As the leader of the influential 70's British Rock group Be Bop Deluxe, guitarist Bill Nelson began a long and prolific career that has resulted in a loyal international following and an eclectic portfolio of both solo and collaborative projects. An unquestionably talented musician in his own right, Nelson has also worked with such respected industry talent as David Sylvian, Harold Budd, Billy McKenzie, Roger Eno, Cabaret Voltaire and Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).
Without a doubt, Nelson's uncompromising approach to his craft is reflected both in his impressive body of work as well as the equipment he chooses to create and perform it. On his most recent tour, for example, Nelson chose to bring along a pair of Mackie SRM350 Active Loudspeakers as part of his monitoring system.
As this was a solo tour with Nelson playing to a backing track, the need to produce the CD audio tracks at the best possible quality was vital to his performance. While 'house' floor monitors were used for his voice and guitar, the Mackie SRM350s were positioned on his left and right in order to provide a high quality stereo playback of the backing tracks.
"Performing live electric guitar and vocals over pre recorded tracks presents an entirely different monitoring challenge to the usual one of simply getting vocals or guitar through the sound of a live on stage band," explained Nelson. "In my solo concerts there is no live band, only multi track recordings of myself. Since these backing tracks, along with my live guitar and vocals, are fed directly to the house system. Everything I'm hearing on stage, every nuance of the music, is totally dependent upon the monitor speakers; particularly as there are no guitar amps involved, only stereo processors."
"Most on stage monitor speakers tend to favor volume over definition," Nelson continued. "But in my case, clarity of reproduction over the entire frequency range is not just equally important, it is essential—as is plenty of distortion free headroom. I need to hear exactly what is going on in the backing tracks and require them to be reproduced clearly and solidly, giving the feeling that there is a band right there on stage with me, even though there isn't. I found that adding a pair of Mackie SRM350 speakers to the in house systems greatly improved musical detail and stereo imaging and allowed me a much improved, confident playing experience."
Nelson concluded, "For the last five years, I've created all my albums and backing tracks exclusively using Mackie recording equipment and I'm pleased that the SRM350s perform just as brilliantly as the HDR24/96 hard disk recorder and D8B mixing desk I've come to rely on."
In addition to founding the 70's rock band Be Bop Deluxe, Bill Nelson was also the driving force behind the 80's Zappa esque avant rock band Red Noise. Since then, Nelson has produced numerous artists, composed music for film and television and continued to pursue a solo career. To date, Nelson has released more than 60 albums. For more information visit www.billnelson.com.