When mainstream media reviews are making comments about a show’s technical production, you know it has had serious impact! The full-tilt sonic maelstrom of Enter Shikari’s recent UK tour made so much landfall that no-one escaped the raw and visceral onslaught.
“… it’s not the tech itself, but the way that it’s used that really makes the difference ..“ enthused Remfry Dedman in the Independent* referring to the band’s outstanding quad sound system. “The sound is incredible,” yelled Jen Thomas** for the Nottingham Post who reviewed the first of the arena venue shows as the tour energized after an exciting debut gig at the Liverpool Olympia.
Enter Shikari, known for their animated, genre-defying collage of hardcore industrial punk and heavy metal electrobeats are certainly always pushing the boundaries of experimentalism as proved during their latest outing with an Adlib supplied quadrophonic system.
During the initial stages of the tour’s design, Andy Russell (FOH) wanted to specify a system that would push boundaries in audio fidelity. He wanted to connect the massive energy emanating from the stage to Shikari’s hugely devoted fan-base. So, hand-on-heart, Adlib systems engineers George Puttock and Sam Proctor together with Adlib account manager and director Dave Jones all recommended Coda AiRAY as the perfect option.
They specified the system – known for its low distortion, extreme output and intense clarity – based on Andy’s brief of delivering a truly stunning live experience for anyone catching the tour.
Andy has worked with Enter Shikari for the last 11 years and knows exactly how they and he like it to sound – raw, powerful, intricate and detailed – all in the same breath. He aims to achieve a big, bold sound with lots of creative effects to accompany the all-important volume and sub bass.
They were initially inspired to go down the quad route by Roger Waters ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ surround sound performance at Coachella in 2008. It was a technique they utilised on the last arena tour (Feb 2016) which was also serviced by Adlib and system engineered by Sam Proctor.
However, for this tour, they took a much bolder quad approach.
The desire was to completely immerse the audience in the sound and wrap them up in an exciting sonic journey. The goal was to make the vast arena spaces appear just as intimate and charismatic as a sweaty 300 person underground club with condensation dripping off the ceiling!
Numerous effects from Shikari’s new album ‘The Spark’ were automated, so they could be bounced around the room, bringing a truly immersive experience to the fans. The sonic attack came from all four corners & effectively redefined everyone’s spatial perception of the venue which “whipped you around the head with the music”. ***
Coda proved to be the perfect choice for Enter Shikari as it covers a much wider frequency range than other systems, which made it ideal for their vast collection of dynamic and immersive effects that thrive outside traditional spectral limits.
The typical system comprised of a 12-deep AiRAY hang per side with 4x ViRAY as downfill. Flown behind the AiRAY were typically 6x SC2 LF extensions per side. These double 15” enclosures overlap the double 12”s of the AiRAY in the 40 – 160 Hz range, adding immense punch & weight to the already meaty AiRAY cabinet.
The SC2 cabinet is from the same family as AiRAY, so George was able to sometimes fly them elsewhere in the hangs if needed, like on another tour which recently played Brixton, where they were slipped into the middle of the array to avoid hitting the balcony with the AiRAY, whilst keeping one single line source of LF in the air.
On the floor, 20x of Coda’s Sensor Controlled SCP-F dual 18” Subs were placed in a horizontal line. Three of Coda’s new arrayable point source (APS) speakers were used per side for infill in conjunction with four high-output point source (HOPS) cabinets.
The rear speaker hangs providing the quad coverage comprised of 8x ViRAY speakers in each corner. A truss was flown between these hangs to run the cables to FOH, where they were powered by Coda’s Linus Amplified Controllers.
Audio was transported from the Midas PRO X at FOH to the Coda Amplifiers digitally & completely latency free with a Coda’s proprietary LiNET Redundant Signal Distribution System.
“I can now honestly say that Coda is the best PA I have ever mixed on,” stated Andy as the UK run ended, clearly impressed with what could be achieved with such a compact set of loudspeakers.
“The entire Coda package provided for this tour was a complete dream to use,” commented George, underlining that all parties involved had utter confidence in the Coda solution. “Audio quality was the prime concern for the Enter Shikari tour & the Coda System far outperformed all expectations. The added bonus that these speakers are also incredibly lightweight, easy to rig & efficient on amplifier resources was a massive plus… but completely incidental to the actual decision of quality first”.
“We define ourselves as sound engineers, not convenience engineers” said George, “Even if it had been a case that the system was challenging to rig, we would have still chosen it for its sound quality. If you haven’t heard a Coda system yet, you should give this ‘underdog’ system the benefit of the doubt & let your ears decide!”
Monitor engineer Joe Crouch worked with Adlib technician Kleiner on stage using one of Adlib’s Soundcraft Vi3000 consoles and the band’s own IEM system. With most inputs DI’d into the line system, it was a clean and quiet stage on which Andy and Joe could let loose their creativity.
Production Manager Edd Slaney commented, “The AiRAY really is the perfect system. It not only sounds absolutely phenomenal, it’s also lightweight, which takes away any rigging concerns, and the boxes are so small we can fit a surround sound rig into the same trucks space a traditional stereo arena rig would take up. And again, it’s staggering just how much better the AiRAY sounds compared to other top end PA systems. It’s not often you have a PA system that is so far superior to what’s come before, that it looks like it will be a game-changer for the entire industry.”
In addition to the fantastic comments in the press and constant positive chatter buzzing on social channels, George recalls how every night at FOH they would encounter compliments on the sound from many delighted fans at the end of the show. “Whilst this does happen from time-to-time at gigs, on this tour it was constant … Every night without fail we would have 15-20 people come to FOH almost lost for words”. The public were certainly impressed; they clearly felt part of the whole show.”
The challenge of getting that intimacy and personal connection was achieved in abundance, thanks to Coda, Andy & The Band’s tremendous effort in making this tour an experience that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Dave Jones summed up, “to get amazing newspaper reviews about the sound quality is a rarity and proves that the CODA Audio system delivers on every level now. When Edd the PM came up to me during the sound check in an empty room on the first show commenting on how good it sounds … you know something great is going to happen come show time. The band’s energy on stage is something else and it is one of the best live shows we’ve been involved with this year.”