Composer of modern standards such as ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and ‘You Really Got Me’, Ray Davies has enjoyed renewed visibility this year, acting as curator of the Meltdown Festival in London, and opening for Bon Jovi in Hyde Park.For all his shows, including the finale of Meltdown, he has used NEXO’s 45°N-12 line monitors, supplied by Canegreen.
Chris Wibberley, monitor engineer for Davies for 11 years, has seen a wide variety of foldback options cross his stage, including in-ears. However, a chance encounter with NEXO’s new N-12 wedges at last year’s PLASA exhibition led to a demo, and almost immediately, a deployment of four monitors at the Meltdown shows at the Royal Festival Hall inLondon.
“We set up a pair of N-12s to the left and right of Ray,”explains Wibberley. “Of the pair to his left, the outside one is on its own mix, giving a discrete mix to guitarist Bill Shandley, while the other three deliver Ray’s mix. When Bill isn’t at the front, I can just mute the mic inputs that went into his mix and use all four wedges to give complete coverage to Ray. The N-12s are so phase coherent that I can flick between the two modes.
“Because of the way the units couple, the N-12s act as a single source. If Ray, by himself, wants more of anything, I can put it into Bill’s wedge. Or I can put it into acoustic mode, turning down the Ray bits and turning up the Bill bits – any of Ray’s bits that Bill wants to hear will be completely in sync with Ray’s wedges. They sound absolutely fantastic!”
Wibberley is using two NXAMPs to drive the 45°N-12s. “The problem with a lot of wedges is that they can sound too clean and hi-fi. But these have a bark to them. They’re still rock ‘n’ roll but they sound like a wedge doing what it is supposed to do.
“There are parts of the show where Ray goes off mic and off-axis with his guitar to watch the band. The definite dispersion of the N-12 allows him to step in and out of focus, so when he physically walks out of the zone, I don’t have to turn it down.”
Wibberley’s enthusiasm for the N-12s is supported by front-of-house engineer Tristan Mallett, guitarist Bill Shandley (“who is completely on side because of the detail he gets from these wedges”), and Ray Davies himself. “This is the best box that I’ve used on stage, and Ray may agree with that. He certainly got used to them pretty quickly, and he seems very happy – which is unusual!”