Products from Auralex Acoustics Used on Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary World Tour
The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, released in 1966, is considered a timeless pop classic, and beginning in March 2016, Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary World Tour set out to perform the entire landmark recording live one last time. Brian Wilson has literally traveled the world with the show since then, with over 100 shows on every continent, and with such success that the tour was recently extended well into 2017. Pet Sounds was a sonic masterpiece and a pioneering effort to illustrate what can be accomplished in a recording studio. On tour, that same dedication to excellent sound is assured thanks in large part to the technical team's selection of acoustical isolation products from Auralex Acoustics, Inc., a provider of acoustical treatments.
Drummer Michael D'Amico's kit is secure night after night atop an Auralex HoverDeck v2, specifically engineered to reduce coloration from floor resonance by decoupling the drum kit from the structure. In addition, a set of Auralex PlatFeet II keeps D'Amico's high-hat rock solid, and another set of PlatFeet-II does the same for his floor tom. Guitars and bass on the tour (played by guitarists Probyn Gregory and Nicky Wonder and bassist Bob Lizik and managed by guitar tech Thom Lowry) also benefit from Auralex's isolation capabilities, with GRAMMA v2 isolation platforms for the guitar amps and the larger GreatGRAMMA v2 isolation platform under the bass amp. Auralex's PlatFeet-II pads are placed underneath the mic stands on stage, decoupling them from the stage resonance that can find its way into the PA system. Finally, front-of-house mixer and tour production manager Clint Boire stands on an Auralex HoverMat to keep his own mix position as isolate as possible from the not-so-good vibrations that are ubiquitous in festival environments.
"It's all about keeping the instruments and the vocal microphones as isolated and separate as possible from the resonances from the stage, the risers and everything else," explains Boire, who has been working with Wilson since 2008 and who has mixed front-of-house or monitors for artists including Bonnie Raitt, The Offspring, and John Fogerty. "At the same time, the HoverDeck helps keep the drums tightly in place. And all of that contributes to getting the purest, cleanest signal possible to the microphones and into the PA." Boire says mixing the d&b audiotechnik PA system through an Avid Profile FOH console while standing on a HoverMat extends that benefit to the mix itself. "There's often a lot of low-end build-up near the mix position, and the HoverMat keeps that away from me," he says.
While this is the first time he's used these Auralex products with Brian Wilson on tour, Boire is no stranger to them. Not only does he use Auralex acoustical treatments in his personal studio in his home in Las Vegas, but when he lived in a Los Angeles apartment he discovered that Auralex looks as good as it works. "I mixed the charcoal and burgundy-colored absorption panels on the walls between a few mirrors," he says. "It looked great and it gave me the sound control I needed in an apartment." And Auralex is doing just that for Brian Wilson on tour. "What I get from Auralex is peace of mind, knowing that I'm getting the best input sound from the stage possible," he says. "There no need to adjust it with EQ or outboard plug-ins. It's just the clearest sound possible, right from the stage."