Masters of Madness: Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper

Jul 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz


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photo of Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson performs during the Masters of Madness tour. The main P.A. comprises left-right columns of 14 JBL VTX V25 line array loudspeakers each, with two left-right ground stacks of nine VTX S28 subwoofers each. The system is being driven by 22 Crown I-Tech 12000 HD amplifiers per side.

This summer, goth-metal icons Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper joined forces for a tour called Masters of Madness, which hits U.S. sheds and arenas through the end of June. The JBL VTX P.A. provided by Thunder Audio was selected for the tour after Manson’s FOH, George Chapman, had the opportunity to use the speakers at a festival.

“I mixed a show on their system, and it was such a nice-sounding P.A. Nothing was harsh. It was really smooth sounding, even at an outdoor rock ’n’ roll festival,” Chapman recalls. “I talked to people I knew at Thunder Audio, Paul Owen and Tony Villareal, and they had a VTX rig that they had gotten for Metallica. It was a perfect fit. Alice Cooper’s engineer, James Wood, and his production liked it as well.

photo of Masters of Madness audio crew

From left: James Woods, FOH engineer (Alice Cooper); George Chapman, FOH engineer (Marilyn Manson); Bruce Danz, monitor engineer (Marilyn Manson); Jonathan “Pants” Winkler, systems engineer; Adam Schuler, monitor tech; and Steve Sency, audio tech. Not pictured: Paul Bostic, monitor engineer (Alice Cooper).

The VTX system comprises 14 speakers and 9 subs per side, all driven by Crown 12000 amps and dbx drive rack processing. Chapman says one of the rig’s greatest appeals is the ability to get that full sound without running at painful volume levels. “You want a big sound for a heavy metal concert like this. The VTX speakers give the impression of it being loud and right in front of you without harsh frequencies.”

“The power is exceptional, and there is headroom to spare,” Wood says. “The rig is suitable for any style of music, although it is by far one of the best rock rigs out there.”

The JBL rig is the only equipment that the co-headliners share on this tour. Wood uses a Midas Pro 6 while Chapman mixes Manson’s set on an Avid D-Show in conjunction with Eventide Harmonizers and Avalon 737 mic pre’s. “I’m also using the Waves L2 across left and right,” Chapman explains. “It’s like a finalizing tool, a mastering tool that helps bring the mix right in front of you. The P.A. is great at doing that, but this gives an added edge.”

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