For the Stereophonics recent arena tour in support of their latest album, Graffiti On the Train, FOH engineer Dave Roden trusted long-time collaborators Capital Sound Hire and Martin Audio.
For the closing night of the tour at O2 Arena, the scalable MLA system was rigged 16 x MLA and 2 x MLD Downfills per side for the main hangs and 13 MLA and I x MLD for outfills. Subs comprised 14 MLX in a broadside castellated sub array, while a further 12 x W8LM Mini Line Arrays, arranged in six stacks, provided infills.
As for monitors, Adam Zindani and Richard Jones used a pair of Martin Audio’s classic LE700, while Kelly Jones relied on two pairs of LE700 — one pair in front and one pair behind. The side-fills consist of a Martin Audio 218 and W8C per side (while a separate 218 was deployed as Jamie Morrison’s drum sub.
But the real differentiator for the ‘stereosonics’ team was the sub array — with those 14 MLX subs in landscape formation (nine at the bottom, five reverse facing on the top). “Because it’s a cardioid pattern, this really helps the rear rejection,” notes Harm.
Mixing on an Avid Profile (with a fairly flat EQ) the average Leq at FOH was generally around 100-101dBA. “The variation was -3dB at the furthest audience points,” notes Roden.
“The difference between MLA and a conventional line array is that this will cover every seat in the house with no delays and absolute phase coherence."
Capturing the sound that would be pumped out by the Martin Audio system was a whole different story and Roden specified 2013 Technical Grammy-award winning Royer R-121L ribbon mics supplied by Funky Junk.
“I haven’t used Royer R-121 microphones in a live situation before, but the band have used them in the studio and been very happy with the results they have achieved,” Roden says. “I have also heard them being used by other FOH engineers whom I greatly admire, (Jim Ebdon and Marc Carolan for example) and have always been really impressed with the results. I decided to use them, too, in order to up our game.”
“The band members have all moved on to IEM's (in ear monitors) and they were hearing things completely differently to the way they've been used to with wedges,” Dave Roden explains.
“In order to adapt, some of the on-stage sources required a more hi-fi approach. This was a challenge for everyone involved, but was a very positive and necessary step in respect to the future performance capabilities of the band, and gave our Monitor Engineer Dave Retson and myself the perfect opportunity to significantly upgrade our mic stock. Both the band on stage and the audience in the arenas were very happy with the guitar sounds they were hearing when we used the R-121L's on the tour.”