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The Essentials: Live Sound Reinforcement For The Recent U.S. Tour By Bryan Ferry
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Bryan Ferry at the Oakland stop on his recent U.S. tour singing with his Audio-Technica AT4054 condenser mic. (All photos by Steve Jennings)
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  Live, Concerts, Tours, Greg Detogne

Having clearly signed on with the digital revolution via his choice of console, Warren nonetheless confides that he’s not become a hardcore plug-in person.

“I’m using some of what Avid provides, a TC reverb package, a few Waves things, and that’s about it,” he says. “Waves was eager to give me everything they had, but just because I can have it doesn’t mean I should use it. I chose to buy what I really needed instead, and leave it at that.

“To be honest, with Bryan Ferry, every time he wanders off his mic in the middle you suddenly have a drum kit coming down at you with cymbals and everything else playing around him. Your mix becomes more ambient, you don’t need effects on things.

“You have to learn to use this situation to your advantage when it arises. Every time I teach someone to use this board I tell them it’s not what you put on it, it’s what you don’t - listen to what is going on and react accordingly.”

For monitors, Stephen May likes the scene capabilities of the Yamaha PM5D. (click to enlarge)

Lean & Lighter
Input on the tour was captured by a mixed bag of microphones (hardwired being the clear preference) ranging from a classic Shure B52 on the kick drum and Sennheiser 604s on rack toms to Shure SM57s scattered across guitar cabinets, on woodblocks, and snare top, and then all the way to center stage, where Ferry likes to plant his feet in front of an AT4054 cardioid condenser from Audio-Technica.

Other than a night at the Civic Opera House in Chicago that had Warren hopping about to figure out a way of successfully pulling-off a rock show in a room designed for opera (“I had to start with what I heard coming off the stage and simply add a little of whatever else was needed in the PA,” he says, commenting on how he obtained the best sound he could in the highly excitable room), his American tour opened his eyes to new things, and revealed a world across the pond he had long overlooked.

“Going into the show virtually every night and getting a good result whatever the PA, you can’t ask for much better on your return visit, can you now?” he adds, back in the comfort of the U.K. “In these times when lean and lighter are the order of the day, both the lighting guy and I could lift our entire lives and put them in a box, and be gone in five minutes. Life should have been that easy back when I toured with a Heritage stretch and four racks of outboard gear, don’t you think?”

Gregory A. DeTogne is a writer and editor who has served the pro audio industry for the past 30 years.

Source: Live Sound International

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