He’s also a newly-minted NEXO fan. For his current British tour, playing festival and outdoor dates as well as theatres, Boe is carrying a NEXO 45°N-12 stage monitor system for his own use. Whether he’s performing in front of his 32-piece orchestra, choir or a small band, Boe is happy with a cluster of the distinctive N-12 wedges, arrayed four wide.
The NEXO N-12s were suggested by Boe’s monitor engineer Paul Hatt, whose company CS Audio is the sound rental provider for the tour. Hatt was tipped off about the radical line monitors by Tristran Mallett and Chris Wibberley, engineers who have been touring them successfully for the last two years with Ray Davies.
“Alfie moves around a lot on stage,” explains Paul Hatt. “We started out last year using in-ear monitors, but this was not a suitable option for Alfie as his vocal style involves a lot of jaw movement, which in turn would move the mould around in his ear slightly and change the frequency response as he sang, so we arrived back at wedges as a more consistent monitoring solution. The added advantage of the NEXO N-12s is the very smooth, very even and VERY defined coverage pattern, which means the artist can walk in and out of the monitor zone with confidence.”
Hatt is running Alfie Boe’s system with all four wedges in a single cluster or array 4-wide. Bi-amped, the system offers two mixes, an inside mix and an outside mix. The inside mix runs on the two ‘inner’ wedges in the group, in his main vocal area; the other mix can be brought up on the ‘outer’ wedges for guest singers and musicians, without interrupting Alfie’s main mix. “When we first tried them out, we arrayed them 4-wide; the coverage was so good and Alfie liked them so much that we’ve never tried anything else!
The repertoire is mixed, ranging from musical theatre and rock ‘n’ roll (especially for the forthcoming US tour starting October) to opera and classical music. “The 45°N-12 line monitors are great for orchestral shows,” says Hatt. “With such tight dispersion, I can concentrate the level of the vocal very precisely and keep the spill out of the violins’ open microphones.”
“The N-12s are very directional, which takes some getting used to, but we get plenty of low end, the response is smooth and the coverage is even. Plus Alfie thinks they look really cool, which helps!”