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RE/P Files: Styx “Kilroy Was Here” Tour 1983

From the archives of Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine. a tour with several interesting twists

By David Scheirman January 18, 2016

Styx North American Tour 1983 (Credit: All images by David Scheirman)

Stage Miking
With three multi-instrumentalists in the band, Styx featured many different guitars and keyboards — and that eats up a lot of channels.

There were three separate keyboard positions individually mounted on a rolling cart or riser (Figure 10).

Keyboard instruments included two Roland Jupiter synthesizers, a Fender Rhodes electric piano, Korg electric organs, among others. All keyboard inputs were taken direct, including the acoustic grand piano pickup. A Leslie cabinet was miked with an AKG D12E on the low-end, and a Sony ECM-22P on top.

Electric and acoustic guitars were all equipped with Nady wireless devices. One of the band’s stage technicians spent the entire show overseeing a bank of 20 wireless receivers. Guitar amp stacks received mikes, while the bass guitar and the Moog Taurus bass pedals were taken direct. Hard-wired vocal microphones were Beyer M600 models.

The drum kit took up 15 input channels with its double kick drums (Electro-Voice RE-20 mikes), the four rack toms (Sennheiser 4218), and the top and bottom snare mikes. A third mike was placed on the snare drum for use exclusively in the monitors. Hi-hat and over-head cymbals were covered by AKG C451E condensers, as were the various percussion “toys.” A large pair of concert tympani completed the set.

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Console Interface
Stage lines were picked up by satellite boxes situated in various parts of the performing area. These 11-pair boxes utilize Amp g-2 connectors to feed signal into two identical 40-pair splitter boxes, providing lines from stage to the console areas. The junction boxes have three discrete outputs for house, monitor, and recording. “These three outputs are completely isolated from each other,” Albert Leccese explains. “1 won’t say whether or not we use transformers in there to split the signal, but we do use a very simple idea… I am surprised it is not more commonly known.

Of course, the splitter box is stuffed with PCB, and a lot of wires — we have had great success with it.” Two input snakes run from the splitter box to the house mix position, and two identical (though shorter) snakes feed the two monitor consoles.

House Mix Position
Two identical Gamble HC40-24 consoles provided 80 inputs at the house mix position. House engineer Rob Kingsland handled the primary board, while John Newsham assisted on the secondary board. In addition to the myriad lines coming from the stage, Kingsland returned a host of effects lines into the Gamble boards, along with a four-track music tape feed — tunes from the current album into which was mixed live vocals from the wireless lavaliers — and a film soundtrack, used as the opening sequence of the show.

Newsham found the Gamble consoles to be versatile when it came to having enough “ins-and-outs,” but had encountered a couple of problems with the pair in use on the Styx tour. “I get bleed-through from the cue circuit into the main outputs if the headphone amp input is overloaded,” he recalls. “Audio Analysts plans to modify this particular console and replace the graphic section with an auxiliary effects return panel,” Newsham added.

The tour was due to receive, by the end of May, a second pair of Soundcraft Series Four desks with 40 inputs routing to 16 discrete mix outputs for front of house. Shane Morris, technical manager for Soundcraft, says that the Series Four house console is equipped with eight stereo subgroups and eight mono effects returns, and has a full patch-panel, with easy access to the auxiliary and program group busses.

Audio Analysts engineer Ray Dilfield was the third man in the house mix area. As tape operator, it was his job to handle the Otari MX-5050 which fed four tracks of music into the system. Dilfield also had a TEAC 3300X reel-to-reel standing by as two-track backup, in case of primary tape transport failure. Both machines were started in sync and ran simultaneously, thus providing him with instant access to the two-track should problems arise with the Otari.


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