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RE/P Files: The 1983 US Festival, A Cooperative Effort By Clair Brothers & Showco
An in-depth look at the entire system assembled for a seminal concert event. This article originally appeared in the October 1983 issue of RE/P.
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Weibel felt that being prepared for unusual last-minute requests would ease his job as overall stage supervisor for Clair’s system.

“I have brought in more of everything,” he explains. “I have over 50 floor slants available; we’ll obviously never use that many, even if they all get blown up twice! And the extra Midas desk . . . I’d rather be able to do a bus parallel. and keep all eight mixes, than just have a small submixer.

“Plus, this gives me a complete spare desk right here in case I need it. Here, we are giving these acts everything from soup to nuts ... it has to be all there.

“It is a lot of gear ... it’s a far cry from the days back when I was in college. and we used to just lay a column [speaker] in front of the band for a monitor and say, ‘Here, guys, knock yourself out!’ Now, if one of these people needs compressors on all his vocal channels and that sort of thing, I just reach for a patch cable.”

Monitor Electronics
The 10 mix outputs from the two paralleled Midas desks were fed into dbx Model 162 compressors. White third-octave filter sets and/or Klark-Teknik graphic equalizers were easily patchable into each output line, as per a given engineer’s preference. A Clair electronic crossover split the hi-amplified mixes at 1.2 kHz, and lows and highs were pushed by left and right channels of specially modified SAE Model 2600 power amplifiers (Figure 15).

Figure 15: Racks of SAE 2600 amps, specially modified by Clair, to power the bi·amplified monitor mixes. (click to enlarge)

Clair engineer Mike Wolpert, who usually is found touring with Kenny Rogers’ system, explains the monitor system in further detail (Figure 16).

“Our floor slants are set up with an internal passive crossover,” he says. “That way, we can always get a good sound without even using a crossover. By changing a simple jumper, the boxes can be run two-way, For the US Festival, we have all bi-amped mixes set up. The floor slants contain a single 15-inch cone, and a TAD 1602 driver mounted on a specially-built wooden radial horn.

“With patch cables, I can quickly change any mix output from one area of the stage to another. I have extra dbx limiters available, extra graphics, even a Lexicon delay unit. Pretty much whatever they ask for, I can patch in immediately.”

Figure 16: Clair engineer Mike Wolpert at the monitor mix position, stage left, with Klark Teknik graphics and White filter sets available for monitor mix EQ. (click to enlarge)

Clair’s side fill monitor stack gave every appearance of being able to provide adequate coverage for the 56- by 80-foot stage: each side contained no less than 16, 15-inch speakers. Four cabinets per side each housed four JBL speakers, and was referred to as a 4145 box (Figure 17). Side fill mids and highs were handled by Community Light & Sound’s new M-4 diaphragm and JBL 2441s.

“The M-4 is a 6-inch aluminum diaphragm with no cone at all,” Wolpert explains. “Just a huge diaphragm surrounded by styrofoam. They work great outdoors ... they sound really natural on this stage. We considered overhead monitors for a while, but decided against it due to the large, hard flat stage surface with no carpet on it. ‘

Figure 17: Clair side fill stacks: 16, 15·inch cones per side, with Community Light & Sound’s·M-4 diaphragms on the midst and JBL 2441s on top. (click to enlarge)

Power for the huge side fill stacks came from Clair’s compact four-in-one “Boat Anchor” amp rack (Figure 18). “We call it that because it is so heavy for its size,” Wolpert remarks. “It consists of four SAE 1,000·watt amps, put into one case along with cooling fans and an electronic crossover.

“You just run a mike cable to it with a mix output signal, plug it in, and you have instant side fills. Here, we’ve put the Boat Anchor on a moving dolly right behind the side fill stack, so the whole thing rolls around if needed.”

Together, the two large side fill stacks put out such an intense sound-pressure level that complaints were yelled out from all parts of the 436-foot wide staging area as one band’s monitor engineer checked his center-stage vocal mike with a deafening “Check ... One! Two!”

Figure 18: Clair’s “Boat Anchor” amp rack: four 1,000-watt power amps in a compact box on wheels, complete with crossover and cooling fans for use with side fill stacks. (click to enlarge)

For heavy-metal drummers, Clair engineers had prepared a special monitor rig: four Crown PSA·2 power amplifiers built into a small rolling rack, which also housed an electronic crossover set at 250 Hz and 1.2 kHz.

When wheeled into position by the drum riser, this rack powered four Clair R-4 boxes (housing the same 18s as the S-4 house cabinets), providing a very portable, very loud drum monitor set-up which needed, once again, only a mike cable for input once it was positioned on stage using its rolling riser,

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