TIGRES DEL NORTE TOUR MEXICO WITH NEW
HLA SOUND SYSTEM
Band & Hard-Working Production Crew Select HLA system
most well-known and enduring popular musical group, Los Tigres
del Norte, begins another nationwide tour this fall, bringing their
rock-solid norteno ballads to crowds that exceed 50,000 persons
at a variety of venues throughout Mexico and other nations.
regional favorite since 1972, when their early hit "Contrabando" focused
attention on the challenges confronted by the Mexican immigrant
community, Los Tigres have emerged as one of the best-known concert
acts for Spanish-speaking audiences in both North America and Latin
America. The group's widespread fame first came from songs about
drug smuggling (like the 1989 album "Corridos Prohibidos"
Ballads, based entirely on the topic of illegal smuggling). Originally
from Mexico's Pacific-coast state of Sinaloa, Los Tigres are best
known for having modernized Mexican pop music, infusing it with
boleros (sentimental songs), cumbias (dance music) and hard-driving
values for the group's shows are very high, which has led to the
group's owning its own sound system. "When we are on tour,
we try to leave nothing to chance," advised Miguel Ramirez,
Production Coordinator for Los Tigres who handled much of the advance
work on the group's tightly-scheduled shows. "While in Mexico,
our crew works really hard. We will often have travel delays or
unexpected developments at a concert site, and so we need our production
equipment to go together quickly and be up and ready for immediate
credits Production Logic (San Leandro, CA) with helping to custom-design
and source much of the band's staging, rigging and sound needs.
The rig was intentionally assembled to accommodate Los Tigres'
grueling tour schedule. "We looked for a package that could
work well together. We needed self-climbing trusses, moving lights
and a high-powered concert audio system. Hermes of Mexico City
supplied our lighting system. For sound, we had been looking at
several options, including some of the more usual choices like
products from EAW and Meyer. But we really needed something that
had lower distortion and lots of headroom. Production Logic arranged
a live demonstration of JBL's new HLA (Horn Loaded Array) system
for us outdoors in a large field. We brought in the band, set up
the instruments, and then had a listen. The band was extremely
Tigres' fans expect a really big, powerful sound," notes Jose "Cucco" Refugio,
front-of-house soundmixer for Los Tigres del Norte. "We usually
set up the sound system to cover very large audience areas
persons on average, but sometimes our audiences will exceed 60,000
or even 70,000, if Los Tigres have not performed in an area for
a long time. So, the sound system is often called upon to support
huge crowds. JBL's HLA gives us the projection we need to reach
all the way to the rear of large festival sites without having
to use extra delayed speaker towers," noted Refugio.
controls a hanging left/right array system made up of 32 HLA model
4895 mid/high units loaded with JBL's new Differential Driveď technology
and 16 HLA model 4897 2-18" bass enclosures equipped with
JBL's innovative Linear Dynamics Apertureď vent design, providing
massive amounts of VLF (Very Low Frequency) energy to the band's
high-powered blend of rock and popular Mexican musical stylings.
The 4897's are constructed from advanced materials (carbon-fibre
panels) instead of wood. The more rigid construction of the 4897
means that more of the bass energy is converted into acoustical
output, instead of turning into box vibrations as it does on more
traditional wooden speaker enclosures.
each 4895 3-way unit and 4907 bass unit is built into JBL's patented
Spaceframeď which is exactly the same size and shape for each unit,
the crew can readily assemble speaker arrays with different performance
characteristics as needed. The 4895's tilting waveguide lets the
mid and high frequency elements be positioned as desired, without
complicated re-adjustment of the rigging hardware.
power the JBL speaker system, Los Tigres del Norte rely on power
amplifiers from Crest Audio. Each amplifier rack contains Crest
Model 9001 to handle the 4897 bass units and the low and midrange
frequency sections of the HLA system
Crest Model 7001's are
used to power the high-frequency compression drivers. Sound technician
Javier de Leon is responsible for setting up and cabling the amplifier
a typical show, de Leon and electrican Pablo Tafoya work to rig
and cable up the HLA speaker arrays, linking them to the amplifer
racks with specially-prepared cable assemblies. The arrays are
then hoisted into the air by HLA truss modules developed by ATM
Flyware. These hanging frames are pulled up by Los Tigres' unique,
self-contained stage and lighting truss system, which relies on
CM Lodestar chain-motor hoists. "The JBL speaker modules are
so lightweight, It only takes two one-ton motors to suspend 16
of them in an array," notes production coordinator Ramirez.
