Acclaimed mix engineer and producer, Doc Wiley, began the live production with one Bose L1® Model II portable line array system in the theater, added a second and then combined those with two Bose F1 systems to create an incredibly intimate live music experience
Framingham, MA – Live from the Divide (LFTD) is a “A Celebration of the American Songwriter” — 60 minutes of some of the finest songwriters today performing in a 50-seat venue and recording facility in Bozeman, Montana. The show is broadcast on several regional public radio stations and distributed by the Public Radio Exchange (PRX), but its influence has been felt much further afield, with over 275 shows in its four years of existence. The small space that acts as the show’s live venue, a renovated icehouse from the turn of the century when Bozeman was still a frontier town, has been transformed by technology from Bose Professional.
Live from the Divide co-founder Doc Wiley, who has been acclaimed for his work as a mix engineer and producer for such artists as U2, Prince, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston, used one Bose L1 Model II portable line array system when LFTD did its first shows. As leading roots music acts, including Steve Earle, Dale Watson, Adia Victoria, Band of Heathens, Paul Thorn and The Honeycutters, made their way to Bozeman to be part of what was quickly growing into an institution dedicated to the art of the song and its performance, the Bose L1 system left a lasting impression. “One of the things I tell the artists, at times when it’s their first time working with Bose, is that it’s going to be a little unusual, because the sound is coming from behind them,” he explains. “Unlike a conventional PA setup, the artist is hearing the same mix as the audience with the L1 system, which, in my experience, almost always results in a stronger performance.”
Wiley and his partner in the venue, Jason Wickens, supported by assistant engineer R.J. Hatton, soon added a second L1 system to create a true stereo system. Most recently, they installed a pair of Bose F1 Model 812 Flexible Array loudspeakers and F1 subwoofers. F1 systems are revolutionary, in that they offer the ability to configure the array into four unique shapes, letting installers focus sound to target listening areas – thereby offering exceptional power and clarity for a wide range of applications and venues. Wiley chose to fly these systems from the rafters at the rear of the performance space. He then sends the vocals and effects though the F1 system, and the instruments through the L1 systems, creating an immersive mix that puts the concert-goers in the middle of the music while also putting the performers there with them.
“It’s a pretty incredible experience,” says Wiley, who mixes the shows on an iPad seated among the audience and records them directly to Pro Tools from the Bose systems through high-end mic preamps. “It’s both front-of-house and monitor coverage from a single source. It’s like there wasn’t a stage at all — you’re in the room with these amazing musicians.”
The musicians agree. Singer Sunny Sweeney even called out the room and the sound system from the stage (listen at 43:13) during her performance. “This is the coolest little room,” she tells them. “I’ve never… not had a monitor at a gig. I don’t need one because of this room!” This unusual configuration of sound systems is “a new, innovative way of creating a radio show,” says Wiley. “And the Bose systems are a big part of that.”
Photo Caption 1: Band of Heathens gets soundchecked by Doc Wiley (foreground) for a taping of Live from the Divide. Pictured are two L1® Model II portable line array systems behind the band. Photo by Jason Wickens.