27 January 2017

What a difference a J makes: on tour with Frank Foster

Since he first appeared at the Marshland Festival in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Frank Foster has stuck with Deep South Productions (DSP) for all his touring technology. “It’s where my business relationship with DSP’s owner Marvin Simon was cemented,” said Foster. “I’m into every aspect of my show, especially the sound, and I appreciate the difference I get from DSP, especially since Marvin bought that new German audio system.”

The company has always prided itself on its commitment to providing great sound, “But this d&b investment was a game changer for us,” said Simon. “We’d already done several shows with Frank and I could see he was building up a head of steam. Not long after Marshlands we started to think about renewing our audio inventory. At the time we switched to d&b we had been on the fence. We had an old system and just weren’t getting the support we wanted. We talked to a number of different people but Joe DiFalco from d&b was the one who really took the time to learn who we were and what we are about. That’s important.

“Initially Joe recommended a V-Series system for us, a nice midsized line array. In the shop we sat down as a team and considered the alternatives from other manufacturers; several looked pretty good. So we looked at twenty technical riders and fourteen of them had d&b as an acceptable system.” Still not totally convinced, Simon called up several sound engineers and production managers. “They all said fine, ‘but go for the J-Series’. That was about three years ago. Sure, committing to the bigger J system stretched us financially, but I have to say Joe and d&b put a good package together for us. We took a look at where Frank was headed and we bought the shop: J8s, J12s, J-SUBs and J-INFRAs. We even bought a bunch of M4 wedges.”

Foster’s long time front of house mixer Jayce Bosman was immediately impressed. “There are some good systems out there: I’ve been mixing for thirty years and used all of them. But every aspect of the J system delivers quality; it’s phenomenal. The off axis control is really tight. For someone like Frank who doesn’t have a super loud vocal I don’t have to worry too much about where he’s going and that gives me more freedom to mix. The J-Series is a great place to start when you get to a gig; you don’t need a lot of system EQ, if any. Just dial in the band and go.”

Since that initial investment DSP has added V-Series to its inventory. “We’ve never had a product before where everything has been thought through,” said Simon, “truck pack, rigging, amplifiers and networking. Three years later my guys are still smiling. When we tell people we have d&b systems, the next question is ‘what’s for lunch?’ And that’s just how we like it.”