All Access: Toby Keith

Oct 7, 2010 2:29 PM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

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Country superstar Toby Keith is out on tour to support his latest album, American Ride (much of which was written on the road last year; will there be a new album resulting from this jaunt?). Mix caught up with the Sound Image–supported tour in early August at the Shoreline Amphitheater (Mountain View, Calif.).

Front-of-house engineer Dirk Durrham (left) is manning a Midas XL-4 console with 48 mono inputs and 12 stereo ins/12 stereo outs. In his outboard rack are Drawmer gates, ADL and dbx comps, and a TC Electronic 6000 and Lexicon 960L for effects.

According to system tech/crew chief Ted Bible (right), the summer dates (amphitheaters and festivals) include 54 JBl VerTec 4889s and VerTec 4880s (above, left). “We hang 15 in the main column and 12 in an aux column,” Bible says. There is also a hang of 10 subs in between the main and aux. “We also stack 10 more subs in the pit per side. There are eight proprietary frontfills made by Sound Image placed across the front of the stage in pairs.” The system is powered with Crown HD12000 amps and driven by five dbx 4800s, where they do all x-over and EQ processing.

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“For tuning the P.A. system,” Durrham adds, “we use Smaart and a Klark Teknik DN6000. We’ve got a great crew this year; most are new to the tour, such as Ted Bible. Our camp has wanted Ted for a while now, but he’s always been out with the big rock tours like Def Leppard and Lenny Kravitz. He bought property in the Nashville area, and I stole him away and things have been great. As far as Toby, well he’s from Oklahoma—that should say enough. But seriously, he is a man’s man and a true standup guy.”

Keith plays an electric Gibson ES 335 and Takamine Jombo body for acoustics. He sings through a Shure UR4D wireless system with KSM9 capsules for himself and the backup vocalist. There are also a few wired KSM9s for other singers.

According to drum tech Lance Stoner, Dave McAfee’s kit is miked with KSM 27s for toms, KSM 32s on overheads, Beta 56As on ride and bongos, KSM 137s on hi-hat and bottom snare, Beta 98 on cross stick, and Beta 91 and 52A on kick. “And the good-old 57 for top snare,” Stoner says. “He does use a seat Thumper bridged to 2 ohms.”

Rex Mauney’s keyboard chain includes a Yamaha S80, Motif Rack, Muse Receptor and a 1957 Hammond B3.

“Hidden under the stage set faced upstage, guitarist Rich Eckhart uses Krank and 112 iso box, guitarist Rich Eckhardt use a Kustom amp with Roland, TC Electronic and Dunlop effects and a 4x12 stereo cab with all Shure wireless,” says guitar/keyboard tech Ripp Mayes.

From left: monitor engineer Russell Fischer, monitor tech Stephen Wharton and band monitor engineer Bill Collyer

From left: monitor engineer Russell Fischer, monitor tech Stephen Wharton and band monitor engineer Bill Collyer

Monitor engineer Russell Fischer is also mixing on a Midas board—a Heritage 3000—while band monitor engineer Bill Collyer works on an Avid D-Show. “This is because Toby prefers the sound of analog consoles over digital,” Fischer explains. “The band has grown accustomed to the snapshot capabilities of digital. It is easier for two of us to be in two places at once.

“All plug-ins used are internal to the console,” Collyer continues. “Some sweetening on the bass DI, EQ and comp/limiters for the outputs and the FX—nothing too fancy.” Rack gear on Keith comprises Summit TLA 100, eight channels of Drawmer DS 201 and 12 channels of Brooke Siren DPR 404.

Keith’s in-ear monitors are Shure PSM 900 Series and some PSM 700s (below). “I have eight wireless ear mixes for the band,” Fischer adds. “I have three hard-wired ear mixes. In addition to the 11 mixes onstage, I have a guest pack and a few backup units for spares. For the ear mixes, I am using a Professional Wireless HA-8089 helical coil antenna.”

Josh Bertrand plays a Fessenden pedal steel; amps are Mesa Boogie studio and preamps are Peavey 112s.






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