Re: Munich Germany 12-Sep-2017 Stones No Filter live show updates
Date: September 23, 2020 03:34
translated for us non german speaking dudes:
No Filter" was the name of the Rolling Stones' European tour – in reference to Dave Natale's setup at FOH, the motto can be taken almost literally: the 59-year-old, who has otherwise mixed Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac, Van Halen, Jeff Beck, Prince or Mötley Crüe, refrains from any approaches of effect-hating: he uses an analog board, no compression, no gates, no hallors, no hallors or delays , and he works without subs. Natale explains why the mix works in concert for this very reason – but only there. In addition, a look at the tour preparation, optimized reliability and the oversized Cuba gig in the previous year.
Dave Natale, who grew up in Pennsylvania, joined the touring company Clair Brothers in the late 1970s. Natale started as a foreman in the camp, later became a systems technician at Yes. In the early 1980s he was at the FOH desk with the follow-up band Asia. "Since then, I've mixed all the Asia tours," says the 59-year-old. "Since I was 25 years old, I've started mixing and never stopped." Over the decades he has mixed Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Jeff Beck, Mötley Crüe, Van Halen, Liza Minnelli and Lionel Richie.
Clair Brothers – now known as Clair Global in the Touring division – has remained loyal, even though he left the company in between to work with Van Halen, who was an audio analyst at the competitor Audio in 1987. "I became self-employed and did a few tours, but soon each of them came from Clair Brothers! At some point I asked Ronnie Clair if I was actually working for him again. In addition, I live six miles from their location [in Pennsylvania; Natale also lives in New York]." From the early 1990s to 2000, he was employed again, and now, as a self-employed person, he occasionally does their tours, including the Rolling Stones. Otherwise, he occasionally mixes individual events – his portfolio includes the Grammy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, VH1 shows or Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame events.
Natale seems extremely sympathetic and relaxed in the conversation, but his tone in the job is sometimes very direct, he admits. It's about the matter. Natale also interjeshess: "I do everything on tour when I have to - take care of the power, lay cables, microphone the stage – and I don't ask for anything from my crew that I'm not ready to do myself." He also occasionally works as a stagehand in New York. The only thing he does with age: "I don't climb 30 meters to the hall ceiling anymore. But I also take over my FOH setup completely myself." It is about control and one's own certainty that everything works as desired.
"I'm not making any changes to the PA system just because there's something new somewhere."
Dave Natale | FOH Rolling Stones
His first Stones production came in 2005, the "A Bigger Bang" tour. What has changed since then on the current "No Filter" European tour? "The PA system remains largely the same: everything we have works, and I'm not making any changes just because there's something new somewhere." The stage design has been changed, but: "The PA is always in the same position, relative to where the band is on stage. We know it works well and the band is familiar with the soundscape – I don't want to change anything that would bother them. As for the equipment: We used to have a choir at the beginning of 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'. For the channels I had a separate additional small console." He doesn't have that with him on the current tour anymore, otherwise his FOH setup would have remained exactly the same – more on that later. Personnel changes in the band are also in short supply, only the backing singer Lisa Fischer is not present since last year, she was replaced by Sasha Allen.
According to Natale, pre-production always proceeds the same and lasts about two weeks. This time they rehearsed in London. "The band is available all day. Maybe they take one or two days off, but otherwise they really work a lot, play three or four hours at a time. They rehearse a lot of songs and then put together the setlist." In the pre-production, only tape, monitor man and he are at work, Says Natale. Light and video would be prepared elsewhere. "After the pre-production we go to the city where the tour starts. Four or five days before the concert, we rehearse the entire schedule in the local location. The band sees the finished stage there, gets used to it. But as I said, the PA is in the same place, the monitoring is also."
