New York (April 4, 2012)—Radiohead has been barnstorming across the U.S., playing arena shows with a full L-Acoustics K1/Kara/Kudo system supplied by Firehouse Productions of Red Hook, NY.
The North American portion of the tour, which kicked off at Miami's American Airlines Arena on February 27th, is divided into three legs, the last of which will wrap up at Toronto's Downsview Park on June 16th before heading overseas to Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
For most of the arena stops on the domestic tour, Firehouse is deploying left and right arrays comprised of 14 K1 line source elements with four Kara hung below for downfill. Coverage for the far left and right audience areas is addressed by outfill arrays featuring 10 K1 with six Kara flown beneath.
Sub arrays of eight K1-SB are flown adjacent to both of the primary K1 hangs, while 24 SB28 groundstacked in cardioid mode bolster the low-end reinforcement. Horizontal arrays of four Arcs on each side of the stage provide nearfill, as do six dV-Dosc spread out across the stage lip.
For larger venues, Firehouse deploys a delay system exclusively comprised of Kudo featuring left, center and right arrays of nine enclosures each flown in back of the FOH mix position. Amplification and processing for all loudspeakers is provided by LA8 amplified controllers housed in LA-Rak touring racks.
At the helm of the system each night is Radiohead's longtime FOH Mix Engineer Jim Warren, supported by System Designer/Engineer Sherif El Barbari and Firehouse System Tech Jamie Pollock.
According to Warren, "I have yet to find another system which combines the even coverage and the dynamic sensitivity of the L-Acoustics K1/Kara system. With the use of Kudo delays in the larger arenas on this run, we have been able to further improve on the coverage, especially into the rear corners of the room, and have been able to minimize the amount of energy directed at areas where it was not required with very pleasing results."
At Warren's request, the tour's mix position is also equipped with a pair of self-powered L-Acoustics 108P and single 115P low-frequency extension cabinet. This small system acts as a reference when working on the mix from Pro Tools during the day as well as serving as a monitor during the show. A third 108P at FOH acts as a shout system for communication with the monitor mix area.
"Radiohead's list of songs to choose from each night is very diverse," notes El Barbari, who designed the system. "When it comes to styles and facets, their music is extremely dynamic and ranges from very quiet to physically capturing, which requires a PA system that performs evenly throughout various SPL levels. K1 and the rest of the L-Acoustics range of cabinets are well known for performing neutrally at all levels without changing tonality or coloring the sound, which makes this system the perfect match for a band like Radiohead."
On the band's previous North American trek in 2008, Firehouse officially put K1 through the world's first high-profile tour run. According to El Barbari, who was extremely pleased with the results then, this year's outing is even better thanks to the addition of Kara, digital AES cards for the LA8s, and the use of the new LA Network Manager 2.0 software.
Following the North American leg, the tour turns to Liverpool-based Adlib Audio to provide a similar PA for the European and UK portion. Firehouse, however, will continue to supply the control for the full duration of the international tour.