Blue Rodeo Tapes Show

CANADA - While recording live through the monitor or house console is fairly common on international tours, many regional touring companies can be forced to weave a complicated network of splitters and patches in a distracting, time-consuming, often unsatisfactory effort to satisfy such demands.

When Blue Rodeo, one of Canada's top country/rock bands, decided to record a live album, Dave Cousins, owner of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada-based Sound Art remembered seeing a solution at the AES show last Fall in New York City.

"We looked at dozens of consoles at AES, but the one that best fit this need was the Midas XL250," says Cousins. "The console has direct outputs on each channel that are switchable pre fader and pre EQ. This allows the monitor engineer to concentrate on mixing monitors without any distractions from the recording. For the Blue Rodeo tour, we sent 40 channels pre fade and EQ via the direct outputs to 40 tracks of TASCAM DA88 and DA38." With the ability to do 20 different mixes, the XL250 routed tracks to the recorder, provided eight wedge mixes, stereo sidefill, and stereo in-ear mixes simultaneously.

For ease and speed of setup, Sound Art devised a unique cabling package, designed by operations manager Korey Sherwin. Because of the time-saving cabling system, setup of the full rig took only an hour-and-a-half with just one system technician.

"In designing the sound reinforcement system for Blue Rodeo," Cousins explained, "we had a number of potential situations that we wanted to have covered. One being that the band was playing in a number of different venue sizes, from 700 to 7,000 seats. I wanted the rig to be as versatile as possible, while being easy to set up and easy to tweak."

The rig included eight Electro-Voice DeltaMax DMS-2122 cabinets, eight DMS-1183 medium-throw cabinets, 12 DMS-2181 subs and some DMS-1152 cabinets for fill. Power amplifiers were QSC PowerLight 1.8s with Electro-Voice Dx34 loudspeaker processors. A Midas XL3 console was used for front-of-house, and four Klark Teknik DN3600 EQs were controlled remotely by a DN3698 wireless remote with WS01 RF link. This gave system technician Dan Frerichs four zones of unlimited EQ and level control via wireless remote, which he could use to fine-tune the balconies or upper arena levels.

Front-of-house engineer Rich Steeb noted, "Blue Rodeo has a very wide appeal. You'll see 14-year-olds and 60-year-olds at the same show. I'm very conscious of what's going on in the audience&endash; so, if it's an older, sophisticated theater audience, I'll mix appropriately. If it's a screaming, drinking, younger crowd, I'll nail 'em."