Stones. Satisfaction. 2013.

Posted by | March 22, 2014 | | No Comments

Way back last century, when the Rolling Stones were younger than they are now (!), they made a decision that, indirectly, was to change the face of professional audio for ever. They wouldn’t have known this at the time but, in our 21st anniversary year, the decision to equip their 1999 “No Security” tour exclusively with XTA DP226 processing was a turning point for the company. Fast forward to the present day and at this year’s Glastonbury festival where the Stones both headlined AND debuted on the same night, and we were there with them again.

Where the magic happened - Pyramid Stage

Where the magic happened – Pyramid Stage

So first a little history. The “No Security” tour came off the back of their hugely successful “Bridges to Babylon” tour as a supposedly more “intimate” US tour – if by “intimate” you might mean 20,000 seater stadiums! The first arena tour the Stones had undertaken in over 20 years had to be something special and it called for cutting edge tech, in terms of video, lighting, and of course audio.

DB Sound of Chicago had toured with the Stones on the “Babylon” tour using an EV X-Array system that was effectively still in beta test, having help them develop the system over the previous four years. There was another six months of beta testing to be carried out, but this was never completed.

Klark Teknik and EV were also handling the processing and amplification duties for the system, and although the KT DN8000 loudspeaker processing was doing a great job, what was lacking was a remote control platform to permit adjustments to the massive vertical hangs of the X-Array speakers systems. Although this software was under development, there had not been sufficient field testing in time to meet with the tour deadlines.

This is where XTA stepped into the frame. XTA and DB Sound signed confidentiality agreements and began work together on development of more sophisticated remote control software, culminating in the “Array Control” module that is still in AudioCore to this day. For those who have never played with “Array control” in AudioCore”, it remains a very powerful tool for grouping huge numbers of outputs together and making adjustments, whilst maintaining the integral gain structure that has been set up outside of “Array Control”. It works in a similar fashion to VCA control on mixing desks, and whilst no longer unique, it certainly was 14 years ago!

So the KT equipment was replaced with 32 XTA DP226 processors, totalling 192 outputs – all seamlessly grouped and adjustable using Array Control in AudioCore. The tour was a sellout.

Coming back to 2013, and XTA are back in control of the system, ready to power the audio for a once in a lifetime appearance in front of an audience of potentially 100,000 people, not to mention the live televised audience of millions. RG Jones supplied the PA for the Pyramid stage and the system was in use for the entire festival. Alongside a Martin Audio Longbow speaker system, RG Jones supplied DP448 audio management across the board for both the front of house and monitor systems. Both systems featured multiple units networked together with full AudioCore wireless remote control from FOH and MON positions.

Judging by the reception the Stones received and their amazing Saturday night performance, I think we can safely say they got Satisfaction once again!