All Access: Adele

Oct 1, 2011 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings


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Adele sings through a Sennheiser SKM 2000 radio with a hypercardioid 965 capsule in gold.

Adele sings through a Sennheiser SKM 2000 radio with a hypercardioid 965 capsule in gold.

You could hear the sigh of discontent across the San Francisco Bay Area when Adele cancelled her North American tour mid-run due to laryngitis. Fortunately, just a few months later, this songstress sensation was back on the road, resuming where she left off. Mix caught up with the tour at the Los Angeles Greek Theater.


Adele 2011 Tour Gallery

[Note that the opening photo is from the first show of the tour in Washington, D.C., and supplied by Getty Images.]

Front-of-house engineer Dave McDonald is no stranger to the Allen & Heath iLive 12 console, having mixed on it for Florence and the Machine, AIR and now Adele. “It seemed logical that we were starting small to use the iLive, but as we raise the bar, it just keeps up with what we need it to do,” McDonald says. “No plug-ins are needed as the board, hands-down, has the best modeling I have heard.”

Front-of-house engineer Dave McDonald

Front-of-house engineer Dave McDonald

On the North American dates, the tour is not carrying P.A., but McDonald specs an L-Acoustics or d&b system. “This does not always go as planned, so many times you have to use some different manufacturers,” he says. “So you get to see the good, the bad and the ugly of the P.A. world; it keeps you on your toes.” For the UK leg, the tour will be carrying a package from SSE.

Stage-left guitarist Tim Van Der Kuil uses two Fender Deluxe Reverb amps, each miked with a Sennheiser e 906 dynamic. According to guitar tech/stage manager Adam Carr (above), Kuil's foot pedal comprises a TC Electronic Polytune poly-chromatic tuner, Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Boy analog delay, Empress tremolo, Fulltone OCD and Full-Drive 2, and a Peterson Strobe Stomp 2 tuner.

Stage-right guitarist Ben Thomas plays mainly Gibson and Taylor models. According to guitar/keyboard tech Adam “Flea” Newman (at left), the two Fender Twin Reverb amps are miked with Sennheiser Evolution e 906 dynamics. Thomas’ foot pedal (below) comprises an MXR Carbon Copy analog delay; Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Plus and Stereo Pulsar Tremolo; Catalinbread SCOD; Fulltone Fat-Boost; TC Electronic PolyTune; and Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner.

Keyboardist Miles Robertson plays a Yamaha XF-7 and XF-8, both housed in a custom-built, one-unit piano shell built by Matt Snowball in London. The unit also contains the Radial J-48 Mk2 DIs. According to Newman, there is also a small playback system run by two solid-state hard drive Macs (one running Logic and one for backup and program changes to the keyboards) into two MOTU UltraLitemk3 audio interfaces and then into the Radial SW8 switch. “This runs the strings and percussion backing tracks, along with clicks and occasional horns,” he says. “The whole rig was originally built and put together by Dan Roe in the UK.”

Drum tech Nissim Aharon (right) runs through the mic selection for Derrick Wright’s kit: Sennheiser e 905 (snare top/bottom), e 902 (kick), e 901 (kick), e 904 (toms); and Neumann KM814s (overheads, hi-hat and ride).

Monitor engineer Joe Campbell

Monitor engineer Joe Campbell

Monitor engineer Joe Campbell is also on an Allen & Heath iLive, using all onboard effects, gates and comps, saying, “There’s no need for anything else—all the dynamics are great and the reverbs especially are brilliant.”

Although the band is on a combination of in-ears and wedges, Campbell says that the clarity of a stereo ear mix with the added weight of a couple of wedges sounds great. “We have been using d&b M4 wedges run bi-amped on D12 amps, which has been ideal,” he says. “These wedges sound good, they are nice and light, but powerful. There are no monitors near the drum; I use a Butt Kicker and a hard-wired in-ear system for Derrick. I use two pairs of wedges for Adele, in stereo, and Sennheiser G3 in-ears with UE7 molds.”

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