fly point for audio in the upper right.

We were lucky enough to have the new L’Acoustics KARA system for this show. We flew 2 SB18 and 9 KARA per side. These speakers covered the two balconies only. On the ground we had another SB18 and 5 KARA covering the floor seating. There were 3 SB28s per side providing the thump. I think ultimately if we had the option we may have gone with 12 KARA per side, but the system was not near limit during the show. I made sure to look at how the headroom was a few times.

L'Acoustics KARA at trim. The white line hanging there from the array is a tape measure that allows us to measure the height of system. There is also a inclinometer on top of the array that allows us, in conjunction with the tape measure, to ensure the array is pointed exactly where we want it to be.

Once the sound system was in the air, it allowed me to start setting up my monitor console. I was mixing the show on a Avid Venue Profile system. This is my console of choice these days. They also make a lesser expensive SC48 which is quite similar just lacks a few features but nonetheless is a very capable console as well.

We were using L’Acoustics 115XT Hi-Q monitors and Sennheiser ew300 IEM G3 in-ear monitors. The cool thing about using the Sennheiser G3 IEMs is that you can set up what’s called engineer mode on the beltpack which you can program in all of the frequencies for the guys on stage, and with a click of a button the beltpack switches frequencies so you hear what is actually being transmitted to the stage. This is advantageous over setting up your own monitoring frequency and AFL’ing out of the console because you can actually hear what is coming out of the transmitter for each band member. This also allows you to only have one cue bus set up which on the Venue is handy, otherwise you would need a work-around. This is probably the only drawback to the Venue in my mind. The PM5D has it beat on that front (and only that front).

A pair of L'Acoustics 115XT Hi-Q, and Sam's pedal board. Please note the giant coil of cable for when he runs around the stage for Brother Down.

All in all the show went really smoothly. The one adjustment I had to make between day one and two was that I re-angled Jimmy’s wedges before the second show started. He tends to not be very close to his wedges so I stuck a DI box under the back of each one so they were pointing downward a little more than they do naturally. He really likes 12am wedges which I think is because they are notorious for aiming into the knees of a performer and always have to be shimmed up. Because he is always so far away, I think he actually hears them quite well. The 115XT Hi-Qs do aim up quite a bit, so by angling them downward he had a better night.

This is what the show looked like from my position. I was indeed being blinded the entire night by the light on the opposite side of the stage. Next time I'm going to have to bring my sunglasses.

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