Since 1995, U.S. metal band Slipknot has been delivering their uniquely aggressive style of music to hard-core audiences around the world. With nine band members, a Slipknot concert is a loud, chaotic, and even shocking experience—just what their fans want.
But there is definitely a high level of order, A/V production, and technology at work behind the scenes to make sure each performance meets all audience and artist expectations.
Founded in 1980, Eighth Day Sound has grown into a global company that provides services to many of the biggest names in the business. The company’s portfolio of the last few years includes artists such as Lady Gaga, New Kids on the Block, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé/Jay Z, Panic! At the Disco and many more.
Chase Usry, Systems Engineer for Eighth Day Sound, who is now working on the Slipknot European tour, explained that with such a loud, heavy, metal act, the low mid- range is critical for making the much-desired hard-hitting sound. Metal is based on loud, clear, punchy drums and crunchy, full-frequency, domineering guitars and bass, and these elements are critical for a great sound.
“Heavy metal needs to come out as a full sound that is aggressive and powerful, and if the sound system doesn”t have the lower region it will lack the proper feel and will turn
into a mess fast,” said Usry. “To meet these demanding audio requirements, we decided
to go with the GSL system from d&b audiotechnik for our current leg of the tour.”
The GSL system, the biggest line array in the d&b SL-Series, delivers extraordinary dynamic range, with impressive power and headroom when and where it is needed most.
The systems are engineered to be lightweight while still providing constant directivity control even with low frequencies—powerful cardioid subwoofer technology and integrated flying equipment round the array system features.
“The low mid-range of the GSL speakers made the whole show feel way heavier,” said Usry. “For nine guys on stage playing heavy metal, having that low-mid impact makes the show hit really hard. We need that level of power for this tour and the 14-inch drivers of the GSL make a huge impact.”
The GSL is a line array system specifically designed for large-scale sound reinforcement. Up to twenty-four GSL12 or GSL8 loudspeakers can be flown in vertical columns producing a 120° or 80° constant directivity dispersion pattern in the horizontal plane respectively.
The loudspeakers are driven actively by two channels of an appropriate d&b amplifier, one channel powering the L.F. drivers, the second channel powers all other components, these are passively crossed-over.
This component geometry allows for a smooth crossover design with well-defined overlaps between adjacent bands providing consistent, even and very accurate horizontal dispersion. Due to the arrangement of the front and side-firing L.F. drivers, accurate directivity control is maintained from 45 Hz to above 18 kHz.”
Having nine guys on stage is a big challenge, but the rear rejection of the GSL makes the stage so quiet, and this makes everyone's job so much easier,” added Usry. “Some of the venues in Europe are not designed well, and to have this sort of rear rejection on stage helps a lot. Some venues are notorious for not being set up for a show like this, and but we could handle them with the d&b system.”
The standard Slipknot sound system for this tour comprised of:
Main – 14 GSL8 and 4 GSL12 per side
Side – 16 KSL8 per side
Flown Sub – 6 SL SUB per side
Ground Sub – 12 SL SUB
Front Fills – 8 Y10P
Center Fills – 2 V7P
Wedges – 10 M4s
“Reliability has been great, we haven’t had any problems with any elements on the tour and that goes from the physical infrastructure to the full networked system.
Having that trust in the product gave Chase the freedom to use the R1 Controller and Array Processing features to react to the ever-changing environment giving the client and audience the best experience possible.” said Stuart Gilmore, Project Manager, Eighth Day Sound. “It’s great to provide a scalable, flexible system that could work in all the venues. The feedback from the tour were very positive, and I know that would have come from the top down.”
Usry and Gilmore added that as happy as they are with the sound system, they are also very happy with the support from d&b. “Chris Drew from the d&b U.K. office came out for our show in Dublin, they had just launched some new software, and we had a few questions,” said Usry.
“It was great to have someone from d&b there to talk us through that and give us that extra layer of knowledge. We have a great rapport with d&b, and we really enjoy working with them.”
“Everyone working on this tour was extremely happy with the system,” added Gilmore.
“When we were at the O2 in London, we had systems engineers come to hear the show, and they could hear the difference in the sound. People were very impressed by it, and we received great feedback from everyone.”