SSE Hire and US-based Sound Image have co-supplied the 2018 Imagine Dragons European Tour, the latest venture for the United Audio Companies collaboration.
Following on from the release of their third studio album Evolve in 2017, US band Imagine Dragons kicked off an extensive world tour, with the North American leg in Autumn 2017. At the turn of the year, the tour reached South East Asia, before arriving in Europe at the start of February.
The band are established clients of California audio company Sound Image. In 2015 SSE Audio and Sound Image set up a working partnership dubbed United Audio Companies, designed to enable both firms to improve the international support they can offer to their clients on both sides of the Atlantic.
For the European leg of the tour SSE Hire supplied the control and monitors package, while Sound Image shipped an Adamson E-Series line array package across the Atlantic.
Cameron Whalley from Sound Image was System Tech for the tour: “Adamson was the system of choice for FOH engineer Scott Eisenberg, so it made sense to ship over the Sound Image system to maintain continuity throughout the tour.”
Scott Eisenberg added, “There’s little to choose between the top line array systems, so much of it is down to personal choice. I like the Adamson system for its long throw capabilities - we’ve not had to use any delays, even for Manchester, which is the biggest UK arena we're in. It’s got a great mid range punch and that carries right to the back of the venue.”
For the tour the Adamson system had main L-R hangs of eighteen Adamson E15s with side hangs comprising nine E15s with six E12 underhangs. Twelve Adamson E219 Subs were flown behind each main hang and a further six per side were ground stacked left and right. Two rear hangs of twelve S10 provided the coverage for the outer extremes of the arena. All amplification was Lab Grruppen PLM20000Q.
The Adamson system, along with the Lab Gruppen amplifiers, was shipped direct to SSE Audio Group’s Redditch HQ, where the amplifiers were repackaged into SSE’s touring racks.
“Our racks are all set up for 110V whereas Europe is all 240V." explained Cameron Whalley. "The amplifiers are all auto ranging so it made sense to use SSE racks complete with their Power Distros. We were able to use local power direct rather than via a step down power transformer - not having to carry a 500kg transformer rack makes everyone’s job easier.”
Solid State Logic L500
As part of the control package, SSE Hire supplied an SSL L500 digital console for Scott Eisenburg at Front of House. “The Evolve tour is the first time I’ve used the SSL. I was using an AVID Profile previously. Imagine Dragons took 12 months off in 2016 and I was able to use that time to look at the options. I like to use on board processing and Imagine Dragons has a channel count of over 70. That requires a lot of DSP but the L500 copes with it no problem.”
“I’m based in New York, so I dropped by the SSL offices there whenever I had the chance and over a period of time put my show file together. The change has gone smoothly and I’m really pleased with the results.”
For monitor duties, Jared Swetnam opted for an Avid VENUE S6L. The band members all used In Ear Monitors, greatly reducing the amount of onstage sound and simplifying the four numbers that took place on a B-Stage at Front of House.
Speaking about the UAC partnership, Cameron Whalley explained, “The European leg is a great example of how the SSE/Sound Image UAC partnership works. We look at what the client wants and tailor the solution around that. In this case Sound Image has brought the PA and SSE has supplied the control package. For the next tour it may well be the complete opposite, or we could opt to use a complete SSE package with Sound Image crew. It really is that flexible - and of course there’s a corresponding arrangement for SSE clients when they are in North America. Tori Amos’s US tour at the end of 2017 being a good example.”
The first phase of the Imagine Dragons European tour finished in Glasgow on 4th March. From there the band head off for South America before returning in early April for further dates across Europe.
Scott Eisenberg – FOH Engineer
Jared Swetnam – Monitor Engineer
Cameron Whaley – Systems Engineer (Sound Image)
Brendan Hines – Crew Chief (Sound Image)
Sam Rogerson – Monitor Tech (SSE)