Oxford, UK (May 16, 2016)—Songstress Leona Lewis recently finished a 14-date UK tour of the UK; along for the ride was FOH engineer Dave Wooster, who oversaw a SSL L500 console nightly, feeding his mix to a K-array Firenze series slim-array PA.
Wooster worked with roughly 65 inputs from the stage. “It’s a full-on set-up,” he says. “The drummer alone has two mics on the bass drum, three snares—each with at least two mics on, four toms, all the cymbals, electronic kick and snare—so he was up to about 20-odd channels on his own!”
Wooster noted he chose the L500 for its sound, adding, “The effect on Leona’s vocal was very noticeable in the system. I think the 96kHz operation makes a difference, but the pre-amps make a huge difference as well, and whatever it is SSL has done on the EQ is stunning. You really hear the HF.
That EQ comes into play due to her various singing styles: “With Leona, I have to deal with a massive dynamic range within every song. The mix has to be able to go right down to almost nothing and then build to everything. The way the SSL input section handles that is fantastic. Of course, it’s natural that when she whispers, I get a load of low end from the microphone that I don’t need, and when she’s screaming down it, there’s too much high end and not enough lows. I use a dynamic EQ from the internal FX rack to sort that out. The standard EQ helps calm down some resonances, though there were only two cuts with low and high pass filters that I needed to make with that. The channel compressor is the first layer of dynamics control, just to help take out any real big peaks.”
As well as the console, the tour rig included the K-array Firenze PA system with acoustic steering. Wooster is convinced that the combination of the two was unbeatable: “In the 33 years I’ve been doing this,” he says, “I’ve never mixed on a system this good.”
Solid State Logic