MONITORS & SOUND CHECK
sound needs for Los Tigres are handled veteran stage monitor mixer
Fermin Ramirez, who works on a Crest Century mixing console. Most
monitor mixes are of the "in-ear" type, using the new
wireless system from Shure Bros. Ramirez, wearing a system similar
to equipment used by each band member, works carefully to custom-tailor
a mix for each individual musician.
stage monitor and front-of-house soundmixers have their hands full
during the show, with many inserted sound effects in addition to
a rapidly-changing music mix that includes seven different accordians,
each fitted with a special microphone and wireless transmitter.
possible and if time permits, group members will check out their
own instruments and monitor mixes. However, the task of setting
the sound system up in preparation for the show falls almost entirely
on the production crew, who do complete line checks and daily adjustments
for each instrument.
the featured 'headline' act on a show, Los Tigres del Norte will
often be supported by other, regional bands who set up their own
stages and sound equipment, and work as opening acts for Los Tigres'
concert. "Our shows often don't actually start until after
9:00 PM and the whole thing can last until 2:00 AM or later," noted
mans a 40-input Soundcraft Vienna II console, which is used to
drive JBL DSC280 and DSC260 digital system controllers. Although
the DSC280 is a four-way unit, the DSC260 is set up with a separate
feed to push the bass units, and to stand by as a 'spare' controller
in case of primary-unit failure. A dbx 160A compressor-limiter
is put across each of the left, right and subwoofer feeds. Refugio
uses a BSS FCS-960 dual-channel graphic equalizer for the main
house system tuning. To help ensure against electrical line problems,
the front-of-house rack is fitted with a Furman power conditioner.
DN504 Quad Compressor-limiters are in use as channel-inserted devices.
Special-effects processors from Lexicon (PCM90 and MPX1) and Roland
(SDE330 delays) are in use. Fostex SPA-11 cue speakers are used
at the front of house position, as Refugio pre-sets a variety of
drive this system hard, but we are not just trying to make things
loud. With Los Tigres' accordians, guitar work and punchy bass
guitar, we need not only a lot of power, but fine musical detail,
and the crowd loves it!", enthuses Refugio. "We have
what might seem small
just a 32+16 unit system
rig definitely outpowers a larger number of boxes from other manufacturers
that don't have JBL's new high performance technologies inside.
The other sound engineers who see and hear this system at our shows
are usually jealous!"
coordinator Miguel Ramirez notes that the sound and lighting crew
for Los Tigres are one of the most tireless in all of Latin America. "This
band tours non-stop. It is nothing for us to set up and do 5 and
6 shows a week, driving all night over back-country roads, and
barely getting our rig up in time. The band doesn't like to disappoint
their fans, and the strength and simplicity of the HLA system's
rigging hardware gives us a big advantage over other types of speakers," he
explains. "Every minute we save on setup is another minute
of rest for my crew! JBL's HLA rig has let Los Tigres' shows stand
out from other acts by letting us quickly get set up on a daily
basis, and present a world-class concert quality sound."
Tigres del Norte maintain a tight touring schedule, sometimes playing
in excess of 200 shows per year. And, when in Mexico, the band
typically travels with self-contained production: all trucks, generators,
staging equipment, lighting and sound equipment are either owned
by or are under direct control of the group.
throughout Mexico have come to expect a Los Tigres show to be not
just a concert, but a 'happening'," advises Miguel Ramirez. "And,
we are constantly challenged as we put up our stage, sound and
lighting equipment in areas that are not optimum for live shows.
Many of our concerts take place in rural regions in the countryside,
and on ranches
not often in the typically indoor venues you
find in the major cities. This band really knows its audience,
and like to be close to them. So, as a production crew, we are
often forced to do things in new ways. That's one reason that the
new JBL HLA system, with its quick rigging setup and clear, powerful
sound, has enabled us to produce these shows in some out-of-the-way
places, giving hundreds of thousands of fans a look at a true state-of-the-art
Tigres del Norte
"Idolos del Pueblo" (Idols of the
People) as one of their many albums proclaims, are showing that,
with carefully-engineered production systems and a dedicated live
production crew, entertainment truly can be brought to people in
rural regions who otherwise would not have a chance to experience
such a well-produced concert event.