Lady Antebellum Tour Profile

Jan 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

COUNTRY ROCKERS BUILD ONSTAGE PRESENCE

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Front-of-house engineer Brett Blanden (left) with systems tech Adam Robinson at the Studer Vista 5 console

Front-of-house engineer Brett Blanden (left) with systems tech Adam Robinson at the Studer Vista 5 console

“We soundcheck almost every day, so the band’s comfortable with the FOH mix and the way the room’s responding,” he continues. “How much 200 [Hz] is coming out of the guitar amp and out of the P.A. definitely affects how [Dave Haywood, backing vocals/multi-instrumentalist] is going to play. But so far, our ability to have a pretty regular soundcheck lets the musicians participate in the same types of custom fit [that I’m doing with my FOH mix] for the audience.”

Monitor engineer Kurt Springer mans a 96-channel Avid Profile. “I’m a chameleon when it comes to which desks I use,” he says. “When I use a Studer, I’m happy with just a 960 and a few nice vintage effects pieces such as AMS reverbs. On the [Avid] platform, I have a tendency to utilize plug-ins until I run out of DSP. I like to use different plug-in compressors, on keyboards especially. Instead of making a typical stereo pair, I use left and right—a la George Martin—to give left and right a different textural dynamic.

Monitor engineer Kurt Springer at the Avid Profile

Monitor engineer Kurt Springer at the Avid Profile

“My musical theme for the band is to create as big of a universe as possible. First, I want everybody to hear what everyone else is thinking. I want enough space in all of the mixes to make it easy for the players to hear each other even when only a hint of an instrument is asked for by the player. In other words, I try to give them full content even if they have an agenda to minimize it.”

Lady Antebellum is all in-ears, using a combination of UE9s and Westone models.

The MSI-provided P.A. comprises JBL VerTec 4888DP boxes with the new DP-DA processing card, as well as VerTec 4880A subs powered by Crown iTech HDs. According to system tech Adam Robinson, the signal flow is completely digital from the moment the mic hits the preamp all the way to the speaker box. “We also carry eight Outline Mini Compass boxes for fills,” Robinson adds. “We’ve found that their output and adjustable horizontal dispersion is quite helpful, along with sounding pretty damn good!”

Robinson tunes the system with a couple Earthworks M30 mics and Smaart 7 to get a pretty decent flat response in the room. From there, he throws on some tunes and listens to the system. “We’re doing venues from medium-sized theaters to small arenas, and we even threw in a large club gig in there,” Robinson says. “Along with having a rig that has been able to scale easily to all of these places, the ability to control individual boxes when needed has made our job easy and slick. We have the ability to do four hangs—mains and sides, typically—and even place a couple of boxes on the deck when needed, all without worrying how we’re going to divide up amp channels or processing paths.”

Lady A is a Sennheiser endorser, so many of the mics found onstage are from this manufacturer, including a Neumann KK 105 S capsule atop a Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld transmitter for Kelley; a SKM 5200/MD 5235 handheld RF for Scott; and an e 935 hardwired for Haywood. He’s making extensive use of mics from the evolution 900 Series on drums, while bass sees beyerdynamic M88s. For guitar amps, Blanden places two mics on each amp: a Sennheiser 421 and a varying flavor of ribbon. “I have just tried that out this year and have gotten pretty good results,” Blanden says of the double-miking amp strategy. “I’m currently using the Cascade Fat Head II ribbons as my secondary mics to the 421s. I believe ribbon mics afford you more leeway in the phase-relationship department, especially if you are using more than one microphone. It’s just a different flavor and having more colors available for my palette is always welcome. I try to use all passive DIs, if possible, especially on acoustic instruments: guitars, Dobros.”






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