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This is not an Emergency! Turbosound Aspect® on tour with the Pigeon Detectives

Touring their new album ‘Emergency’, Pigeon Detectives has just completed a series of hugely successful UK dates where Front of House engineer, Andy Hawkins, teamed up with WE Audio and its Turbosound Aspect® system. Initially blown away by Aspect’s outstanding control and performance at outdoor gigs, Hawkins brought the system inside and wasn’t disappointed.

Wayne Barker, owner of WE Audio, first met up with Hawkins last year at the Underage Festival in London’s Victoria Park where, even with the low levels Barker had to adhere to because of the venue’s proximity to residential areas, Hawkins was impressed by the system’s performance. A further outing to Jersey Live ensued where Barker’s professionalism, combined once again with Aspect’s superior sound quality, clinched the deal for the Pigeon Detectives’ tour.

Beginning in the middle of May with two nights at Glasgow Academy, the tour took in venues of varying sizes including Manchester Apollo, The Cambridge Corn Exchange, Portsmouth Guildhall, Carling Academy Birmingham, and Brighton Dome and carried 24 TA-890H three-way mid/high cabinets, 24 TA- 890L bass cabinets and eight TSW-218 subs, plus a substantial Turbosound stage monitoring system comprising TFM-450 wedges and TQ-445s for side fills. Control was via XTA DP448s and power from Turbosound-badged MC2 T-45 and T-25 amplifiers.

At Brixton Academy, the last and largest venue on the tour, the system comprised the entire compliment of TA-890H and TA-890L, along with the eight TSW-218s subs set up as a left and right flown four-way system with XTA DP448s as system control, plus a left and right ground stacked system running five-way, all powered by the T-45 and T-25 amplifiers. The monitoring system for the band was handled by 12 TFM-450 wedges – controlled via XTA DP226s and again driven by T-45 and T-25 amplifiers – on stage, with TQ-445s as side fills and TQ-425s on the drum fills.

“We had used Aspect on a couple of shows in the autumn,? explains Hawkins. “I was impressed by the linearity of the system and the lack of need for any major work – I don’t believe in EQing systems anyway, but with Aspect I immediately heard what I wanted to hear articulation-wise: where the crossover points are situated means that they aren’t in any key information areas of the audio spectrum as far as vocal and guitars are concerned. This makes it great for a rock band.?

Hawkins does not doubt that the Aspect system is great for a range of acts, but has found it is particularly suited to the fast pace of the Pigeon Detectives that demands a quick response and clean, tight sounding bass which, he says, this system delivers in spades.

On stage, Matt Bowman (vocals) prefers to use only wedges for his monitoring and likes the sound ‘in his face’, according to monitor engineer Chris McCarron. “The main thing for me was getting a big loud sound,? explains McCarron. “With Matt being all over the stage, I’ve got to make sure that the coverage across the entire area is loud and even for him.? And Matt is most certainly all over the stage. In fact, he is all over the wedges: running across the top of them; jumping up and down on them; they have even been liberally doused with water… ?But the TFM-450s stand up to the pressure,? asserts McCarron. “I haven’t had a single complaint about the equipment on this tour. It has been tip top.?

Back at FOH, Hawkins has found his assertion that the directional control he found such an asset outdoors would be an equal bonus indoors, has held true and adds: “Overall I’m impressed with the cleanliness of the whole system. I would describe it as reference quality in PA. I work in studios a lot when I’m not on the road, so I’m used to what studio monitors sound like and looking for frequencies.

“If you do a piece of EQing on this system, you can hear it, but it’s not in a ‘bitey’ harsh sort of way. It’s a smooth sounding system because it’s linear. The way Turbosound has done the top end means it just works perfectly and isn’t fatiguing to listen to at a decent volume. Having said that, it’s also great because I’m mixing quieter now as the articulation is so good and I don’t have to push stuff. It’s just much easier to put the mix together.?

Everyone is very satisfied with the overall results they have achieved and Hawkins relationship with WE Audio has been a big success. “We only used a couple of flown configurations during the tour, but I brought Wayne out with me because he knows exactly what he’s doing and he always puts it up right,? concludes Hawkins. “It only takes us 10 minutes to tune the system up. If you compare that to some experiences I’ve had as a support guy, watching headline engineers thrash about in the shallows with stuff for ages… well, they must have had the wrong system!?

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