The Pretenders

Jun 1, 2003 12:00 PM, Chris Michie


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On tour since January to promote their latest album, Loose Screw, The Pretenders rocked through the San Francisco Bay Area in early March. Fronted by the charismatic Chrissie Hynde, the seasoned band played two sold-out nights at the Warfield Theatre; their well-received set featured fan favorites from an impressive 25-year recording history.

New at FOH was Chris “Privet” Hedge, whose previous credits include such diverse acts as Genesis, Gary Moore, Tangerine Dream and Irish boy-band Westlife. Hedge's FOH console of choice is a Midas XL4. “It's the best desk ever made,” he says. “The solid-state EQ and mic preamp are fantastic, the faders are beautiful, and the MIDI/automation is more than sufficient.” The sound system, consisting of self-powered Meyer cabinets, was supplied by Solotech (Montreal, Quebec), which also provided monitor and control systems.

Hedge uses only moderate compression on the vocals, with a TLA 100A followed by a dbx 160A on Hynde's lead vocal. “A band of this quality should be allowed to breathe and create their own dynamic,” Hedge explains. “The dbx is just to make up the gain, because you don't want to drive the TLA too hard: They're quite noisy machines. The 160A also goes into compression now and again as a sort of goalkeeper if Chrissie screams. But it's only on a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio; it's all soft compression.” For total control of his gates, Hedge places D-Drum triggers on each of Martin Chambers' drums. “If you use normal gating methods and rely on the mic to open the gate, you'll struggle,” Hedge says. “Martin is a very dynamic player. So, in order to have enough accuracy with the gates, the triggers are crucial: to be able to set the threshold sensitivity low enough for a grace note to open the gate, yet still avoid other drums breaking through. The clarity this helps produce is striking.”

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