A quick look back: In March 2016, the Rolling Stones played a free gig in Havana; a first, directly to Obama's opening policy. Depending on the count, up to 1.4 million viewers attended the gig. "There were virtually no similar show events in Cuba before, so production was a bit more difficult." An understatement: The biggest problem? "Everything! There are no local SOUND companies, nothing! We had to drag everything ourselves." Normally, they fork Clair PA speakers and power amplifier racks on site where possible, where it makes logistical sense. "This is one of the advantages of having some offices worldwide. In this case, we only take the consoles, racks, microphones, cables, wedges and their power amplifiers with us." In Cuba, the only thing they used locally was diesel for the electricity generators. In addition, a crane that builds the stage. Due to the lack of show experience in Cuba, they also needed longer preparation time, Natale explains. "We had a separate crew from Clair Global on site to build the PA before we arrived. Normally we have four delay towers – there were eight or ten, because of the huge crowd at the free concert. There were so many people there as they fit in. There were also a lot of people on all the surrounding building roofs that I could see. A pretty successful show," he laughs.
Stones gig in Havana in March 2006: "On site we only used diesel for our generators and a crane.
No Filter Tour
On the current tour, the band only played two shows a week because the band wanted to recover "because they want to do it – and because they can afford it!" Natale estimates the crew to be between 100 and 120 people, depending on the count, and a total of 25 semi-trailers are in use. The PA for the outdoor shows is only a few loudspeakers larger than those for indoor events, Natale says. "The frontfills are bigger outside, in addition to delays that we don't use inside." He himself comes to the Venue on Load-In-Day before the show, helps with unloading. "We check the PA with pink noise. On show day I arrive at ten o'clock, we EQen the PA, listen to the delays, do a line check, then the sound check with the band takes place."
"I don't want equipment that thinks independently, but a 'primitive' analog board that only does something when I move it."
Dave Natale | analog vs. digital consoles
Analog console as a "safety measure"
An analog Yamaha PM4000 console has been used as a desk for years, and if possible he does not use digital boards if he has the choice. This is not a fear of technology, but a "safety measure" to support the smooth running of production: "I have seen digital consoles fail too often. With an analog console, the sources of error are manageable: for example, the power supply – I have a replacement for this. If a channel is not working, the error is limited to the module and I can replace it. This is necessarily not possible with a digital desk. If that's what the console decides, 'I'm not working today,'you probably can't do anything about it! At this point, I don't want equipment that thinks independently, but an extremely 'primitive' analog board that only does something when I move it. The show is too big. I wouldn't want to go to the Rolling Stones and say, 'That's it for today, the desk isn't running!', that shouldn't happen." It also has a replacement console in its luggage. "During the tour rehearsals, I use the main console in the first week, then the replacement console for a week, so that all levels are properly adjusted there. If I have to change on tour, the result will be very close to the first desk."
FoH space with Yamaha PM4000 analog console, including racks with "standby effects"
Keyword sound: "The Rolling Stones are an 'analog' band, so the sound aesthetic fits. As far as I know, people's ears are still analogous. Everyone prefers the sound of the analog console, whether consciously or unconsciously, because sound is created analogously in nature." Would the idea of sound not be negligible with digital progress? "Of course, if you were to work with 192 or maybe even 384 kHz, the difference will be smaller – but why wait? I have the analog consoles available that work perfectly for that." Its Lake Contour crossovers naturally digitize the overall signal. "There are no analog alternatives as system crossovers." Nevertheless, it is better to have only one digital element in the signal chain than to digitize each single track from the outset.
Digital Lake Contour System crossover Dave Natale: "There are no analog alternatives." Nevertheless, it is better to have only one digital element in the signal chain.
Monitoring by Shon Hartman
The monitor setup of his colleague Shon Hartman also works with an analog console, a Midas H4000 with H3000 extender. In monitoring, a reverb and delay is in use on Mick Jagger's voice, "and a reverb for all other signals – but also no noise gates, no compression," Natale explains. The monitoring itself? "Only Mick uses in-ears, everyone else uses wedges." On stage are 100 of these stage monitors, all Clair Brothers models. "Most of Mick's vocals are in his in-ears, only a few parts on the wedges, which would otherwise make the vocal sound hollow." Only a few years ago, two people were responsible for the monitoring – for the "core band" with bassist Daryl Jones as well as for all additional musicians. Over the years, the monitor staff has changed, meanwhile Shon Hartman takes over all the musicians alone. Natale: "On the 'A Bigger Bang' tour we had four winds, now there are two. We used to have three background singers, one of whom still played acoustic and electric guitars, which required additional mixes and additional input."
