KoRn and Alice in Chains united for a co-headlining summer tour featuring opener Underoath for a 30-date trek, which launched July 18th in Austin, Texas wrapping up September 4th in Mountain View, California. Two of hard rock’s biggest acts, both bands are mainstays in the scene, but the pairing is a bit unusual, with KoRn’s nu metal sound contrasting sharply with Alice in Chains’ grunge styling. Their new album, The Nothing, was released in mid-September while Alice in Chains is out in support of their 2018 LP, Rainier Fog.
“For my riders, d&b systems are actually my preference,” states Marko Vujovic, front of house engineer for KoRn. “For arenas, I even preferred J-Series over all of the other products in the market. Now, with the new GSL I finally got my new first choice for an open-air system.”
“The summer tour was actually the first tour we did with Brown Note but we knew each other from diverse festivals, for example, Chicago Open Air. I was extremely happy with Brown Note, especially with the personnel they sent us. They were amazing. Chris Chierello is the system tech they sent us and, hands down, he is one of the best I ever worked with.”
With regard to the d&b GSL loudspeaker system, Vujovic says the combination of warmness, clarity, and loudness is perfectly balanced. “It’s fascinating how much mixing depth you have even when it gets really loud. It almost feels like d&b created this system for KoRn because this band is a metal band with a ‘hip hop low end’ and their songs are extremely dynamic. They are constantly switching from very quiet parts to loud, powerful and bass heavy parts in their songs. Also, there are a lot of loops, effects, and keyboard parts that are supposed to be layered deeper in the mix. So, mixing depth is a very important factor to make a KoRn show sound great. The d&b system did not disappoint in any of it, not at all.”
According to Vujovic, another huge advantage of the new GSL system is the broadband directivity control across the entire bandwidth and the steep sound attenuation onto the stage. “It’s amazing how fantastic the cardioid concept of the GSL works. When you are on stage in an open-air environment, it almost feels like the PA isn’t even on while it’s blasting with 100 dB into the audience. But the system still feels extremely phase linear when you walk the entire audience area.”
KoRn´s monitor engineer, Brian Post, prefers d&b M2 wedges running off D80 amplifiers in combination with J-Series for side fills. “As for the KoRn tour, what can I say,” states Post, “d&b makes a great product; KoRn is an old school band, all wedges, and I need a product that will supply high SPL and stay stable. It just makes my job easier. When the ‘boss’ asks me to give him the heat, I can feel confident that d&b can deliver what he needs to perform night after night without hearing fatigue. And with the SL-Series out front, I don’t have to worry about the front of house mix clashing with what is going on, on stage. Again, just a great product and my go to at every show.”
Vujovic adds that based on the fact that there are fewer compromises you have to make when it comes to feedback sensitivity mainly with the lead singer’s microphone, you automatically use less EQ on the main hangs.
“This is amazing because the entire front of house mix can develop so much better. Furthermore, I must say this is a full win-win situation. The band and the monitor engineer do not have to fight so much noise coming from the PA on stage anymore. That means more clarity and separation. More clarity and more separation on stage means the band can hear themselves better. And that means if they can hear better their playing becomes more precise that ultimately leads to a better front of house mix. Bottom line the full-frequency directivity control of the GSL made my work easier and my life happier.”
After mixing just two shows earlier this year on the GSL rig, front of house engineer for Alice in Chains, Troy Milner, knew he would be really happy carrying the system for the summer.
“I have to emphasize what the other guys have all said about the cancellation behind the PA,” Milner says. “It was exactly what I was looking for with this tour and it delivered better that I expected each night. That was also due to the way the guys from Brown Note deployed it each day. The consistency in coverage and dynamics of the rig was an absolute blast to work on. Knowing that when I put up the inputs at the start of the show, it will be exactly or better than I expected, makes doing what we do so much fun. The clarity, punch and coverage of this d&b GSL rig is really well done. Alice in Chains have an incredibly deep catalog of songs with every dynamic you can imagine and the fans know and recognize all the details the guys put into each song every night. The GSL reproduced all of those little details perfectly and really made mixing the band one my favorite tours of my career. I can’t thank the guys from Brown Note enough for all their hard work. Knowing that the PA would be right each day in each venue really makes it great. And thanks to d&b for raising the bar and developing a PA that delivers day in and day out just the way I wanted.”
ArrayProcessing was applied to the system to optimize the tonal and level uniformity within the defined coverage area. ArrayProcessing significantly improves the consistency of the frequency response over distance, as well as seamlessly correcting for air absorption. The level variance over distance can also be defined to ensure a consistent spatial balance.
Monitor engineer for Alice In Chains, Mark Vanderwall says his job as monitor engineer is always helped or hurt by a PA system. “Many systems, while sounding good to the crowd, can be very troublesome to the monitor engineer and the band. Not all bands want to hear low end on stage. My job is to make the band comfortable on stage. With many PA systems, this is a difficult task. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to be a thorn in the side of a front of house engineer when the lobbing of a PA interferes with what we are trying to achieve on stage. The d&b GSL and Brown Note’s knowledge of it has been hands down the best system to work behind. With proper implementation, the system allows both of us to do our jobs with minimal confliction for each of our goals. Hats off to d&b for an amazing PA system, and thank you to the crew from Brown Note for all their assistance.”
For the main PA, Brown Note Productions provided 16 x GSL8 and GSL12 per side for the main PA (a total of 32), 6 x KSL8 and KSL12 per side for off hangs (a total of 24), 6 x SL-SUBs flown per side (totaling 12), 24 x SL-GSUBs, 8 x V7P and 8 x V10P loudspeakers for fills, and 56 x D80 amplifiers.
The monitor configuration includes 14 x M2 loudspeakers, V-SUBs for drums, 4 x J8 loudspeakers per side and 2 x J-SUBs per side for side fills, 3 x V8 loudspeakers for center down fill, 2 x Y10P loudspeakers for the VIP area fills, and 9 x D80 amplifiers.