“I use CueMode if we go out on fly dates and we have a limited number of packs and units. It’s very helpful, because you not only monitor the mix; you monitor the frequency that it’s on. So if they’re taking hits, you’re hearing it,” Beckstead explains. And receiving the information via the bodypack leaves him free to move about when needed.
The monitoring systems are fed by Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) helical antennas, pole-mounted for direct line of sight, positioned adjacent to the transmitters. Frequency coordination for all wireless is done with an assist from PWS IAS software.
Garber and Beckstead note that the overall RF environment they’re finding in North America is “tightening up a bit but workable,” and is best addressed with careful RF planning and quality equipment.
Guitar amps are miked with Shure SM57s or taken direct via Radial J48 mk2 active direct boxes. Drums are handled exclusively with Shure as well, with a Beta 91 half-cardioid condenser inside the kick joined by a Beta 52A, SM57s on top and bottom snare, Beta 56As on top toms and Beta 132s below, and KSM 137s for hi-hat and ride.
Garber’s rack of outboard effects gear assembled for specific applications.
No Matching It
Beckstead does his monitor mixing on a Yamaha PM5D console outfitted with an additional DSP engine, which he uses pretty much to the exclusion of outboard effects gear.
Meanwhile at front of house, Garber utilizes a Studer Vista 5 SR console that’s he’s chosen since it was introduced more than five years ago, including for a long-time stint with Rascal Flatts before joining The Band Perry. “It really comes down to sonic quality. There are simply not a lot of consoles that can match it,” he states directly.
He also prefers the Vista 5 SR’s straightforward Vistonics interface and ergonomics, as well as its workflow. It’s got all of the processing he needs except for select effects pieces chosen for very specific applications. This includes a t.c. electronic reverb fed to the console via AES, as well as an Avalon VT-737SP compression on Kimberly’s acoustic guitar, a BSS Audio DPR-901ii dynamic equalizers on vocal groups, ADL 1500 stereo tube comp/limiters split between kick and snare, and a Summit TLA 100A tube leveling amplifier on mandolin.
Another look at the “dynamic trio” in concert, backed by a tight, top-notch band.
“These effects units, the compressors in particular, deliver a good warm sound on the acoustic items and the drums while keeping them right in the mix at all times,” Garber says.
Sound Image is supplying JBL Professional VerTec line arrays, driven by Crown Audio IT12000HD amplifiers, all under the management of the Harman HiQnet Performance Manager control suite. Typically, main arrays are comprised of 15 VT4889 full-size elements, with 12 of these for auxiliary arrays and 6 more for side fill arrays. Low end is bolstered by VT4880 subwoofers on the deck.
Garber notes that this package has delivered consistently over a long-standing affiliation with Harman that goes back more than a decade, furthered by the high level of service delivered by Sound Image and Lybolt. “Studer, JBL and the entire Harman organization helps us tremendously, especially on these long tours,” he states. “It’s a great way to deliver consistently high-quality sound to both artists and fans at every tour stop.”