Following the February release of their sixth studio album, This Is Why, Paramore traveled to South America in March and the United Kingdom in April for brief tours supporting the group’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s After Laughter. Now the band is out on a 26-date North American arena tour running from May 23 to August 2. Eighth Day Sound, a Clair Global brand, has served as Paramore’s provider for the past six years, and for this year’s runs in both the UK and US, FOH engineer Travis Bing chose to carry an L-Acoustics K2 professional audio system.
“I’m on my 13th year with Paramore,” says Bing, who, up until last year, served as the group’s monitor engineer before taking over the FOH mix position. “Although L-Acoustics is new to the band, I’ve had their rigs out on tour with Dashboard Confessional, plus mixed other artists at various festivals on K Series arrays. From those experiences, L-Acoustics quickly became one of my favorite systems to mix on, so when the time came to spec our setup for this year’s arena run, it was my first choice.”
The band’s new touring inventory consists of 60 L-Acoustics K2 enclosures: 18 flown per side for mains, and 12 per side as side hangs. An additional 32 Kara II, 16 per side, are deployed to cover up to 270°. For reinforced LF, 10 K1-SB are hung behind each of the main arrays for low-frequency extension and complemented by six KS28 subs ground-stacked per side in a cardioid configuration. Eight A10 Focus are spread out across the stage lip as front-fills. The entire system is driven by 48 LA12X amplified controllers paired with three P1 MILAN AVB processors. Two self-powered 108P are used as reference monitors on Bing’s SSL L650 FOH console.
“We’re using L-Acoustics P1 with the M1 measurement suite and running AVB for primary audio,” shares systems engineer and FOH tech Brian Sankus. “P1 is essential to all of my L-Acoustics deployments these days; one is positioned in our amp rack and acts as a master for all. It receives AVB from FOH as primary, AES from FOH as secondary, and analog from monitors as a worst-case scenario. That feeds our amps AVB as primary with an analog fallback; with the input fallback being triple-redundant, the show can always go on. And M1 is a great tool that really helps me get an idea of how the EQ translates through the entire room as opposed to just one location. It makes tuning a much quicker job.”
Sankus points out that the band members are all big advocates of performing as close to the crowd as they can, so, with a five-foot-high stage and barricade often five feet or less from the downstage edge, focusing the energy where needed is crucial. “By deploying K2 with K1-SB, we can get a good wrap on the mains to drastically bring that gap between the mains and front-fills down,” he describes. “We also try to be low-end conscious for both the front row and the band onstage. Having the flown K1-SB and cardioid KS28 on the ground really helps manage the direction of the low end.”
“Regarding design, I aim for the same coverage from the front to the back row,” he continues. “With this being the age of social media, videos show up online immediately following—and even during—a show. Having those translate the live performance to a digital multimedia format is key, and not blowing any particular area out is always a goal.”
With seven musicians onstage generating over 70 inputs, Paramore’s expanded touring outfit has a lot of layers to their music and live performance. “It’s more than just ‘gain it up and go’—it’s about trying to find space and dimension while still sounding massive,” Bing describes. “Also, the band’s catalog has evolved over the years, so going from harder and faster songs to more rhythmic and dynamic songs back-to-back in the setlist can certainly present some mixing challenges each night.”
“We did some shows last fall on a brief US tour of smaller venues where we didn’t carry a PA, and every time I found myself on an L-Acoustics rig, the mix just came together faster and sounded more musical. It could easily handle that back-and-forth between aggressive and dynamic songs that is a huge part of our shows now. That’s when I knew I wanted to carry L-Acoustics for our future tours. I don’t mind mixing on different PAs night to night—it does keep you on your toes—but I’m also very excited to have such great consistency and see where we can push this band’s mix sonically in these larger venues moving forward.”
For more details on Paramore’s upcoming North American tour stops, visit www.paramore.net. Eighth Day Sound can be found online at www.8thdaysound.com.