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Tool Tours With Heil Sound Microphones

Front of house engineer Alan “Nobby” Hopkinson deploys a mix of PR40, PR31 and PR30 dynamic microphones for US and European tour.

By PSW Staff June 28, 2019

Alan “Nobby” Hopkinson

It’s been 13 years since Los Angeles’ art-metal band Tool released the 10,000 Days album. The wait may be over as they have debuted two new songs, Invincible and Descending, during stops on a US and European tour that started in May.

The band, comprised of Danny Carey (drums), Justin Chancellor (bass), Adam Jones (guitar) and Maynard James Keenan (vocals), has been touring with a sound system supplied by Eighth Day Sound. Along with d&b audiotechnik GSL loudspeakers, Midas XL-4 console and Heil Sound microphones.

Alan “Nobby” Hopkinson, the band’s long-time front of house mixer, has had Heil Sound mics in his toolbox for many years. For the current run he is using PR31s and a PR40 on the guitar cabinets, a PR40 and PR30 on the two bass cabinets, PR30s on Leslies (L&R), PR48s and PR40s on kick and floor toms, and last but certainly not least, a PR30 for Adam Jones’ Heil Talk Box. “We were first introduced to the Heil range of mics during the recording of the previous album and to keep things as near to form, we took them on the road with us. They have a very natural sound, which really is the bottom line. There’s very little coloration which keeps the sound raw. Perfect Tool.”

Tool’s deliberate pace and stubbornly old-school approach – they’ve never made their music available for streaming or even sold it digitally – mixes with cutting-edge production in their live shows. The band performs with little audience interaction. Frontman Keenan stays in the back, cloaked in shadows while guitarist Jones and bassist Chancellor stay locked into playing the complex repertoire of songs that merge complex progressive rock with heavy metal powered by the intricate drumming of Carey.

The band is known for their complex live show where video, lighting, and lasers become, literally, the focal point. In an interview Hopkinson stated, “The visual element is always at the heart of this show with audio being the silk stitching to complete the purse! We try to position audio to facilitate what the video and lighting departments are trying to create. All three departments have worked together for the years that I’ve been here—some for longer—so we have a pretty good understanding of each other.”

At press time the band announced an August 30th release date for their yet untitled new album.

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