For Robbie William’s Heavy Entertainment Show, sound engineer Simon Hodge is mixing on a Digico SD7 using an L-Acoustics K1 based system from Britannia Row Productions (Brit Row) and has not found it wanting.
“We have played some very tricky venues, acoustically speaking,” said Hodge. “The new amplifiers and subs that Brit Row has invested in have made a big difference. I was expecting the new subs to be better but actually the difference is pretty phenomenal – they produce notes that I’ve not heard before with what feels like effortless power. The new amplifiers have made a difference to the HF as well which seems extended in to the range that only dogs can hear. I have ultimate respect for Josh Lloyd’s system design and line up but that combined with the new system has resulted in the most even coverage that I’ve ever heard in stadiums.”
Lloyd’s approach to system design for each venue is rigorous. “I did all the advance work earlier this year so we have a system plan in place before we ever set out. But all shows, especially ones of this scale, evolve, so I do re-examine those plans and finesse them about a week ahead of arriving at each new venue. Using the new Composite Target approach whilst designing the system in Soundvision means we are getting even more consistent results across the audience listening area, so I spend time fine tuning the aiming of the system then finally pre-setting delays and filters in a more informed, empirical fashion; it’s all about making it sound as good as possible.”
The tour had a tougher start than many when William’s long-time monitor engineer Pete McGlynn injured himself in a motorcycle accident just days before leaving production rehearsals. McGlynn recommended another Brit Row stalwart, Jonathan ‘Diggers’ Digby. “Losing Pete was bound to be tricky,” said Hodge, “But his choice of replacement has dispelled any reservations on that front. I’ve worked with Diggers on a few things over the last few years and he has also worked with several members of Robbie’s band before.
The system is predicated on a simple set of K1 mains and sides, with a rear hang of K2. For the larger stadium venues in the UK Britrow also installed ring systems of K2 beneath the grandstand roofs. “We do carry a large pool of K2 for multiple delay applications.” said Lloyd. “The fact is the show PA format changes at every venue, so it is a little bit harder work than many touring schedules.”