(L to R) Brent Rawlings (FOH); Mark Brnich
(PA tech, Eighth Day Sound); Saul Skoutarides
(monitors); Adam Smith (monitor tech); Josh
Lloyd (FOH tech, Britannia Row Productions)
with the Midas XL8.New York (February 9, 2011)–Kings Of Leon have been touring since summer in support of its new album, Come Around Sundown, with Midas XL8 live performance systems at FOH and monitors.
The Midas systems have been supplied by Eighth Day Sound in North America, and Britannia Row Productions in the U.K. and Europe. “We decided to go with the XL8 because it offers everything you could ask for in a console,” says Saul Skoutarides, a UK-based Australian engineer who has been mixing monitors for Kings Of Leon since mid-2009 “Most importantly, it gives us the sound we need, both out front and on stage. It’s the best sounding console I’ve ever used.”
It’s FOH engineer Brent Rawlings’ first tour with a digital desk; his previous console of choice was the Midas XL4. It was the automatic latency control of Midas Digital that convinced him to switch. “Sonically, the XL8 is easily the equal to the XL4, and that’s saying a lot. And of course, it can do so many things to make my job easier,” he says. “I love being able to delay individual channels to one another, which is amazing. I feel like I’ve discovered a new knob after having mixed for 15 years.”
In monitor world, Skoutarides is handling a mix of wedges, fills and IEMs. Lead singer Caleb Followill uses one IEM earpiece with floor wedge monitors while cousin Matt (lead guitar) and brother Jared (bass) use wedges only. Drummer Nathan Followill uses a hardwired IEM system augmented by a subwoofer for monitoring. In addition, several members of the tech crew (and Skoutarides himself) get wireless personal monitor feeds. All told, the monitor system for Kings of Leon requires nine stereo in-ear feeds, five wedge mixes and two subwoofer outputs.
“Most of the mixes are fairly stable,” reports Skoutarides. “I do make adjustments for everyone throughout the show, based on specific cues and songs. The nice thing about the XL8 is that I can gradually automate these as I get more comfortable with both the show and the console.”
Rawlings mixes Kings Of Leon primarily via his VCAs, putting everything else into POP Groups for easy access. He automates his mutes, effects and some panning throughout the show, and uses Area B on the console’s right-hand side to keep his outboard compressors handy, routing them through the system’s DL451 I/O box. “These are master quality compressors that sound great and are very smooth,” he states. “I like the fact that my FX stay put and are always on top. But maybe the best thing about Area B is that the system tech can do anything he needs without affecting anything I’m doing.”
Both engineers use Midas’ snapshot automation to ease their respective workflows, using scene changes to call up his optimized setting for each song. “At the moment, I mainly automate mutes and use the scene memory for notes and cues,” relates Skoutarides. “I also save the show file for every venue so that when we return, I’ll be at a good starting point, even if the show has evolved. Over time, that will give me a preset library for EQs and other settings.” Skoutarides also uses Area B, essentially dedicating to a few key channels he needs constant access to throughout the show.
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