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Home » /livesound » /livesound/tours » All Access: Radiohead

All Access: Radiohead
Nov 1, 2003 12:00 PM, By Heather Johnson
Electro-rock quintet
Radiohead kicked off the
U.S. leg of their tour this
summer in support of
their latest album, Hail to
the Thief, and
subsequently sold out
nearly every amphitheater
and arena on their
itinerary. A mesmerizing
light and video display provided a futuristic backdrop as the British
band sailed through nearly 25 songs from their six-album catalog,
barely taking a breath in between. While Radiohead and opening act
Supergrass prepared for their Mountain View, Calif., date at Shoreline
Amphitheatre, Mix talked with their core live sound team about one of
the hottest tours of the year. New York's Firehouse Productions
supplied consoles, the monitoring system, microphones and
processing for this tour, while L.A.-based AudioTek provided the P.A.
and amplification.
Front of house engineer Jim Warren mixed Radiohead's ever-evolving
postmodern rock on a Soundcraft Series Five console and used a
Soundcraft Spirit 324 submixer for effects returns. Warren says that
the digital Spirit 324 works well with the MIDI aspects of the 56-
channel analog desk. Radiohead's longtime engineer uses minimal
outboard gear, keeping a TC Electronic M1 and M1XL nearby for vocal
effects, an SDE3000 for occasional delay and a Vocoder for additional
vocal manipulations. He runs bass guitar through a Tech21 SansAmp,
and uses the Line 6 POD Pro for vocal distortion.
Warren miked all vocals with Shure Beta 87As, and used Shure
MC50Bs for acoustic piano and Glockenspeil, Audio-Technica mics
for guitar, Sennheiser 504s and a Shure Beta 98 on the drums, and an
Audix OM3 for guitarist Jonny Greenwood's amp.
System designer and P.A. guru
Florent Bernard chose an
L'Acoustics V-DOSC P.A. system
with a total of 40 V-DOSC
cabinets, six dV-DOSC cabinets
and 12 ARC loudspeakers. The
system also includes 12
AudioTek CSW-218 subs a side:
eight flown and four on the floor. “If you fly the subs, you won't blast
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2/24/12 12:58 PM Mixing Radiohead Live-On Tour with Radiohead
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the people in the front row with a lot of low end,” Bernard says. QSC
4.0 and 9.0 power amps, a QSC controller and XTA DP-226
processors round out the package, controlled with the aid of a
rackmounted PC and a wireless tablet PC.
Monitor engineer Graham Lees manned an expanded 56-input Midas
Heritage 3000 for seemingly obvious reasons. “It's an analog desk,
and they're an analog band,” Lees says simply. The band uses three
additional fixed keyboard positions, which Lees cues into place at
different times, “another reason for using an analog board,” he adds.
Lead vocalist Thom Yorke, drummer Phil Selway and guitarist Ed O'Brien use Firehouse 6500 custom-mold in-ear
monitors, with Shure PSM700 Series beltpacks. “But they use wedges at the same time,” Lees says. “They actually
use the in-ears for what they don't want to hear.” The Greenwood brothers rely solely on Firehouse's custom
FP12 and FP15 wedges at a low volume. “It's pure quality rather than quantity,” Lees says.
Lees' outboard rack includes BSS compressors, XTA D2s for vocal EQ and a Lexicon PCM 70 reverb. Monitor
coordinator Clive Goodwin monitors amplifiers and crossovers on a laptop equipped with Audio Core software,
and also operates a custom-designed, computer-driven radio frequency-scanning system.
Regarding working with such a versatile band as Radiohead, Bernard says simply, “Every day's different.” And with
a dry wit, Warren adds, “Yet every day's the same.”
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