Leeds, UK (July 11, 2006)–The Who Live At Leeds is one of those rare concert albums that is considered to be just as vital to a fan’s collection as a studio recording. Taped 36 years ago, it captured a time and place in the band’s evolution; now, all this time later, the Who recently returned to play the same venue–the Leeds University refectory–to kick off its latest, year-long world tour. Squeezing into the venue with the band was a d&b audiotechnik Q-Series system to bring the rock to the rollers in the crowd.
The Who let loose at Leeds University beneath a d&b audiotechnik Q-Series PA.Paul Ramsay was in the position of mixing for The Who thanks to a recommendation from Dick Hayes at Entec Sound and Light, Entec being the audio contractor for the short first leg before the band moved into festival mode for the summer. While the band hadn’t played the venue since back in the day, Ramsay had been to the refectory several times so he was fully conversant with its aural shortcomings.
“For the Leeds Uni, I just did a bit of EQ to the system; the room can be a bit boomy, but in actual fact, once the audience were in, it was less of a problem.” Ramsay explained. “It’s not a nice sounding room generally, but being able to fly the PA, and I believe this was the first time it’s ever been done in there, helped a lot. It was only because of the willingness of Tom Kenny and the PRG lighting crew, and the fact that the d&b audiotechnik Q-Series system is so small and light, that we were able to do it.”
Ramsay had six Q1s dead hung from each end of the front truss, trimmed tight to the refectory ceiling. “I just had to add a couple of Q1s on top of the B2 subwoofers on the floor below,” he said. “I ended up not needing the Q-SUBs at all, except for the delay PA system in the bar area immediately behind the mix position.” The bar area is virtually a separate room at the opposite end from the refectory stage; there, Ramsay deployed a ground stacked Q-Series system, five high SUBs in cardioid mode, as were the B2s at the stage end, with Q1s above.
The engineer was actually new to the PA, mentioning, “I’m very much a fan of d&b; I’ve used the C4 system a lot–the Q not so much, but for the few shows I have done with it, here and elsewhere, I have been really impressed with what I’ve heard. Here it was great for sightlines and its low weight; and it does sound very good. I was amazed at what I saw in terms of SPLs. I also have used d&b’s new J-Series system; I was booked to do the Hedgestock event at Knebworth with it as my first show for The Who.”
Ramsay’s misgivings regarding the refectory room acoustic were ameliorated by the effect of the large crowd. The high temperatures of a balmy June night and high humidity the audience produced enhancing sound transmission generally, and soaking up any inherent low-end boominess. When it all finally climaxed–with a howling rendition of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’–members of Oasis and Kaiser Chiefs, and an audience of 2,100 turned open mouthed in amazement and headed for the doors.
Entec Sound & Light