Rod Stewart played a residency at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas earlier this year, his longtime FOH engineer, Lars Brogaard, started using BAE preamplifiers. Photo: Todd Kaplan / AtlasIcons.com
Las Vegas, NV—Rod Stewart is perpetually on the move; this summer alone, the man played a three-week residency at Caesars Palace, a Faces reunion benefit show, and a small gig in London's Hyde Park for 55,000 fans. Wherever he plays, however, his sizable backing band—and his FOH engineer of 30 years, Lars Brogaard—are right behind him.
Many engineers who spend decades with a certain artist stick with tried and true gear, but Brogaard has no problem with experimenting. Take DiGiCo desks, for instance—he mixes on an SD7, but he’s been using them since before the D5 debuted, having hit the road with the original Soundtracks DS3 that he and Taidus Vallandi developed into the D5.
More recently, during the Ceasars Palace stint, Brogaard tried out BAE Audio 312 preamplifiers on the drums at the recommendation of Stewart's bass player Conrad Korsch. "The acoustics at The Colosseum are exceptional to begin with," he recalls. "But when we tried the BAE Audio 312s on the drum kit, we were able to hear a massive increase in both depth and tone. We could hear much more detail in the natural sound of the wood coming off of the drums—the difference was truly amazing."
Next experiment: integrating a BAE 1073MPF preamplifier into Stewart’s vocal chain, bypassing the preamplifiers in the FOH mixing console. It was a choice not made lightly. “Even though his public image often entails girls, fast cars and soccer, Rod is really very musical and knows exactly what he wants to hear,” said Brogaard. “It is all about the depth, and the unit was able to capture the depth in Rod's voice with a certain natural sheen that I hadn't heard before. Everyone on the tech team thought there was a noticeable difference and that it sounded exceptional.”
At this point, Brogaard’s now using using eight channels of BAE Audio 312s on the drums, a 1073DMP on the bass and a 1073MPF on Stewart's vocals. He keeps the preamps nearby the monitoring console to minimize copper cable runs, thus avoiding potential signal degradation. The new preamplifier rig—which consists of an eight-space 3U 500 series rack unit, a 1U 1073MPF and a 1073DMP—is being used for all of Stewarts performances.