Burnsville, MN (April, 2016) Five-time Grammy winner Wynonna Judd is on the road promoting the first album with her new band, Wynonna & The Big Noise. The tour includes theater and small arena dates, showing off the group’s unique hybrid of Americana, country, blues and rock. The band’s self-titled album came out February 12.
For production manager and FOH engineer Elliot Parry, the tour has been both challenging and exciting. “We’re not carrying a sound system or a front of house console – just a microphone package for consistency on stage. This means I walk into a different rig every day,” he says. “It’s given me a chance to hear a lot of systems. A few have really stood out, like the Electro-Voice X2 system we used in Bemidji, Minnesota.” The X2 is the high-performance model from Electro-Voice’s new X-Line Advance line array family.
That show took place in the Sanford Center, a multipurpose hockey arena, with an Electro-Voice sound system supplied by NLFX Professional. The Electro-Voice deployment included two eight-box line arrays of X2/212-90 loudspeakers to cover the room, augmented by a block of eight dual-18-inch subwoofers, and all powered by TG7 amplifiers. EVU-2082 speakers across the stage lip served as front fills.
Parry was instantly impressed. “When we walked into the venue, the rig was already flying and tuned,” he recalls. “It’s a large room and we were doing a half-a-house show, so I expected it to be boomy and difficult to pick out individual instruments. But when I pushed the faders up, the sound was pretty much exactly what I wanted. All I needed to do was make a couple minor EQ moves.”
The mix for Wynonna & The Big Noise balances sparse arrangements with big lead vocals and requires particular attention for drummer/producer Cactus Moser’s 28-inch kick drum. “It’s not your typical kick drum. It’s big, it’s got handmade skins and it’s from the 1930s,” explains Parry. “So it goes very low, but has a lot of midrange that you don’t typically use in EQ‘ing a kick drum. I was able to craft that sound really fast with the Electro-Voice system, still leaving plenty of headroom for Wynonna’s vocal. I didn’t have to fight the room, and got a smooth, natural sound with great definition.”
Parry also enjoyed the consistency of coverage the X2 system provided. “I had time to go up into the seats, off the floor, and it was impressive,” he notes. “From the ground up, everything stayed nice and even tonally, and the transition between arrays was super smooth – I had a hard time picking out the seams. It made me confident that the moves I was making at front of house were translating to the people in the back.”
Overall, it made for a great gig in Bemidji. “I’ve got to say that NLFX was an outstanding vendor,” says Parry. “Since I’m wearing multiple hats, I lean pretty heavily on local production, and they made my job easy, as did the X2 rig they supplied. I‘d love to work with it again.”