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FORT COLLINS, COLORADO: String Cheese Incident are on the road once again, taking their Almost Winter 2003 Tour to the West Coast of the U.S.
and Canada, followed by three consecutive dates in Chicago leading up to New Year's Eve. For the second consecutive tour, an InnovaSON digital console, supplied by the band's sound provider, Shaped Music of Colorado, is being used on monitors, this time in conjunction with an eight-channel True Systems Precision 8 analog microphone preamplifier.
"We've gotten the band to expect a very high level of comfort on stage and a very high level of production competency," explains Jason Brodsky, monitor engineer for String Cheese Incident. "My goal, as the monitor engineer, is to deliver the band a great deal of continuity on a night by night, show per show basis. So the ability of a digital desk to save and recall comes in handy."
The compact, lightweight InnovaSON Sy40 console can be easily shipped anywhere in the world, ensuring that the five band members receive consistent in-ear mixes at every gig. Rich Werdes of Shaped Music chimes in, "Since it's a wireless monitoring system, and initially takes some time to setup, they wanted something small that could potentially travel to festival dates where they could interface with another sound company. Today between the InnovaSON Sy40 and wireless monitors, setup is a snap." With its onboard dynamics, he notes, the InnovaSON package is much more compact than the band's previous all-analog monitor console setup.
The band, which consists of Bill Nershi - acoustic/electric guitars, Keith Mosely - bass, electric mandolin/fiddle, Kyle Hollingsworth - keyboards, Michael Travis - drummer/percussionist and Michael Kang - mandolin/fiddle, use Sennheiser's Evolution Wireless EW300 IEM wireless monitors with Future Sonics custom Ear Monitors(r). The exception is Michael Travis who is hardwired from the desk into a custom Future Sonics headphone amp. All five members additionally contribute vocals, making use of five Neumann KMS 105-S wired vocal mics.
"I must give a little plug to our good friends at Future Sonics," says Brodsky. "[Owner] Marty [Garcia] is a dear friend. I also need to plug Peter George, our systems tech. He was very instrumental and supportive in making sure we got this system. "And I wouldn't be able to do any of it without our great stage techs: David Burbank (keyboards), Judd Klienmann (drums and bass), Brook "Boogie" Parlow (guitars), and of course, FOH mixer Jon O'Leary. This crew is unbelievable and the show would not happen at all without them."
The changeover from an analog to digital mixing console occurred overnight, Brodsky relates. "I went to Shaped Music with multi-tracks of a recent show and spent two days building mixes, which we debuted for the band when they stepped onto the stage for the first time at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. They hadn't heard the desk. It was as close to perfect as it could be, given the circumstances."
The True Systems Precision 8 mic preamps are inserted into the monitor chain to provide several of the players with the sonic signature to which they had become accustomed. "It was not so much that we didn't love the InnovaSON preamp sound, as it was that we went from a full analog system to literally changing overnight to this console," explains Brodsky. "There was a perception that it wasn't analog enough, so there was a little bit of an adjustment with certain lead instruments. It's very much a guitar/mandolin/vocal-driven band."
He continues, "We love the TRUE Systems mic preamp. It sounds great and definitely has proven itself to be incredibly roadworthy. It was mis-loaded into a rack and survived - with minor cosmetic blemish - a four-foot drop onto concrete. And it works perfectly."
There are plans to increase the channel count of TRUE preamps, according to Brodsky. "A lot of our stuff is stereo. For example, I have it on the guitar, mandolin and the vocals; but the guitar and the mandolin for two guys is four channels right off the bat."
"I would like to have them on everything," he concludes. "Since I have been using the TRUE preamps, the band has been smiling at me - and when they're happy, I'm happy!"
Based in France, Innova SON manufactures an innovative line of digital products for live touring, radio and television, world-class performing art centers, and general sound reinforcement applications.
Neumann's award winning line of microphones has set the standard in the industry since 1928. In 1999, Neumann received the prestigious Technical Grammy(r) for their 70 years of innovation in microphone design and contribution to the music industry. A continuing commitment to provide innovative, technically refined products and engineering solutions of proven quality ensures that Neumann's stature will remain unassailable.

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TRUE Systems Testimonials

"The P-SOLO Ribbon, which comes in at well under $700.00, is performing at a level that's comparable to mic pres that cost five times as much."
Lee Groitzsch

"It's all about standing on the front line of where music is today and capturing the band's true sound with TRUE mic pres."
Chris Shepard

"The Neumann and the P2 Analog is the perfect combination to make the piano sound like it should."
Trinidad Sanchez III,
The Rippingtons

"The Precision 8 is very transparent sounding and very accurate. It's an excellent piece of equipment."
Marc Fuller, Grammy-nominated for Kanye West’s "College Dropout"

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