Ice Cube makes UK and Ireland return with L-Acoustics K Series

Ice Cube, one of hip-hop’s most enduring and influential figures, recently made his long-awaited live return to the UK and Ireland, performing a mini tour of six live shows with an L-Acoustics K Series rig supplied by UK production specialist Adlib.

For over three decades, Ice Cube has been renowned as a true luminary in the world of hip-hop and pop culture. Exploding on to the world’s consciousness as one of the leading voices of the iconic NWA – for which he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 – he has since gone on to enjoy a hugely successful career as a solo artist, as well as an actor in TV and film. From the studio to the stage, he has always applied a signature, uncompromising touch.

His return to live shows in the UK and Ireland saw promoter TEG Live Europe select Adlib to provide the full technical production for the six shows. It was the first time Adlib had worked with the star, and to ensure the sound at these shows delivered a fittingly powerful punch, an L-Acoustics K Series rig was specified.

The main PA elements comprised main hangs made up of 24 x K1 with up to 12 x K2 down, as well as K2 side hangs. KS28 subs were specified for dual purposes, with 10 flown behind each of the main hangs, and eight ground-stacked either side along with four x Kara II and four x A15 Wide systems either side for fills. Everything was running via AVB across 46 x LA12 amplifiers.

“K-Series is renowned for what it can consistently deliver across a venue in respect to frequency response,” said Jay Petch, Adlib account manager, explaining the key factors in the design and placement of the system. “The challenge with this show was delivering this consistency down as low as 30Hz for all audience members. The primary low-end frequency in a couple of the songs is a sustained 32Hz!

“Ensuring the sub design was capable of this was key. There was no requirement from the artist for cardioid and with having 10 flown KS28 per side this gave a sub line length almost as long as the main K1 hang. The flown subs ensured the low-end coverage around the arenas met the low-end requirements of the show right to the furthest and highest seats. Being transported on three and four high dollies also ensured quick deployment each day. The ground sub was predominantly used to cover the first 20m of audience and was configured as a broadside array.”

As for why the L-Acoustics K Series was chosen specifically for the job, Petch added: “L-Acoustics was chosen for this project as new suppliers to Ice Cube and his team. We wanted to show that they were in safe hands with one of the most trusted and recognised brands in the industry.”

Also crucial to the success of the shows was the L-Acoustics Soundvision software, which enabled the team to create the perfect design for the concerts.

“In the pre-tour design stage, Soundvision was important in getting the box counts right for each component of the system to cover the largest deployments of the tour (London and Manchester),” system tech, Dave Cartwright, elaborated. “Beyond this, Soundvision was invaluable in getting the sub design correct before even leaving my desk, let alone flying anything on the first date.

“The tour had a standard rigging plot. Whilst side hang locations were subject to change slightly, the foundations were the same from day-to-day. Adlib holds extensive room data for all venues visited on this tour. There was some care around ensuring the IMAGs and K2 side hangs could occupy a close real estate whilst working together and not against each other. In planning there were some minor changes to the rigging plot to both the IMAGS and side hangs to ensure this was the case. Without Soundvision this wouldn’t have necessarily been apparent.

“I built a base room file (including stage and IMAGs) and a base speaker file. This file had all the IP configurations and had all speaker links set in it based on the maximum number of speakers available. Daily, whilst on the road, I could import this into Adlib’s room file and this would enable me to quickly get on with setting trim heights, adjusting box counts as required and start refining the design.

“The auto solvers Soundvision offers get you where you need to be very quickly. With each design being built around this base file, this also ensured that what I imported into Network Manager was consistent from and worked efficiently with how the LA12X were prepared and deployed for the tour.”