FOH Engineer Spotlight: Dan Lewis Behind the Concert Sound Systems FOH Engineer Spotlight: Dan Lewis Behind the Concert Sound Systems...

L-Acoustics had the opportunity to chat with FOH Engineer Dan Lewis to learn about him and his approach to working with concert sound systems. With a career spanning over two decades, Dan, known for his work with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and as Technical Director at Urban Audio Productions Ltd, designs sound systems. Dan is known for solving problems and crafting an exceptional mix at every show. 

How It Started

Starting in the live events industry at around 14 years old, Dan’s first professional role was in 1998, which led him to become a seasoned FOH Engineer. His initial experience mixing the ‘Tribute to the Blues Brothers’ UK theatre production honed his skills in overcoming acoustic challenges, such as mixing without direct PA sound.

Dan reminisced about his early encounters with sound systems.”I think I first heard an L-Acoustics system in the early 2000s. It was V-DOSC at the time.” His “big break” came when he joined Oasis in 2002 as a PA tech. This eventually leading him to his current role with Noel Gallagher.

How It’s Going

Dan meticulously designs sound systems on tour to ensure optimal audio quality. For the Noel Gallagher tour, he constructed a system utilizing a range of L-Acoustics loudspeakers, tailoring the setup for each venue’s unique requirements. The system featured a combination of K1 and K2 cabinets, with additional elements like K1-SB for low-frequency control and KS28 subs to manage stage rumble.

Dan emphasized the importance of strategic speaker placement for achieving consistent sound levels across different venues. “On tour, we used side hangs of 12 K2. Plus Panflex helped keep the high frequencies directed and minimized reflections,” he explained. To enhance the audience experience, he also implemented Kara II lip fills for the front rows. A15 was used for floor coverage, with K3 hangs providing clarity to the rear sections of arenas.

The Power of K3

Dan specifically praised the K3 speaker system for its practical advantages during tours. “The K3 was quite handy for the delays in arenas, giving us the possibility of running a quite amp light solution for the number of cabinets.” He highlighted the system’s efficiency, noting that they “only needed three LA12X per side to run them,” which resulted in a setup that was “visually very tidy” while still delivering “full range stereo audio everywhere.” 

Adjusting for Creative Challenges

Reflecting on his experiences, Dan shared an amusing incident. “The lead singer had stuck his microphone inside the kick drum and moved everything else on stage for a laugh. I was wondering why it sounded awful! We jumped in and got things back in order, and off we went.”

Advice to Aspiring FOH Engineers

Dan advises hands-on involvement and persistence for those aspiring to enter the live sound industry. “Get yourself out there,” he urges, “ and I don’t just mean write an email. Go and see them in person and offer your services. You may need some work experience to get in the door. That’s how I started at SSE Audio back in the day. It got me in the right place at the right time. This is a people industry – I feel that sometimes gets forgotten.”

Over the years, Dan has developed a keen ability to craft soundscapes that captivate audiences. His story, marked by dedication and adaptability, demonstrates his significant contribution to live events and the concert sound system industry, ensuring memorable live experiences for audiences worldwide.