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On The Road With The Boss; The System & Crew For Bruce Springsteen’s Latest Tour

Appearing in Europe and North America, the system approach is virtually identical on both sides of the Atlantic

By Jeff MacKay July 23, 2009

Front Of House Engineer John Cooper at the Digidesign Profile digital console he's using to mix "the Boss" and his band on the current tour. (Photo by Roy Timm) Take PSW's Photo Gallery Tour of the crew and system out in support of Springsteen & Company.

Touring in support of the new album, “Working On A Dream,”  Bruce Springsteen and the venerable E Street Band are once again utilizing the services and systems provided by Audio Analysts.

With North American dates throughout the spring and late summer and European dates in between, the approach is virtually identical on both sides of the Atlantic.

Front of House Engineer John Cooper worked with Albert Lecesse, Co-Owner and President of Engineering for Audio Analysts, in putting together the main system for the tour.

“Albert and I are constantly in discussions about how best to proceed with the PA touring plan,” explained Cooper. “We opted for JBL VerTec because it’s versatile – a customizable PA solution to tour with.”

Cooper mixes on a Digidesign Profile digital console, which he chooses over anything he’s tried. “I’m fortunate to be able to use whatever I want to use. At this point, the Profile has proven to be very reliable.”

He explains that he likes the ease of use, paired with the audio quality of the console. “I’ve become attached to using plug-ins for insert processing. Currently I am using a number of McDSP plug-ins, as well as the Waves Live bundle. Both product lines work great.”

For vocal microphones, Cooper made a change over previous tours, selecting Shure SM58 on all vocals. “I’m a bit of an old-school guy when it comes to mic selection. I have run the gauntlet of boutique mics, and I always come back to the industry standard. They just work!”

For background vocals, he time offsets them as a stereo group to give the vocals a stereo image – “A great place to sit around Bruce’s vocals. As far as Bruce is concerned, it’s pretty straight-ahead, with the Waves Renaissance compressor plug-in paired with a McDSP MC 2000 plug-in to put him on top.” Cooper processes background vocals with the Profile onbaord facilities.

Front of House System Engineer Brett Dicus details that the VerTec Series line arrays are powered by Crown I-Tech and I-Tech HD Series amplifiers under the control and monitoring of Harman HiQnet System Architect technology.

“In any given show,” he elaborates, “We have 10 hangs of PA, primarily using the VT4889 and VT4880 for the main hangs and then VT4888 for the additional outfill/delay and rear hangs, with VT4887 for frontfill surrounding the stage.”

The VerTec line arrays are easy for the crew to set up, taking approximately six hours to get fully into place. “Our setup in the field is also made very easy by the system design by Albert and Audio Analysts. The packaging, the cabling, and the prep is a very important part of the system,” Dicus adds.

By having John “Boo” Bruey also on the tour to serve as System Engineer, Dicus is free to handle the archival/recording of each show as well as more IT-related tasks. With the tight schedule, having two system techs doubles what can be accomplished within the same timespan.

Monitor world is a complex affair, with stage left and stage right setups helmed by Monitor Engineers Monty Carlo and Troy Milner,  respectively. Both positions are outfitted with a Yamaha PM1D digital mixing console, a mix of wedges, and in-ear systems.

Monitor wedges are Audio Analysts SLP (super low profile) 1 x 12-inch, 2 x 12 -inch, and 1 x 15-inch models, along with JBL VT4888 (four per side) for stage fill. On the IEM side, there are Sennheiser 300G2 systems with Westone ES2 and Ultimate Ears UE7 earphones. Aphex HeadPods with headphone amplifiers are also deployed for two musicians.

About 60 RF channels are in use during each show, with Sennheiser G2 systems and Shure UR Series for instruments (G1, J5, L3 ranges). The crew reports no RF difficulties to this point, with additional setup and coordination assistance available with the Shure Wireless Workbench and Professional Wireless IAS software with a TTIRF scanner.

Jeff MacKay is Managing Editor of Live Sound International.

Be sure to take PSW’s Photo Gallery Tour of the crew and system out in support of Springsteen & Company.

Front of House PA
JBL VerTec VT4889 Line Array Modules (18 deep front, 14 deep sides)
JBL VerTec VT4880 Subwoofers (12 flown per side, 4 stacked per side)
JBL Vertec 4888 Line Array Modules (Rear fill – 4 arrays, 12 deep)

Front of House Amplification
Crown I-Tech IT-5000HD
Crown I-Tech IT-12000HD

Front of House Console
Digidesign Profile 96-channel with Pro Tools recording rack

Front of House Outboard
Dolby Lake Processors
Tascam CD burners

Stage Monitor Consoles
2 x Yamaha PM1D v2 96 in/64 out

Stage Monitoring
JBL VerTec VT4888 (4 per side, stage fill)
Audio Analysts 1 x 12-inch
Audio Analysts 1 x 15-inch
Audio Analysts 2 x 12-inch

Monitor Amplification
Crown I-Tech IT-400

Personal Monitor Systems
Westone ES2 earphones
Ultimate Ears UE7 earphones
Sennheiser G2 IEM systems

Wired Microphones
Shure KSM32
Shure KSM137
Shure Beta 98
Shure Beta 91
Shure SM57
Shure VP88

Wireless Microphones
Shure UR
Sennheiser G2


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