Entec has the right tools for the job
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Entec has the right tools for the job
UK - Entec Sound is supplying a d&b J-Series line array system for the current Tool UK and European arena tour, which FOH sound engineer Ian Hopkinson says is "the best system I've ever used".

Entec's systems engineer Stef Serpagli confirms that the system has been pushed to astonishing limits with the exceptionally high SPL levels demanded by the Tool sonic experience, "It's basically on 11 all the time, and it's holding up really well!"

The most common configuration for the arrays is 12 J-8 tops and four J-12s a side for the main hangs, plus six C4 tops, flown two wide, and four C4 subs per side as the side hangs to give 180 degree coverage. For Wembley, the main hangs were increased by four J-8s per side - adding up to the most J-Series that Entec has hung to date. Sub bass is provided by 14 J-Subs and 12 B2s, run in cardioid mode, arranged in a delayed sub array around the front of the stage for even coverage.

The main J system, all the subs and the four Q7 front fills are driven by d&b D12 amplifiers, and the C4 with P1200As. The system processing utilises a combination of d&bs Rope C software in conjunction with a Lake Contour systems, chosen for its flexibility and because the side hangs needed a processor. They have been using the compressors on the Lakes which are "fantastic" claims Serpagli.

d&b's Ralf Zuleeg and Jonas Wagner came to the show in Munich to set up and tweak the delayed sub array - the first time they have used both J-Subs and B2s combined for the task.

Hopkinson uses a Midas XL4 console at FOH - his desk of choice. He's an XL4 fan because it's a classic console ... that "just works when you switch it on". His effects rack contains two TC 2290 delay/multi effect processors for vocals; an Eventide H3000 harmoniser, and a Lexicon 480L reverb. Then there is an SPX 900 for specific drum effects and a TC Helicon for effects on the lead vocal.

Inserts include an Avalon 737 valve compressor on lead vocals, Summit DCL200s across the bass and two other vocal channels, a Midas XL42 on vocals plus 10 channels of dbx 160 compression, 10 channels of Drawmer DS201 gates. There is also a KT DN370 across the main mix though most of the very small amount of EQ needed is done within d&b's Rope C software.

For monitors, Entec is supplying four pairs of their own APW wedges, with d&b products two Q7s, four Q-Subs for drum fill, two C4 tops and four C4 subs a side for side fills. The console is a Yamaha PM5D-RH with all the onboard processing and effects being utilised by engineer Beau Alexander, babysat by Entec's Guy Gillen. Lead singer Maynard Keenan uses a Shure PSM 700 IEM system, and Entec have supplied assorted mics for the tour.

Entec has been working with Tool throughout 2006. Head of sound Dick HayesSays: "Tool have very high needs when it comes to the required SPL factor. Having worked with many loud acts in my past, I was totally blown away on the Spring tour when I visited Hammersmith Apollo using the older C4/B2 system. I knew that we would need a big line array come the Winter arena tour so the launch of the J-Series couldn't have come at a better time for us. It has to be the loudest act I have heard but the mix is fantastic, nothing that takes your ears off in the mid-range, an awesome amount of sub, smooth mids and wonderful crisp top end! From the audiophile point of view Tool couldn't be a better act to have for fully demonstrating the efficiency of the J-Series sound system."

This leg of the tour runs until Christmas.

(Chris Henry)

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