Touring in support of their most recent album, Accelerate, R.E.M. selected Oxnard, California-based Rat Sound to handle sound reinforcement requirements, with Brett Eliason serving as FOH engineer and George Squiers handling monitor mix honors.
Clair Brothers sublet two Midas XL8 digital mixing consoles (for house and monitors) to Rat Sound for the tour. “We pushed for the Midas consoles,” Eliason notes, adding, “Having the Midas preamps at the front end and a true 24-bit, 96 kHz digital resolution were the main selling points. The console is also well laid out and easy to get around.”
The main system was led by a Rat Sound staple, L-Acoustics V-DOSC line arrays. “George and I worked with our techs, Lee Vaught and Peter Baigent, to come up with the specific gear, amounts, and configurations relating to this band and the venues that we would play,” Eliason says.
“The Rat Sound version of V-DOSC is a great sounding rig that is readily available throughout the world. In Europe, we’re jumping around between sound companies, so I wanted a system that I could find just about anywhere to provide some continuity day-to-day for the duration of the tour.”
The system required about four hours of set-up time at each tour stop, backed by six XTA 448 digital processors (with Audiocore software) as well as Soundvision to assist in determining PA hang configurations. (The total loudspeaker set for the tour is listed below.)
It’s also the first major tour for MicroWedge monitors under the EAW brand, described by Squiers as “a compact, co-axial design that have a very smooth natural high end with an amazing amount of low end for a single 12-inch cabinet.” Lab.gruppen LA48 power amplifiers drive the MicroWedges, with R.E.M. also using Future Sonics personal in-ear monitors in conjunction with the stage wedges.
In addition to processing supplied by his XL8 console, Squiers applies a tc electronic M6000 mastering processing package with two engines, as well as an Eventide Eclipse for harmonizer effects.
Diversity rules the day when it comes to microphones: Shure SM91 and Audix D6 for kick drum, Audix I-5 and Shure Beta 57 for snare, AKG 460 for hi-hat, beyerdynamic Opus 88 on toms, AKG 414 for ride cymbal, and Audio-Technica AT4050 for overhead.
Bass guitar is direct via an Avalon DI and another beyerdynamic M-88, while guitars use Shure SM57 and Sennheiser 609. Acoustic instruments also go direct via Avalon DI, while vocalist Michael Stipe prefers an Audix OM7, switching between wired and wireless models.
Brett Eliason, FOH Engineer
George Squiers, Monitor Engineer
Lee Vaught, FOH Tech/Systems Engineer
Peter Baigent, Monitor Tech
Matt Fox, PA Tech
Greg Mahler, PA Tech
Loudspeaker Set For R.E.M. On Tour
2 hangs of 14 V-DOSC and 6 DV-DOSC (mains)
2 hangs of 9 V-DOSC and 3 DV-DOSC (sides)
2 hangs of 8 Rat Subwoofers
12 Rat Subwoofers (ground)
1 hang of 4 DV-DOSC (center fill)
2 hangs of 12 DV-DOSC 270 (fill)
6 ARCS (supplemental)