Natale uses around 60 channels at the FOH console. The backline microphones are unspectacular: "Each Shure SM57 on the guitar amps. Keith plays a Fender Twin, Ronnie plays a Vibrolux – that's all!" The amps are on stage in two versions. In the vocals, it all uses SM58, as required as a wired or as a radio variant.
On the drums he recently replaced the stand-tom microphone, instead of an MD409 he uses a Telefunken M82. "During the rehearsals, I brought five or six microphones that have good bass reproduction for the stand-tom – then the drum tech sits on the drums and I hold every microphone to the drum." They listen to the result through the monitors, decide which sound works better. Nevertheless, there are reliable variables that they do not question. "The MD409 on the hanging tom sounds good and is not exchanged." An exception- otherwise, if possible, they use up-to-date microphones that they can recover at any time. Also "set": "On the bass drum, the Beyerdynamic M88 works for us. Everyone likes the sound – Charlie Watts, our drum tech, the monitor man and me.
But: All copies sound different. That's why we tried ten M88 specimens during the samples. In the snare, we use an SM57 at the top and bottom – in our experience, the model is very consistent, we don't select." At HiHat he uses a Neumann KM184. "We used to use the AKG models C414 ULS. However, they are no longer produced, which is why they are harder to find. Instead, I now use C314 large diaphragms." It's about reliability: "With an old, used microphone, you don't know what happened to it."
Bass drum microphone The bass drum of Charlie Watts is taken off with a Beyerdynamic M88. Dave Natale: "Every one of us likes the sound. But: All copies sound different. That's why we tried ten M88 specimens during the rehearsals."
Also on the topic of reliability: "Originally we had a Leslie for the Hammond B3 in the backline, now we use a small pedal as a simulation, the NEO Instruments fan. Someone suggested it - I didn't really want to try it. Then I heard it, and I thought the sound was great! Leslie usually always stands somewhere in the back, the microphones are triggered, they are never in the same position. The pedal is removed by DI, so it sounds exactly the same every day. The little thing is the only thing that has changed for me since 2005!" Last but not least – the Cowbell at the beginning of "Honky Tonk Women": "The keyboardist Chuck Leavell plays it right in front of his SM58 vocal microphone."
Guitar sound by Ron Wood
Ron Wood's Fender Vibrolux amp is equipped with three 10-inch chassis. "Everyone sounds different. We all listen to each other and come up with a denominator for the microphone, which speaker we prefer." In the end, the diminished result had to represent the amp impression. How does it counteract the problem that a single 10-inch chassis with its stressed high-center spectrum hardly conveys the sound of a "whole" amplifier – while a 12-inch speaker with stronger low-center playback rather compensates for the selective impression? "Well, I just rip the signal up really loudly," he laughs. "No, of course I understand,
what you mean: You only get a little bit of the overall sound, not the overall picture transported. For me and my mono mix, however, this is positive, on the one hand a 10-inch chassis is removed, on the other hand a 12-inch chassis with Keith Richards' guitar: they sound so different that it is easy for the listener to locate Keith and Ronnie at any time." It helps to increase the definition in the mono mix.
Acoustic location Natale: "Because Ronnie's amplifier has 10" and Keith's 12" chassis, the signals sound so different that the listeners can locate them in the mix at any time.
