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Old 10th April 2012, 02:51 PM   #71
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Finally a topic on here that isn't over my head, a rarity! I work in the business as a touring audio engineer and its very interesting hearing everyone's comments. First, you guys are spot on that the "wall of sound" was wildly ahead of its time. They really nailed it, and unfortunately the point-source boxes of the 80's and 90's were a huge step backward. It wasn't until the rise of present-day line array technology that fidelity really began to move forward.
Today, there are many great PA's out there, but of course always dependent on the implementation. The Meyer systems, L'Acoustics, and JBL Vertec are all very respectable, but for my money absolutely nothing comes close to d&b Audiotechnik. Whether PA or stage monitors, they make the best products in the world today, and 2nd place doesn't even come close. But I have to say again, that even the best PA can be absolutely ruined by a system tech who doesn't shoot the room (calibrating the array for room layout) and time align properly. These are not easy tasks and a good system engineer is sometimes harder to find than a good mix engineer. One factor that helps set d&b apart is that they are always used with d&b amps, making crossover settings etc kind of a no-brainer. One still has to calculate the hang, but they are a bit more idiot-proof than say JBL Vertec which can be implemented with nearly any amp or crossover that a company chooses to use. We touring engineers have often experienced the sensation of walking in and seeing Vertec and thinking "great!" until you find out its being powered by QSC amps 4 boxes to a zone with some idiot's home-brewed crossover settings!


One other note, very very few bands actually own a PA, its not really cost effective. Most of us maintain relationships with vendors and take(rent) a PA on the road on a tour-by-tour basis. Other tours are "racks and stacks" meaning the PA and amps are provided locally while the band brings "control" meaning mixing desks, etc. And of course some bands just go for it with whatever the house owns. The band that I work for has a relationship with 8th Day Sound for example and on some tours we bring PA, other times we take only control, and last week in Japan we took nothing but mics and cables! It all depends on budget and logistics, and only the truly mega acts can have it all, all the time.My point is that, its not really enough to say "what band has the best PA", it doesn't work like it did with the Dead anymore. Today the more relevant question would be "what band has the best engineer" or "what band has the most consistent good sound"?
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Old 12th April 2012, 10:51 PM   #72
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Roger Waters..The Wall 2010..Made the Honda Center sound like the Hollywood Bowl
30th Anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon 2006..Made the Hollywood Bowl sound like a recording studio
Roger Waters..In the Flesh Tour 2000. Irvine Meadows Ampitheater. (Shed)
Pink Floyd..Animals 1977...Made Anaheim Stadium sound like an acoustically balanced shed.
All 4 shows were quad systems

Dave Matthews Band. DMB ALWAYS sounds incredible!
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