19 October 2011
The Kooks’ front of house engineer Russ Tite has chosen a Midas PRO6 live audio system from SSE Audio for the band’s European tour.
Tite’s reacquaintance with Midas analogue during this summer’s festival season was the reason he chose the PRO6 for this tour. “I’d been using another brand of digital desk, but this summer I was rocking up to festivals and using an H3000 or XL4, and found I loved it again, it sounded like a console should,” he says. “We were almost going to take an XL4, but you can’t really fit one on a tour like this, so I decided to try the PRO6, and it sounds incredible.”
Having learned his trade as a PA tech working on Midas Heritages, Tite found that operating the PRO6 came naturally. “Once I’d got used to how the POPulation and VCA groups worked, I’ve been finding it a much quicker way of working,” he says. “Now I don’t use the right hand side of the desk at all, as everything I need pops up right in front of me.
“I’ve set up VCA groups for things like kick and snare drums, toms, bass, guitars etc, then I’ve set the POP groups up so there’s a show start, with everything needed to open the show: playback, intro channels, vocals etc. The guys do a separate acoustic section so all my channels for that are easily accessible. I also have a couple of others that pull up kick and snares with guitars so I can quickly set a balance when it’s all going mad.”
“I’m learning on the PRO6 all the time. I’ve started putting delay on the channels, and the guitars are sounding huge! We’ve got a load of guitar mics on the same set of amps, so there’s always grief with phase, but I’m sorting this out by using the desk’s onboard delay. I’m generally using less of my external effects; for example, I always used a distressor on the vocals, but now I’m using the onboard channel compressor. I’m just using the onboard dynamics and processing, and it all sounds wicked, such as the onboard Klark Teknik DN780 reverbs; I know them very well anyway and they sound good.”
Tite is finding the Klark Teknik DN9650 network bridge invaluable on the tour, using it to connect the PRO6 to his laptop running recording software.
“I’m recording 42 channels, so in the morning I can just put my headphones on and play it back for a virtual soundcheck,” he says. “That function alone, using the DN9650, saves the expense of renting in a complete outboard recording rig. If the record company or management want a recording, I just have to put a couple of ambient mics up. One of the tracks I’ve recorded in this way has ended up being used for a B side.”
Although the tour is in its early days, Tite has realised he’s quickly become a Midas digital aficionado. “I’m in the position of showing the FOH engineers for the support bands how to use the PRO6, which is a measure of how much I’ve learned!” he says.
The Kooks tour travels the US after the European leg, before heading to Australia and Asia in the New Year.