made that possible. “We were able to adapt and suggest a few different solutions,” Carlton said. “I could add an additional 20 inputs to cover the choir with plenty of space to spare.”
Under the stage, Suib is flying largely blind (except for a video monitor) mixing for the band and orchestra. His SD10, run in conjunction with an Aviom system, is used to generate submixes that are fed to the string section’s in-ear monitors or to various band members with their own adjustable Aviom rigs. The idea for all of the mix engineers to share stage racks and preamps was new. While gigs like award shows often use this kind of shared arrangement, it is virtually never seen on a tour. “In my 30 years in this business, I’ve never had to consult with anybody on any setting on my console. But on this tour we have had to make agreements between all of us about some basic starting-point levels. We were able to set the input gains on the first day, make maybe a couple of tweaks here and there for the different zones, and were able to lock that down. Each engineer could change his own Digital Trim to boost or reduce the level on the discrete channel. , It’s worked really well, and in the end, was definitely worth it because of the amount of inputs we have.”
While Blake has his hands full taking care of monitors for the entire band and orchestra, Ian Newton has just one person to worry about. She just happens to be the most important person in the house. Ian has handled monitors for both Streisand and her special guests since 2006, feeding a stereo mix to 40 pairs of stereo wedges around the stage. The idea is to keep the boss happy and able to hear where ever she is onstage and at the same time keeping outside audio sources from blowing into the orchestra mics. After all, it makes little sense having $40K+ in DPA mics on the orchestra (the same package Clair provided for the recent Sting outing with the Royal Philharmonic mixed by good friend and compatriot Howard Page) if they are not going to get a clean signal to begin with. Ian is a man of few words. We asked what the coolest thing about the gig was and he replied “The coolest thing is that i am out here and not sitting at home unemployed. I’m not doing anything groundbreaking here. My main challenge is keeping an eye on Barbra all night.”
the view from monitor world
When the Barbra show hit the road again, Jackson designed and configured gear especially for her. And those designs and configurations were created specifically for her with no real worry about if anyone else would want to use them. An example in monitor world: those wedges Ian is chasing Barbra around the stage with are custom jobs designed by Jackson with soft dome mid and high frequency drivers. Yes, boys and girls, no compression drivers. This is not about huge SPL and trying to compete with a bunch of screaming stacks and a rocking drum kit. It’s about consistent high-quality sound and a comfortable star onstage. And the monitors sound fantastic…or Barbara; Carlton has tried to take them out with other clients who are notorious for demanding the best possible sound, including Seal and so far, no takers. End result: A top-notch Bruce Jackson audio innovation that sits in the Clair shop when Streisand is not touring.
Those monitors are actually a decent analogy for the whole tour. This is not about big and brassy and loud. It is about smooth, even and consistent. This is not a situation where an engineer is using technology to make up for talent shortcomings on stage (come on, we have all been there…). This is about one of the greatest singers in the history of pop music backed by some of the best musicians in the world playing timeless music for the ages. “With this kind of music, we are trying to represent it as naturally and organically as possible,” said Carlton. “We’re not doing a lot of processing. Just a little bit of compression and some high pass filters are all that are required to get us where we need to be. We are using quite a few DPA microphones on the string section of the orchestra and high-end Beyer and Milab microphones on the rest of the orchestra. As far as for Barbara, I have an outboard Summit Tube Compressor on her vocal and a TC6000, but for the most part, I’m using onboard dynamics and effects for everything else.”
Moving away from console land, the PA is provided by Clair Global. An i-5 line array rig. The standard PA configuration is 16 x i-5 as the main left and right, with an additional 12 power side as outfills plus 10-deep hangs of i-3s as rear-fills. Positioned underneath the stage were four i-5b subwoofers to add a little bit of low end for first few rows. Additionally, there were approximately 10 x FF-3 front fill cabs spaced across the front of the venue, and they were employing a delay system of six clusters of a two-way i-DLcab.
“Chris places a strong emphasis on making sure the frequency response is really even across the front of the audience,” explains Weibel, “ensuring it is consistent even as you move from front to back. We spent a lot of time focusing on that. The addition of the delay system added a tremendous amount of clarity and vocal presence in the back of the arena. It was a great amount of work to install but it was worth it.
“Most groups wouldn’t be carrying delay speaker systems because it takes a lot of time, additional cost and extra effort to set up,” adds Carlton, “but because this is Barbara we wanted every seat to have the best sound possible.”
All the speakers are driven by Lab Gruppen amps which are in turn fed via the AES digital inputs from the DiGiCo SD stage racks. And everything has an analog backup. All of the amps are set up so that if there is no signal on the digital input, it automatically switches over to the analog option. At least that’s the plan if it ever fails which did not happen on the 12-show fall leg of the tour.
The MGM Grand from the “cheap seats.”
Will there be more Streisand shows. Maybe. She tends to do a tour about every six years and said during the show in Vegas that she intended to sing as long as she was physically able to. At age 70, the schedule would seem to call for another tour at age 76 in 2018. And a lot can happen in that much time. If there is one thing that Carlton learned from his mentor Bruce Jackson it was to do it right every night because there may never be another chance. An attitude that Jackson’s untimely death drives home. “The amount of things that Bruce Jackson shared with us over the years is staggering,” Carlton said. “One of the highlights of my career was working with him; it was a pleasure. Carrying on