News from SSE HIRE

Jan 04, 2017

Madness: Can’t Touch Us Now with SSE Hire

Legendary British Ska band Madness has completed a fourteen date UK Arena tour with an L-Acoustics system from SSE Audio.

37 years after their first album, Madness released their twelfth studio album Can’t Touch Us Now in October 2016 before embarking on a UK and Ireland arena tour.

  Ian Horne and Mark Pantlin
FOH Eng Ian Horne and System Tech Mark Pantlin

KS28 Sub Array
L-Acoustics KS28 Sub Array

Yamaha CL5 Monitor Console
Yamaha CL5 used by LJ Evans for Monitors

AVID S6L Beer Shroud
Ian Horne behind the 'beer shroud' which protected the AVID S6L at FOH

Tour PM and Lighting Eng Pete Hosier
Tour Production Manager and Lighting Designer Pete Hosier

The band from London are one of SSE Hire's most established clients, and once again SSE provided the audio package to support the tour. SSE Hire Manager Miles Hillyard specified a scalable L-Acoustics K1/K2 system that could be configured for each venue.

System tech Mark Pantlin explained, “We produced L-Acoustics Soundvision models for each venue. Before we even opened the truck doors first thing in the morning, we’d discuss with the promoter what seating had been sold. We then walked the floor with the lighting and video crews to resolve any sightline issues with the proposed system. We could then bring off the truck the correct amount of K1 and K2 for the system design."

For the Manchester Arena date, the main L-R hangs comprised 12 L-Acoustics K1 with 7 L-Acoustics K2 as underhangs. Outhangs were 13 L-Acoustics K2 per side with infill provided by four, two-high stacks of KARA across the front of the stage.

A single row of 20 KS28 subs were placed on their ends in front of the stage to form a single centre sub arc and amplification for the entire system was a mixture of L-Acoustic LA8 and LA12X.

Front of house

Ian Horne has been Front of House Engineer for Madness for over 35 years. On this tour Ian used an AVID Venue S6L console, moving on from the AVID Profile he had been using in recent years. “Over the years I’ve tried just about every console there’s been. I was an early adopter of digital desks but I’m pretty settled with AVID now. I find that you can get your mix ‘in your face’ whereas other consoles seem to sound more distant.”

“I’ve upgraded to the new AVID S6L which has a real step change in audio quality. I’d certainly use it again. It’s intuitive to work with, the touch screens bringing everything to hand quickly and logically.”

For his EQ Ian Horne prefers to keep everything clean and simple. “Everything is left pretty much flat with just some compression. I find that if you start heavily EQ’ing on the mixing console when you’re working with a line array you’re just heading for trouble.”

Ian was particularly impressed with the L-Acoustics system and the work of System Tech Mark Pantlin. “Mark has managed to tune the system to each venue perfectly for each gig. For example the SSE Hydro in Glasgow has a reputation for being acoustically challenging but I have never heard it sound better than it did for our date there.”


LJ (John) Evans looked after the band's on stage mix, sat behind a Yamaha CL5. The band opt for a traditional wedge monitor setup, using SSE’s proprietory MB4 cabinets supplemented by ARCS WIFO/SB28 side fills.

Production manager for the tour was Pete Hosier who also managed to find time to be lighting designer for the Madness shows. “In the short amount of time we were together we had a great time and between us all produced some high quality performance shows that the band were delighted with, as were all the punters.”

“The hugely impressive work ethic shown by the entire crew, the level of talent and knowledge is second to none and barely voiced any words of complaint even though the hours were long and the variation of venues and scenarios changed almost daily.”

SSE Crew:

System Tech: Mark Pantlin

Monitor Tech: Kevo Moran

Stage Tech: Glen Little

For further details contact SSE Hire:

Contact SSE HIRE

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