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Radioactive: Sound Reinforcement For Imagine Dragons On Tour

Amplifying a blend of the powerful music styles in a high-energy show

By PSW Staff August 8, 2013

Imagine Dragons lead vocalist Dan Reynolds (with Shure UHF-R transmitter) is known to take flight during performances.

Alternative rock band Imagine Dragons has enjoyed a steady rise since the release in September of last year of their debut album Night Visions, which went platinum in early 2013 and is headlined by the current hit single “Radioactive.”

And now the group is back on the road with a concert tour of Europe and North America (followed by dates in Australia), with most dates sold out at venues ranging rather dramatically in capacity from 800 to 17,000.

The Las Vegas-based quartet is comprised of lead vocalist/percussionist Dan Reynolds, bassist Ben McKee, guitarist/cellist Wayne “Wing” Sermon, and drummer Dan Platzman, who also plays viola. All three latter players also contribute backing vocals.

They blend the power of straight-ahead rock interwoven with backbeats, bass lines, and percussion in a show that’s high-energy, to say the least, with Reynolds even going airborne during performances on the current tour, hoisted via a wired harness.

The Nashville office of Sound Image is handling sound reinforcement and support for the U.S. portions of the tour, which continues through the end of September before moving on to Australia. System engineer Andrew Dowling of Sound Image is working closely with front of house engineer Scott Eisenberg, monitor engineer Jared Swetnam, and production manager Eric “Shakes” Grzybowski on the tour’s sound and systems approach.

Monitor engineer Jared Swetnam, front of house engineer Scott Eisenberg, and system engineer Andrew Dowling on stage prior to a show.

“When we received the bid (for this tour), it came down to determining which system would provide the SPL, flexibility and sonic quality the band requires,” explains Dowling. “There needed to be the ability to do full-size sheds and arenas, as well as smaller venues.”

Meeting Requirements
In discussing various options, the sound team decided that a main loudspeaker system headed by Adamson Systems Energia E15 line arrays would meet both scalability and sonic quality requirements.

The 3-way E15 is built around the proprietary e-capsule, a rigid aluminum module that houses all rigging, electronics and mid/high components (2 x 7-inch MF cones and 2 x 4-inch NH4 compression drivers) and their waveguides. The e-capsule is flanked with two separate birch ply enclosures, each containing a proprietary Kevlar 15-inch woofer.

“The Adamson boxes are light while still putting out a ton of horsepower,” Dowling states. “It allows us to get the volume needed even in venues where hanging a huge line isn’t an option.”

A set of flown Adamson Energia E15 arrays with T21 subs below.

The tour is carrying 42 E15 line array modules, plenty to handle the largest venues and able to be scaled up and down as necessary. At most stops, the arrays are flown, but they can be ground-stacked if necessary. “We’ve been in some odd venues that have required less than conventional configurations to get the larger than life sound the band wants,” he notes.

Also on hand are up to six SpekTrix compact line array modules with 120-degree horizontal dispersion to provide down fill while flown at the bottom of each main array, as well as up to eight more SpekTrix boxes for front fill on the deck.

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