Tristan Mallett (left) and Chris WibberleyNew York (January 12, 2012)—Rock legend Ray Davies has been on the road a lot recently in the U.S. and U.K., playing gigs while surrounded onstage by Nexo’s new 45 N-12 line stage monitors.
Chris Wibberley, monitor engineer for Davies for 11 years, had a chance encounter with Nexo’s new N-12 wedges at last year’s PLASA exhibition which led to a demo, which in turn led to use of the monitors at the Meltdown (UK) shows at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
“We set up a pair of N-12s to the left and right of Ray,” explains Wibberley. “Of the pair to his left, the outside one is on its own mix, giving a discrete mix to guitarist Bill Shandley, with the remaining three delivering Ray’s mix. When Bill isn’t at the front, I can just mute the mic inputs that go into his mix and use all four wedges to give complete coverage to Ray. The N-12s are so phase coherent that I can flick between the two modes. Because of the way the units couple, the N-12s act as a single source. If Ray, by himself, wants more of anything, I can put it into Bill’s wedge. Or I can put it into acoustic mode, turning down Ray’s bits and turning up the Bill bits – any of Ray’s bits that Bill wants to hear will be completely in sync with Ray’s wedges. They sound absolutely fantastic!”
Wibberley is using two NXAMPs to drive the 45 N-12s. “The problem with a lot of wedges is that they can sound too clean and hi-fi. But these have a bark to them. They’re still rock ‘n’ roll but they sound like a wedge doing what it is supposed to do. There are parts of the show where Ray goes off mic and off-axis with his guitar to watch the band. The definite dispersion of the N-12 allows him to step in and out of focus, so when he physically walks out of the zone, I don’t have to turn it down.”
Front-of-house engineer, Tristan Mallett, guitarist Bill Shandley, and Davies himself, supports Wibberley’s enthusiasm for the N-12s. “This is the best box that I’ve used on stage, and Ray may agree with that. He certainly got used to them pretty quickly, and he seems very happy – which is unusual!”