Roger Waters The Wall Tour Profile

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



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Monitor tech/RF tech Kevin Kapler

Monitor tech/RF tech Kevin Kapler

“I actually have snapshots in the analog board using the VCAs and the mutes,” he continues. “But you have to turn up the guitar solos and maybe the drummer’s laying out a little bit. It’s mixing the show; things aren’t always the same every night. I always change my approach a little bit. ‘Okay, I mixed it this way last night and it was pretty good, but let’s feature this a little bit and pull it out.’ It’s a constant rethink where you are and reacting to different buildings. I’m trying to maintain the balance of the chaos that is with mixing any band. This one’s a bit less chaotic than most; actually, not that chaotic—they’re a great band.”

The forward-thrusting P.A. is a prototype Clair i5D. Explains Khalaf, who has been a senior engineer at Clair for the past 37 years: “We’re the guinea pig. I like it a lot; it’s a bit more coherent. The original i4 was one 18, four 10s and a couple of horns. There’s two philosophies to this. You can either put a lot of low end into the air, which really pisses off lighting designers, or you stack a bunch of sub-lows on the floor and beat the people in the first 10 rows half to death. Clair’s philosophy has always been to put as much of the low end in the air as you can and use the sub-lows simply as an add-on to move a bit of the air and couple more effectively with the floor. Putting all that stuff into one box gave us the opportunity to smooth out a lot of the anomalies with the original cabinets. The problem with it is that it’s big. We were a bit worried about it when we first started, but we found it’s smaller than a staging dolly, so no one really cared. I wouldn’t want to push one of those across a field in Montenegro…actually, keep me out of Montenegro.” In addition, there are eight i5s for side coverage, 12 B218 subs under the stage and eight FF2s as front-fills. All of this is powered by Crown analog amps.

Whereas FOH is a mostly-analog affair, monitor world maintains a purely digital approach. Monitor engineer Robin Fox mans a DiGiCo SD7, working with around 60 inputs for all 16 ear mixes (on JH Audio in-ears) and the 42 12AM Series 2 wedges; monitor amps are Lab.gruppen 20ks. Monitor tech/RF tech Kevin Kapler says that they are scanning for about 42 operating channels of wireless, though he calculates for about 54. Kapler uses a TTi handheld analyzer with an A04 8200 scanner. For the Sennheiser 2000 Series transmitters, he uses a Pro Wireless IE5 program to coordinate the frequencies, citing that the beauty of this system is that he can sync it.

Included in his wireless roundup are the mic models, which include a Shure U4D (though both Waters and Wyckoff will also sing through a hard-wired 58) and wireless Shure mics for background vocals. “We’ve got about a half-dozen wireless just for the acoustic instruments,” Kapler adds. “This includes all the wireless for the end of the show, where the musicians will come out with an accordion, ukulele, et cetera.”

While Waters is very involved in the sound of his show (they record a DVD each night that he’ll review for any tweaks; in fact, Khalaf says they haven’t nailed down the arrangements quite yet), the artist and FOH engineer have a great working relationship that allows Waters to do what he does best and to give Khalaf the air to mix the show as he sees fit. “He’s absolutely involved, but the great thing about being a front-of-house engineer in the final analysis is that the artist has no idea what you’re doing out there; they just have to trust you,” Khalaf says. “He lets me do what I want to do. This is one of the last great traditional rock ’n’ roll tours. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be able to do something this rewarding again.”

Sarah Benzuly is Mix’s managing editor.

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