Richard Ashcroft

In Summer 2016 Skan was invited to supply a control package for Richard Ashcroft festival dates, this gave Skan the opportunity to once again work with acclaimed engineers Eds John (Front of House) and Matt Napier (Monitors).  Due to the varied nature of the shows and budget restraints Napier chose to use a Midas Pro 2 based system, with d&b audiotechnic wedges and L Acoustics Arc side fills. Where possible Skan provided Eds with an Avid Profile.

Richard Ashcroft’s year culminated with two shows in the Liverpool Echo and London O2 Arenas. Making these shows that much more exciting was the teaming up with The Heritage Orchestra to bring the orchestral arrangments of Ashcroft’s hits to life.

For front of house Eds specified an Avid S6L which gave Skan the incentive to add a couple of systems to our inventory.   The E6L engine and HDX dsp provide a massive leap forward in audio quality and connectivity. As well as Stage 64 connected via HMA expanded beam fibre optics, the E6L Engine and S6L-32D control surface were also enabled for fibre connectivity.  With a single cat 6 connection a MacPro was linked to the S6L for 128ch 96khz Protools recording and playback. For redundancy, we supplied a Reaper based system that was fed from the MADI split on the Stage 64. The MacPro also acted as a host machine for Waves Multirack Server. The audio for Waves was inserted on the console via an digigrid MGB and Madi 192 card.

The PA of choice was d&b J, Y and B Series driven by d80. The flown system consisted of j8/j12 main and side hangs, with the addition of flown J subs.  Making their debut for Skan was a pit sub array of 18 b22 subwoofers deploy in pods of 3 on custom 3 wide dollies. Also, y10p were deployed as front fills.  The audio and control for the pa system was distributed by fibre optic enable Dante network using Teqsas Cyberteq mainframes complete with AES output modules.

Traveling with the Heritage Orchestra, engineers Tom Gelissen (FOH) and Ron Peeters (Monitors) took care of the orchestra mix, whilst also providing a myMix artist mixing system for the orchestra. The Consoles of choice for Gelissen and Peeters were Digico SD5’s at each end of the multi. The SD5’s were on a HMA Optocore loop, sharing 2 SD racks, all running at 96KHZ. One rack took a split from Ashcroft’s analogue band stage box, the second rack dealt with inputs from the orchestra. Amplifying an orchestra in a situation like this comes with several challenges. First of all, the orchestra needs to fit in the “100dba plus” band mix out front. But even more of a challenge is the side effect of the large amount of condenser microphones on stage, which all work as an ambient signal for the drums, as well as other loud signals on stage. Besides that, the band plays only on wedges for monitoring and you want to give them a significant level of the orchestra on stage as well as a clean mix on the in-ear system of the orchestra. With all this in mind, Gelissen chose for a combination of microphones, custom made mounts and piezoelectric pick-ups. The mics of choice where DPA4099 and DPA4061 whilst piezo pick-ups where from Schertler. Besides that, a few overhead mic’s, Neumann KM184 were placed in the orchestra for the more orchestral moments. Peeters used the Madi outs of the SD5 to drive an AVB based myMix system back to the orchestra. With a complex network, he gave each member of the orchestra control over his or her personal mix., based on pre-mix stems from the monitor desk.

At the complete other end of the spectrum Matt Napier’s choice for monitors on these shows was a Midas XL4.  Napier’s outboard was a selection of classic go to dynamics and FX. For the band Drawmer ds201, Dbx 160a, Summit TLA-100, XTA GQ600 and Yamaha SPX 990.  To combine the orchestra into the bands mixes BSS DPR 402’s were used to compress stems provided by Ron the Heritage Orchestras monitor engineer.  Also, Napier added a TC Electronic system 6000 for extra reverbs. On stage Napier utilized d&b M4 (Passively Amplified), q Sub and L-acoustics Arc/ SB28 side fills.

The Skan crew on the arena shows were Liam Tucker (Crew Chief and Monitor Minder), Tom Tunney (Array Expert and Front of house Minder), Rob Wilkins and Joss Walker were both PA wingmen also.

For Future shows in 2017 see – http://richardashcroft.com