Festival director Gareth Williams, himself for many years the monitor engineer for Fairport Convention, and his PA supplier Pete Russell of SSE Audio Group chose the new NEXO 45°N-12 stage monitors for the Cropredy stage, deploying 10 units for up to 8 mixes, all powered by NXAMP 4x4s.
This year’s line-up, headlined of course by Fairport Convention, also included Horslips, Badly Drawn Boy, Seasick Steve, The Coral and UB40. The busiest man on site was Jasen Hattams of SSE, who mixed monitors for every band except Fairport itself. He had a few things to say about using the N-12s as a festival wedge for the first time.
“At first, I questioned the idea of using a line array element to take care of high frequencies; in my opinion, wedges don’t really need to be long throw, and I was concerned that the drum and percussion mics might be polluted with vocals from the forward wedges. I used them in pairs, butted up together; using them this way and leaving the amp preset as one box, I got the low end response that I was after.
“I had not one complaint from 20 or more bands that I mixed that weekend, and I was pleased with that, as some of the changeovers between bands took all of 10 minutes. Lots of bands complimented us on the monitor sound. I would love to take all the credit but alas, I cannot; the “big shoe” wedges, as the local crew nicknamed them, did a great job and dealt with everything I threw at them, from acoustic fiddles, banjos and a harp to the raging onstage sound of the Horslips. The only real issue I had was that there were only ten wedges when I really needed twenty.
“I love the way that NEXO try to reinvent the wheel. Breaking the mould of how we do things can only be good. The big improvement in the world of NEXO has been the new 4×4 amp. I use NEXO GEO S8 on a lot of corporate gigs, and the NXAMP4x4 has transformed this into a really dynamic and usable system. I took GEO S8 round Europe a few months ago on a Blackberry road show and the system delivered great results in various configurations.”
SSE’s Pete Russell was in full agreement; “the dynamics on these monitors are really good. Cropredy is an unusual event in that the majority of the acts are acoustic. The N-12s sounded good, whether they were quiet or loud, and that is unusual for stage monitors.”