Roger Waters’ Technical Team Choose Newton For Mega-Production
Every concert tour undertaken by the former Pink Floyd man extends his reputation for presenting rock ‘n roll on a scale that few contemporary artists can emulate, while delivering his own unique take on politics, world affairs and the human condition. Every performance is a visceral multi-media experience and his current This Is Not A Drill tour, his seventh as a solo artist, is no exception.
Delayed, as so many were, by the global pandemic, the tour eventually got underway in July 2022 and is scheduled to wrap in June 2023 at the AO Arena in Manchester. By that point it will have staged over 80 shows, all in indoor arenas ‘in the round’, starting in North America, Canada and Mexico before heading to Europe, Scandinavia and the UK.
The physical presentation of the shows – the stage sets in particular – reflects the scope of his songwriting, which in turn places heavy demands on the technical and design capabilities of his support team but the results are never less than enthralling.
Audio system design and supply for This Is Not A Drill is by Clair Global / Eighth Day Sound, using a vast d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system with Outline Newton Processors at its beating heart.
As you might expect for such a production, the audio setup is not straightforward. System Tech Wayne Hall describes the role of his Newtons:
“We are using three Newtons mainly because we have a complex arrangement of sends from the consoles to the loudspeaker system and also because we required a ‘mirrored’ backup console system where we could just push the fader up and have instant output without any button pushes or any other time consuming processes.”
“We use Newton #1 to take the first MADI send from the Main Avid S6L 192 engine into the Newton via Co-Ax to give us our principal inputs which are main L&R, subs and front fill L&R, so five inputs for the main system. We also take the same from the backup console’s engine into the second Newton via MADI Co-Ax, those then are sent via Dante to the first Newton. We then utilise the matrix DSP from that unit to feed our loudspeaker system, to which we send main L&R (which are the long side arena speakers), side L&R (short side arena speakers), flown subs L&R, mono ground-stacked subs and front fill L&R, so nine outputs to the main system.”
“The third Newton handles the surround inputs and outputs. The inputs are a combination of MADI and Dante and we use the matrix DSP again to merge the two consoles together to give us the four AES stereo outputs to feed the surround system.”
Wayne is clearly a fan of Newton, even though this is his first time out with it: “We utilise Newton’s ability to combine different audio formats, which it does with ease, which has been fantastic. As end-users it is very easy to use with no prior experience of it – before this tour we both had a short time using the software and we worked out how we needed to use it, to make it do what we required, and it did it all!”
Sean ‘Sully’ Sullivan is manning FOH for the tour and with a resumé that includes Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rihanna, and many others, he’s no stranger to mixing audio on this scale: “The Newtons do so much so well in 1U of rack space, it’s impossible to ignore them as the centerpiece driving our massive, intricate system. Add in the best sounding WFIR filters, simple ease of use, rock solid consistent performance, I can’t think of a better piece to cover what they do.”