Global pop phenomenon, Robbie Williams toured his mammoth Heavy Entertainment Show World Tour around the country with JPJ Audio once again supporting audio needs.
JPJ Audio supplied an L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA and amplifiers for the tour as well as PA’s for the A Day On The Green shows.
“We have fourteen L-Acoustics K1 with four K2 downs on the main hangs with the same number on the side hangs,” commented Josh Lloyd, system tech for the tour. “We also have twelve K2 to cover anywhere up to 240° upstage as well as flown K1 SBs subs in the air, twelve aside. There’s a ribbon of sixteen SB28’s underneath the stage as an arc. Then there’s an end fire array, left and right, of six SB28’s plus an assortment of Kara and Arc2’s as fill boxes.”
The whole system is run on the new LA12X amplifiers which Josh says have made an improvement in how the system sounds, as well as providing the incredibly helpful Load Checker feature that measures the attached loudspeakers to help make sure that everything is working correctly.
“With the LA12X we use the load check function which verifies the cabinets and checks the drivers are intact,” he added. “In terms of aligning and tuning the system, I use Smaart with a wireless control so I can walk the arena. We do all the control inside LA Manager, although we have Lakes we don’t use them for that but for transmitting the audio over the network with Dante as an audio over IP.”
FOH engineer Simon Hodge isn’t fazed dealing with Robbie spending much of his time out front of the PA.
“We have a great PA which makes it about as good as it can be in terms of gain before feedback,” he said. “We’re very happy with the system and the way it is lined up makes a big difference. Also, we did a shootout between lots of vocal mics and we recorded the results of him singing with them. The Sennheiser Diigital 6000 system with the MD9235-J capsule gave the greatest rejection of background noise and therefore feedback.”
The continuing reduction in RF spectrum also prompted a look at Sennheiser’s new Digital 6000 system which has helped the show as it has so much RF. According to Josh, the vocal sounds a lot more open and natural and the bleed from other sources down the mics is far cleaner and less problematic.
Simon runs a DiGiCo SD7 and with so many people onstage, he uses a lot of channels saying the show is not exactly automated although he does a fair amount of clever stuff running things to time code to make his life easier.
“The show is still mostly mixed manually but we still spit out timecode which goes on to lighting and other departments,” he added. “We also multitrack everything at FOH so in rehearsals we can playback multi tracks that then goes off to other departments so they can rehearse without the band but still do all of the show cues.”
Out front Simon also had four Bricasti M7’s with a controller which Simon describes as lovely and again it’s all automated in with the timecode cues. He also has a Transient Designer on the drum skins and an old fashioned Klark Tecnik Gate on the kicks and snares.
“I find that the Gate in any digital console is not quite up to the standard of an analogue one,” said Simon.
After many years working with Robbie, Simon knows his voice extremely well and knows how it changes through the evening. As a result, there are quite a few tweaks that he does to his voice through the show.
“It’s got to the point now that I can feel when he’s about to adlib and anticipate him,” said Simon.
Everyone onstage, including the dancers, use Sennheiser 2050 wireless IEMs with monitor engineer Pete McGlynn also on an SD7.
“We’re gain sharing significantly which a lot of people don’t do but we know each other well enough to trust each other on the gains,” explained Simon. “So we’re acting as though we are one console so we’re connected together by fibre but there’s only one set of inputs.”
Both SD7s use Gain Tracking and are on an optical loop, with two SD-Racks handling all the inputs from stage, an SD-Mini Rack handles all the Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless microphones, which are fed in via AES/EBU, and a second SD-Mini Rack handles inserts and PA outputs at front of house. The optical loop is used not only to gain share, but to distribute comms and the comprehensive talkback system between front of house and the stage.
“Around 96 inputs come from the stage, plus a large amount of inputs for band talkback and comms, which allow the band to communicate with the techs and Pete at monitors,” said Josh. “On top of this, we have triggers on the drums just to key the Gates on the console. Before you know it, the racks are all full.”
For outputs, there are 24 channels of Sennheiser 2050 wireless in ear monitors, an Aviom personal mixing system for the drummer, a couple of hard wired mixes, various tech mixes and routing, which mean the monitor desk is also fully loaded.
JPJ provided the following crew for the two A Day On The Green shows headlined by Robbie: Conor Dunne, Lachlan Cresswell, Jesse Mahoney, Kane Phillips, and Stacey Handley. In Sydney Bianca Martin looked after delays.