Brave new World for Westlife with d&b's J-Series
Westlife: No, not Yul Bryner playing a cowboy automaton in a nihilistic vision of the future, that was Westworld. This is Westlife the band, another weird vision of the future perhaps, and similarly endowed with technologies that supplant the human model, but the lovely larynxes of Limerick posit an altogether more benign view of life. This was a tour where Westlife set out their stall to transcend their boy band origins and establish themselves in the MOR centre ground, not least through their latest album Face to Face. Their biggest seller in five years the album features covers of many a pop classic, often in 'duet', Diana Ross and Maria Carey not the least of them, so fidelity in live rendition was paramount.
"It's a new system," said front of house engineer Steve Levitt of his spanking new d&b audiotechnik J-Series system supplied by audio specialists Wigwam. "What's interesting about this system is just how clever it is. To me it sounds like a d&b system, what I mean by that is it sounds musical, but it performs like a V-DOSC.
V-DOSC performs, but it sounds technical." Levitt is never shy when it comes to speaking his mind, "We've got no EQ on the system at all really, or crossover other than what happens in the D12 amplifiers with d&b's own software. We have got one of those XTA units at the front of house position, but we are just using it for zone control. There is no EQ, and no time delay." This was show fourteen in an extensive tour of the UK; Levitt pointed to his system graphics beside the desk, "They've been set on bypass since day one. It is all-flat. This is the first PA I ever turned on and said, 'they can hear the words'. There is no colouration, just turn it up."
Levitt is equally enthused with the J-SUBs, "These new cardioid subwoofers; we found with these that if you stack four high you get an extra note out, a note you can't push out with a three high stack; I think it is the coupling effect of the four high. But you don't want to over excite the extended low end in the room," the band are playing the arena circuit. "So we put a three high column next to it, about half a cabinet apart, both stacks pointed straight down the room. The effect is you get half what you would with two stacks of four, but much more even coverage." No doubt there''ll be more debate on stacking techniques with the J-SUBs, as all the new J-Series system users explore the variety of performances and venues. Meanwhile, in Westlife World it appears that the J-Series system is bringing reality of clarity to the furthest reaches of their realm; it's a brave new world.
The Westlife tour is produced by Productions North based in Leeds W Yorks; a highly successful production company with an expertise in furthering the touring careers of young pop bands.