Lana Del Rey Enjoys Endless Summer On K1
Sound Image carries full L-Acoustics system on artist’s 2015 tour.
Critics have lavishly praised Lana Del Rey’s three-plus-octave vocal range and uniquely emotive delivery, but within the context of a band on a big stage, the task of ensuring that every sultry whisper is heard can present its share of challenges. Thankfully, Escondido, California-based touring sound provider Sound Image tapped the right tool for the trek: L-Acoustics’ K1.
Currently out on her North American “Endless Summer” tour, along with opener Courtney Love, Del Rey is wowing fans in sheds each night on a K1 main loudspeaker system, with K2 outfill arrays flown as needed in wider venues.
It’s a sizable rig - one well suited to a big band and a rising star on her first headlining tour. But while L-Acoustics’ K1 can certainly whomp with the best of them, this system is equally adept at treading lightly, never missing a note nor losing the emotion of a song.
"This is my first time touring with K1, K2 and Kara, and I’m having a wonderful time with it,” enthused Max Bisgrove, Del Rey’s FOH engineer. “It gives me superb vocal clarity, headroom in spades, excellent coverage and packs a serious punch when called for. I would recommend it to anyone and will be requesting it again in the future.”
Bill Price, FOH system tech for Sound Image, notes that the biggest potential battle on this tour concerns the amount of low end on the stage. “Lana is a very discreet vocalist, very self-conscious about how she approaches a microphone,” said Price. “What we want to do is keep the low end around her, but nowhere near overpowering, to give her a lot of space on stage, yet keep plenty of bass out there in the audience.”
That’s accomplished by flying L-Acoustics K1-SB subs with the main hangs and time-aligning them to push the low end from the hangs out to the sides and rear of the sheds the tour is visiting. The muscular setup of SB28s stacked onstage in a cardioid configuration gives the sound the low punch it needs, keeping it in the crowd and off the stage, leaving Del Rey’s voice plenty of room to sigh and soar.
“It’s a challenge,” Price added. “With Lana’s voice being so velvety, Max has to keep the gain pretty hot, which can create feedback problems, even with in-ear monitors, because her microphone will usually be down in front on stage. He attenuates a few critical frequencies to compensate, but it’s really the PA system that makes it happen. The K1 is an amazingly sensitive and incredibly musical loudspeaker. I don’t think there’s another loudspeaker that could work as well with an artist like Lana.”
Sound Image’s loudspeaker complement for the tour consists of left and right hangs of 12 K1 modules above three Kara for downfill, which are flown adjacent to sub arrays of four K1-SB. Outfill arrays of eight K2 are also deployed for tour stops at venues with wider seating geometries. Below, six SB28 subs are stacked in cardioid mode on the stage, with six Kara spread across the lip for front fill. Thirty LA8 amplified controllers housed in ten LA-RAKs, five per side, power and process the entire system.
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