PA without subwoofer
"In addition, there are no subs in the PA. Looking at people listening to the TV sound in 5.1 Surround in their living room, I always say 'I'm in 1.0'! Mono, without sub." He doesn't need an "earthquake" impression for the Stones. "When we used S4 boxes, we had enough bass playback and currently with the i5 and i5B boxes I get enough low-end as well. I don't use subs on any of my tours. Even when I mixed Mötley Crüe – no subs! If I use enough EQ, the system will work for it." Other benefits of subwoofer renunciation? "There are fewer bass charges on stage. In many productions, the subs are stacked on the floor on the respective side of the stage. I'm sure a lot of the energy just goes back and forth."
His mix? Natale practically completely dispenses with effect processing of the signals: "No gates, no compressor, no limiter - nothing!" Neither in the board internally nor as an external effect, according to Natale, no reverb and delay use, not even on the voices. In his rack you will find a Bricasti M7, Lexicon PCM81 and PCM91 as well as dbx compressors/noise gates. However, they are only installed as an "emergency reserve", explains Natale: "The devices are switched on, but are not used." Away from the absence of dynamics processing in the mix, the system protection limiters of the system are naturally active. "They only speak occasionally, depending on how wild my level gets." Natale itself only performs EQ processing of individual tracks, for example with TC 1128 rack equalizers. The almost ascetic reduction seems unusual, especially in a large-scale production. However: "Any amount of EQ!" he laughs. "In addition, the mix is, as mentioned, completely mono. The spectator on the left outside finally pays the same price as the one in the middle or right outside. So you should hear exactly the same thing."
His basic idea is simply to make the band loud and convey it as it sounds, he stresses. "Everyone comes to hear and see the Rolling Stones – people don't come because of me because I present a crazy mix. I don't want the result to be reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Conversely, Pink Floyd would sound shy if they were forced into the Stones aesthetic. The man at the desk needs to understand who he works for and what the result should sound like – how the audience wants it to sound. People want rough rock'n'roll sound, so I deliver the sound – no polished result, it's not a record after all." In general, this is one of the big misconceptions to imitate the studio sound aesthetic: "That's the fundamental difference between sitting at home listening to a record or coming to a live show. This must sound different and extraordinary. When you come to the show, I think it's a brutal experience: everything is much louder, the band appears huge on the video screens," it's a "larger-than-life experience," he insists. "It's an exaggeration, and so I also muse when it comes to highlighting elements: I don't just turn up a solo a bit, but really strong – about five centimeters on the fader." (laughs) Normally, the vocals lead the audience through the song. "When the singing stops, another element has to fill the vacuum, so I grab what happens at the place in the arrangement instead and put it out loud to take the place of the vocal volume." It is about keeping the result interesting and keeping the energy constant. "It seems to me that a lot of people don't mix anymore. The compressor and the noise gates take over the mix."
Live in Munich 2017 Natale: "A live show has to sound different from a record – I'm exaggerating my mix accordingly, for example by exercising solos excessively."
Compression? Instead, he rides the faders excessively: the biggest problem in the mix? "With indoor shows, it is most difficult for me to make every note audible with the bass guitar without the bass becoming a problem overall." The vocal volume, on the other hand, is unproblematic. "I make the singing as loud as it can be. Everything else is set in such a way that it is not louder." Here, too, he does not use compression. On the one hand, the desk provides already well-sounding saturation, "on the other hand, I know the music very well and move the faders accordingly. I use them completely, so to speak – the faders of this console have certainly been replaced four or five times."
The Stones are a great help as good performers. "They've been playing live for about 55 years and they know what to do!" By the way, the band dispenses with fixed tempo in the form of a click track. The only exception: "Sympathy For The Devil plays a percussion recording that goes through the whole song. But again there is no click, Charlie listens to the percussion track through headphones and plays to it."
Adjustments for individual concerts? He doesn't change his EQ settings on the console, Natale says. "The console EQ is set to harmonize the individual channels relative to each other. I only change the total EQ on the PA, but little on the console."
