Jackson Browne with David Lindley, makes your heart feel glad.
With a career in sound spanning well over two decades, Paul Dieter is now enjoying himself mixing for one of rock and roll’s more enduring, if understated, legends, Jackson Browne. “I started mixing live in the 80s, then spent maybe fifteen years in the studio; I was just so frustrated with the live sound systems available then. When line arrays came along I was eventually tempted back to live and I’m having much more fun.”
Dieter’s ‘fun’ PA for Browne comes from Schubert Systems in California, a d&b audiotechnik J-Series. “It’s a subtle consideration,” said Dieter, “Jackson’s song-writing is rock and roll for the discerning ear. I try to be manufacturer and sound company agnostic, I don’t want politics getting in the way of making the best choice for my client. The combination of J8, J12 and J-SUB loudspeakers must be absolutely correctly balanced; I expect to be able to achieve nothing less than great vocal clarity throughout the house.”
Dieter’s system technician, Tom Laveuf, is the man responsible for creating that correct balance day to day, “Truth is the system is very well behaved,” he began. “We’re touring through a mix of theaters, arenas and sheds which we can adapt easily, ArrayCalc’ makes that very straight forward. The 180 degree amphitheater of The Greek in San Francisco was a delight. The only EQ on the system is in the R1 file (d&b’s proprietary remote control software); there’s nothing in the desk or in the Lakes, which I think says it all. The only challenge has been to figure out what to do with the subwoofers.”
Laveuf has only recently joined Schubert, having cut his teeth as a system tech’ at Beachsound, another d&b advocate, in Florida. “They taught me well; I’ve modeled many B2 and J-SUB arrays and find them very well behaved. Although the J-SUB is inherently cardioid we quickly found that putting this type of defined Sub-array arc across the front of stage worked best for Jackson, leaving his mic totally uncolored by the low end.”
A liberating condition for Dieter’s gain structure and a pleasing experience for his studio sensibilities, “That’s what I mean about correctly balanced; I don’t have to pull the subs at all, Tom got that right away. Last night we played our first closed in arena, I was a tad anxious but Tom set it up and I was immediately struck by just how even and well distributed it was. Mixing on the d&b J-Series is the closest I have found to listening to great studio monitors.”
Photographs by kind permission of Tom Laveuf.