AC/DC Rocks On with Lectrosonics
On AC/DC's current Black Ice tour, the rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and co-songwriter Malcolm Young relies on a wireless setup to deliver the true sound of his guitars while providing the mobility to roam freely about the stage -- and for this, he uses Lectrosonics.
Geoff "Bison" Banks has been Malcolm Young's guitar technician since 1990 and is charged with maintaining Young's Gretsch guitars, Marshall Amplifiers and speaker cabinets, as well as other musical electronics used for the show. According to Banks, "Malcolm was using a wireless system, then went back to a cabled setup and stayed that way for quite some time as he didn't like the fact that the wireless system changed the tone of his guitar. He plays a Gretsch Jet Firebird with Filtertron pickups, so he always wants a big sound-one that is mostly clean but with a little dirt on the chords. All the other wireless systems that we tried-and we've tried them all-colored his sound."
When the band started rehearsals for the Black Ice tour in September (2008), Banks decided to give the wireless approach another try, as he explained. "Adam Day, the guitar tech for Neal Schon of Journey, showed me what he was using on tour with Journey, and it looked very impressive," said Banks. "Immediately afterward, I contacted Larry Martin at North Hollywood, CA-based Tour Supply and made arrangements to get a Lectrosonics system."
The new Lectrosonics system used by Malcolm Young includes two R400A Digital Hybrid Wireless diversity receivers, eight LMa Digital Hybrid UHF belt pack transmitters, and several MI39A guitar cables with right angle plugs. "Malcolm uses four Gretsch guitars during the show," Banks explained, "and I have two LMa belt packs assigned to each guitar. With each guitar, one R400A receiver and one of the two belt packs serve as a backup system. We have separate belt packs for each guitar, as the output from each instrument is very different."
Tour Supply's Larry Martin commented on the Lectrosonics transaction for AC/DC: "Lectrosonics equipment is widely recognized for its robust performance. We've been an authorized Lectrosonics equipment supplier for several years and, during that time, we've placed numerous systems with a number of high-profile artists. We consistently hear positive feedback about the equipment, so we can recommend Lectrosonics with a high degree of confidence. When Geoff contacted me about a system for AC/DC, I had no reservations whatsoever about recommending the Lectrosonics gear. Geoff and I have a business relationship that dates back to the early 90's, so he knows he can count on Tour Supply to steer him in the right direction."
"Malcolm loves the transparent sound of the Lectrosonics system," says Banks. "Finally, we a have a wireless system that doesn't color his guitar sound and he's free to move about the stage. I also love the fact that the equipment is easy to use. The SmartTune feature is great. It's fast and always finds an open frequency -- no matter where we are."