West London based rental company Entec is supplying a sound system for the ongoing Skunk Anansie world tour which has just started its latest European leg.
The UK rock band reformed in 2009 to great acclaim and released their fourth studio album Wonderlustre in September 2010. FOH sound engineer Paul Ramsay has worked with them since 1996, soon after they started and took the Britrock scene by storm, and Entec has been involved - as the sound rental company of choice for all his clients - since 1996.
The band's sound is big, bold and ballsy with some serious bottom end, and Ramsay has specified a d&b J-Series system with a lot of d&b B2-SUBS for the euro tour which visits a range of large theatres and arenas.
Ramsay is mixing the show on the original Midas XL4 console that Entec bought when they first supplied audio for the band in 1996.
While he's a big fan of digital consoles and the DiGiCo brand in particular - he used an SD7 for the 2010 festival run, also supplied by Entec - he felt that the XL4 was and still is spot-on for the band. "Both consoles sound amazing!" He says, "The SD7 has a very analogue hands-on feel about it and in fact on the summer run with this board I reckon I got stunning results. However I also really enjoyed mixing on a analogue console again after a good seven years ..... and the SD7 for this job would be overkill, as it's a pretty simple show to mix, only running 48 inputs and no need for complicated snapshots".
Naturally, Entec's Head of Sound Dick Hayes ensured that the XL4 had a thorough service before hitting the road again!
Entec is supplying a total of 20 d&b J-Series top speakers, 12 x B2-SUBS and a selection of Q10s and Q7s for infill and outfills. Ramsay loves the d&b sound, and together with the XL4 enables him to achieve a great bass-tastic sonic presence wherever they are playing.
Ramsay deliberately chose the older B2-SUB over the newer J-SUB for its special warm 'flavour' and the fact that it has a lower note which is ideal for optimising the bass tones when ground stacking - as will be the case in many of the European venues.
The system is driven by d&b D12 amps, controlled via the R1 management system with all the time alignment programmed within the amps.
Ramsay's FOH outboards feature a spectacular line up of 'golden oldies'. There are Drawmer DS201 gates for the drums, Avalon 737 compressors for the vocals and an XTA D2 multiband compressor for Skin's vocal. On the bass he's using a Summit Audio DCL 200 valve compressor, and there are some of the old style dbx 160s with VU metres for the backing vocals and a Theremin that's used in one number. There's an Eventide H3000 harmoniser, some Yamaha SPX 990s, a TC Electronics 2290 digital delay, a TC6000 running 3 engines and a Lexicon PCM 91 digital reverb - without which no self respecting 'classic' professional outboard rack would be complete.
He is also using his own Radial Engineering 4 channel Phazer Bank to align the DIs and mics on the bass guitar and two kick drum microphones. It's one of his favourite sonic tools, which he finds "Fantastic" for phase aligning two inputs together quickly and easily to make as one "Big perfect sound".
Back in the 21st century, the system EQ and processing is set up using a Dolby Lake system and wireless remote supplied by Entec.
Monitors are mixed by Gerry Colclough, and consist of d&b C7 side fills, a couple of C7 subs to move air for the drummer and a Midas Pro 6 console, with 4 band members using PSM 900 IEMs.
Entec's crew are FOH systems engineer Stefano Serpagali and Richie Gibson, who's looking after the stage end of the equation. For the larger gigs on the itinerary in Milan, Antwerp and Amsterdam, Entec has arranged for additional kit to augment the touring rig to be supplied by local partner companies.
Dick Hayes comments, "It's great to be working with Paul and the band again - they are all a delightful bunch of people - and Paul always gets a phenomenal sound out of the system".
For more press info on Entec, please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. To contact Entec direct, call +44 (0)20 8842 4004 or check www.entec-soundandlight.com.