d&b’s GSL scores top marks on The Killers’ stadium tour

US rock band The Killers delighted UK and Ireland fans with their Imploding The Mirage stadium tour in May and June. For this leg, band, audience and crew benefited from an extra layer of quality in the form of a GSL PA system from d&b audiotechnik’s ground-breaking SL-Series.

© Med Rann

The GSL system is provided and supported on tour by Capital Sound, now part of Solotech UK Group. As long-standing clients of Capital, the band’s sound team was able to draw on the company’s continuing investment in d&b systems to specify an extensive GSL/KSL setup for this major tour.

The first time I used the SL Series was at a festival in Memphis. We just turned up and used it, and I was floored – it was awesome.Kenny Kaiser, The Killers’ front-of-house sound engineer

Planning ahead, the pair worked with Solotech to finalize the system design for The Killers’ 2022 stadium tour. That design has main hangs of 16 x GSL8 and 4 x GSL12 cabinets left and right, plus 10 flown SL-SUBs per side and 14 x GSL8 and 2 x GSL12 left and right for side arrays. On the ground are SL-GSUBs, stacked six-wide and two-high, their arrangement of 21” speakers extending the system’s characteristic cardioid pattern control down to 30Hz. “Low end is always an issue in stadiums,” says Kaiser, “but the control here with the flown subs and the G-SUBs, it’s just great.”

For delays, the smaller KSL8 is deployed in hangs of 16 cabinets per side. All arrays are flown in compression mode, but smaller KSL8 arrays can be rigged from roof structures where needed, in tension mode to save weight. “With the SL-Series, d&b seem to have nailed the concept of quick rigging,” says Solotech’s Robin Conway. “Speed of deployment is a huge factor - it’s so safe to fly, especially in compression mode.”

Kaiser and Conway both confirm that setup and optimization with d&b’s ArrayProcessing software is straightforward. Conway says, “It’s a powerful system that does throw a long way. And with ArrayProcessing, that takes care of the frequency response front-to-back. It means the system tech can focus on the finer details and how the arrays interact with each other.”

© Beth O'Leary

The system’s performance in these large venues has been enjoyed by the sound team: “I’ve been impressed by the evenness of the coverage,” says Kaiser. “Compared with previous d&b systems I’ve used, [the GSL] sound is smoother, more uniform.”

As with all the SL-Series, the GSL employs a combination of cardioid techniques which result in the rejection of energy to the rear, meaning a more comfortable working environment onstage – as well as lower off-site sound emissions. Kaiser comments, “The back end is quiet and it’s really clean on stage, which makes life easier for everyone. Marty can get his mix out without fighting, so everyone’s happy. And when everyone else is happy, I’m happy!”

Kaiser is clearly pleased with the results. He says:

We’ve had comments from guests and promoters on the tour, saying it’s some of the best sound they’ve ever heard at their venue . . . And the Solotech guys have been absolutely amazing – great to work with.Kenny Kaiser, The Killers’ front-of-house sound engineer

Final thoughts on the GSL? “It goes up really quick,” says Kaiser. “The team arrives on site about 3pm, and it’s always up, checked and verified in three hours. In terms of tourability, I’d give it ten out of ten - honestly.”

The Killers tour will continue with GSL through the forthcoming European festival season, and then for its North American and Australasian shows later in the year.

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