Equalization a la TUDOR

David used EQ of all types a great deal in his processing set-ups. From the traditional graphic and parametric EQ's (all miniature of course...no rack mount stuff) to modified or home brew low pass, high pass, and band pass filters. From the 1970's onward, he began to seek out unique commercial gear, usually built for guitar, that added its own particular color to his performances (e.g. the Electro-Harmonix Hog's Foot and Attack Equalizer).

A favorite of David's in later years was the Korg Tone-Booster. As mentioned in the document on amplifiers, any active (powered) EQ could be used as a gain stage. The Tone Booster, with its separate input and ouput gain controls, gave Tudor the ablility to boost a desired frequency range a great deal with the twiddle of a knob or two.

Tudor also used his acoustic environment as a big EQ. By using a multiple speaker system (8+ channels) he could take advantage of the different acoustic characteristics of the theatre by localizing the sound to a certain area. For example, a speaker set at stage left that is on axis to the audience is going to sound a certain way while one that is set on the front of the balcony poited straight up in the air is going to sound another. These two speakers are activating different parts of the acoustic space.

Tudor would also take advantage of the characteristic of the loud speaker itself in performance. Staying with the above example, if the first speaker on stage left is an EAW cabinet with a sub woofer it is going to sound a certain way while the much smaller Ramsa without a sub is going to sound another. Each speaker then acts like an EQ by responding to the frequencies that it was designed to.

The main sound system for a Tudor performance would be set in rehearsal and not altered during the show. This means that David's engineer would place the speakers, connect the power amplifiers, EQ the house (set a "typical sound" for the different speaker channels), and set the input and output levels at the main board before the performance. During the performance, any changes to EQ or level would be made by Tudor at his performance mixer or with his performance gear. Pity on any engineer who changed the levels during the show as David was known to take offense to this sort of interference. This means that all control over the sound during performance was relinquished to the performer, a must with this type of music. The engineer remained on stand-by during the show to deal with any malfunctions.

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This page was last updated on May 27, 1999. For more information contact: John D.S. Adams (scrump@earthlink.net)
or D'Arcy Philip Gray (starchy@cam.org). Server space generously provided by Electronic Music Foundation.