Natale mixes with the force and transient behavior of the large system: "That's why I can never mix in the studio, over the small speakers – I find that ridiculous!" With large loudspeakers, it sounds impressive there, but wouldn't work on any smaller system. "If my live mix is to be used for a TV broadcast, I tell the TV people that it probably won't sound good. I listen to the music via the PA's 18-inch chassis, with lots of bass. That is, there won't be much bass on the console mix itself, because I get it from the speaker. I tell them that this is far from ideal – if they want to do it right, they need a recording truck. I warn them - if they still want to, okay. I think with a mixer that uses a lot of compressors, noise gates and effects, the PA mix would be better transferred to the TV – at least better than mine!" Does his as a can sound more like a rehearsal room recording? Natale weighs in. "No, no – my mix sounds terrible as a recording. For the band, I only play it over very large loudspeakers," he says with a laugh.
Equipment of the Rolling Stones "No Filter" tour:
Bassdrum: Beyerdynamic M88 Snare Top: Shure SM57
Snare Bottom: Shure SM57 Hanging Tom: Sennheiser MD409 Stand-Tom: Telefunken M82 HiHat: Neumann KM184
Ride: Neumann KM184
Overheads: 2 x AKG C314
Bass Amp: EV RE20
Guitar Amps (Main & Backup) Ron Wood: Shure SM57 Guitar Amps (Main & Backup) Keith Richards: Shure SM57 Guitar Amp Mick Jagger: Shure SM57
Harmonica: Shure SM57
Saxophone (Karl Denson, Tim Ries): 2 x Electro-Voice RE20
French Horn: Sennheiser MD421
Vocals (Mick Jagger): Shure SM58 RF
Vocals (Keith Richards, Chuck Leavell, Darryl Jones): 3 x Shure SM58 Vocals (Bernard Fowler, Sasha Allen, Guest Vocal): 3 x Shure SM58 RF Guest Guitar: Shure SM57
Conga: Shure SM57
Audience Mics: 6 x AKG C214
Audience Mics Near In Left/Right: 2 x AKG C214
Audience Mics Near Out Left/Right: 2 x AKG C214
DI signals (including keyboards, Hammond B3, bass): Radial J48, JDI Stereo
Monitoring by Shon Hartman
Midas H3000 Extender
24 X TC 1128 1 X TC MM24
4 x Yamaha SPX900 2 x Lexicon PCM 80 2 x Midas Power Supply
IEM/Wireless Microphone Rack
4 x Shure PSM1000-J8 IEM Transmitter
3 x Shure SBC800-US Chargers
2 x Clair Brothers 8 Input, Hi Power Antenna Combiner 2 x Shure AD4Q Axent 4-Channel Microphone Receiver
1 x Shure UA84-WB Antenna Splitter
2 x Midas Heritage Power Supplies
Midas Extender Power Supply Rack
Monitor Power Amplifier Racks
8 x Clair Brothers Four Mix Lab.groups 10000 Amp Racks
Side Fill Power Amplifier Racks
Clair Brothers Crown 3600
100 x Clair Brothers 12AM wedges 2 x Clair Brothers i5-B
6 x Clair Brothers R4
Rolling Stones FOH setup by Dave Natale
Console: Yamaha PM4000
Effect Rack (unused)
2 x Aphex 612 Noise Gates
1 x dbx 900 Rack with 8 x 903 compressors 1 x Lexicon PCM81
1 x Lexicon PCM91
1 x Bricasti M7
2 x RTS 424 Distribution Amp
2 x XTA GQ600 4 x TC 1128
1 X TC MM24
2 x Alesis 9600 Masterlink 4 x dbx 160 XT
3 x Lake LM26
19 x Lake Contour (11 x Main PA, 8 x Delay)
PA power amplifiers
24 x Clair Brothers Crown 3600 Racks
Delay power amplifiers
8 x Clair Brothers Crown 3600 Racks
Main PA (per page)
18 x Clair Brothers i5 18 x Clair Brothers i5B
Side PA (per page)
14 x Clair Brothers i5 14 x Clair Brothers i5B
Frontfill (per page)
2 x Clair Brothers i5
Delay Tower (four pieces available)
8 x Clair Brothers i5 (per tower)
pool's in but the patio ain't dry