Hillsong United – Zion Tour- USA, June ’13

While preparations for the Zion tour began many months before, crew and band descended upon Sydney, Australia 2 weeks before arriving in the USA for the beginning of the Zion tour. Songs were rehearsed, sets solidified and technical elements were tweaked in the 5 days spent in the Doody St campus. For this particular run of Zion we had Stephen Pippett as production manager, Brad Law on monitors, Ian Hendrick on lighting, Ricki Cook as PA designer, Greg Leacock running the stage and Dave Rubie holding down video world.

While not completely diverting from songs that have been played on previous tours, with the release of Zion more elements had to be incorporated in the setup to allow the best representation of the current album to be presented. While visually the easiest thing to spot was the ‘mountain’ set, in audio it meant more inputs on stage, filling up all of the 80 Midas Pro 9 inputs at both monitors and FOH. Due to the amount of inputs, we also utilised the KT DN9696 in order to capture and playback all the inputs from stage for soundcheck purposes.

Mid America Sound provided all things production and for audio that meant a 28/8 L-Acoustics K1 and Kara for the main L/R and downfill, 18 Kudo for side fill, 16 flown K1-SB, 18 ground SB28’s with an additional 8 Kara for front fill. Ricki Cook designed the system and was able to implement its workings on the majority of dates, supported by the Mid America staff.

As mentioned before, the Midas Pro 9 was the spearhead for the inputs coming off stage, complimented by some outboard units to suite my own personal preference. They were the Lexicon 480L and TC 2290 for FX processors, the Rane C4 for dynamic compression, the Empirical Labs Fatso Jnr for drums and the Avalon 747 on the stereo bus for additional compression and EQ. Lake Processors took care of distribution and overall system management.

The tour was thoroughly enjoyable and a real challenge on all fronts. I think I can speak on behalf of all of the crew involved that it will be something that we will remember for a long time and no doubt be able to enjoy again in the near future.

JimmyRudder - May 10, 2015 - 2:13 pm

Hey Kevin,

If you are talking about recording specifically, there are a number of different ways to go about it. Yes, you can use gates to manipulate the sound but I usually go through the song and edit the toms individually – that way I can really dial it in. After that, its eq and FX depending on the song content. Live, I rely on EQ and gates.

Hope that helps,


Kevin - March 28, 2015 - 5:51 am

Hey Jimmy, I have a question about what kind of processing you use on toms; how do you get that specific hillsong tom sound that i hear from all the albums? do you use gates to shorten the sustain of the toms? if so how would you set it up? Thanks.

Nikhil Ujagare - February 5, 2015 - 12:07 pm

Hey bro can you post or email your tech rider/production guide for sound.. Thanks man!!

JimmyRudder - January 12, 2015 - 10:59 am

Hey Isaac, For the Zion tour,Tennis rig was the hub for all things keyboards and tracks. His personal keyboards and synths were summed into a mixer before they reached me. Outside of that, his rig also generated most of the sounds for the other 2 keys on stage and another rig handled the tracks which were sent to me individually.

Isaac Taleno - January 9, 2015 - 6:08 pm

Curious about Tenni’s keys rig. What does he send you to FOH? Does he run all his software keys and hardware into a small mixer before it reaches to you? Or does he send each keyboard separately through a DI to FOH?

Samuele Pinna - July 29, 2014 - 5:54 am

So the sound of the kick that we hear in the Live in Miami CD is only Beta 52a or blend both mics?

JimmyRudder - July 28, 2014 - 7:10 pm

Hey Victor..We use an e901 inside the kick for the in-ear mixes. J

Samuele Pinna - July 28, 2014 - 7:47 am

Hey Jimmy, did you use a e901 or e912 inside the kick? God bless bro!

JimmyRudder - July 1, 2014 - 3:58 pm

Hey Blake..Its something you can play with both ways..generally I process the drums on the channel strip as usual and send those to my parallel bus. No right answer! Whatever sounds best to you! J

Blake Willis - June 19, 2014 - 10:04 pm

When using parallel compression on your drums, are your compressing them in a group or individually? Also because it’s a live scenario and not controlled are you worried about cymbal bleed? Or are sending processed drums to be parallel compressed?

Vittorio Pinna - June 10, 2014 - 5:23 pm

Hi Jimmy, a simple question that microphone stands used for the drums?
Much love..

JimmyRudder - April 7, 2014 - 5:48 pm

Hey Taylor, Thanks for the note..To clarify I mixed United at Passion 2014.Yes the kick also has a trigger that I combine with the acoustic sound of the drum itself, the same as I do with the snare. There are a few different sounds that are used song to song for different effect, all triggered from the Roland SPD-SX. J

Taylor Gonzalez - April 5, 2014 - 2:05 pm

Hey Jimmy, just found your site. Awesome! Just had a quick question, I’m assuming that you mixed FOH at Passion 2014 and looking at the previous comments about triggering the snare. Was the kick also triggered or just heavily compressed? Also is a drum brain used, or some sort of MIDI program to set off the samples? Thanks!

JimmyRudder - March 5, 2014 - 1:52 pm

Hello again, I tend to do a band group and a vocal group that I will process separately. The only parallel compression I am doing is on the drums. You’re next question is a little tricky..If I understand what you are asking, I would try to use whatever dynamic processing you have to accentuate the energy that the band and singers are giving you while controlling it at the same time.. Having said that, over compression is a very ugly thing! Best of luck! J

JimmyRudder - March 4, 2014 - 6:46 pm

Hey Carlos..Its the Roland.

Carlos Lopez - March 3, 2014 - 5:16 pm

Hey jimmy God Bless, Just wondering what trigger you’re using for Simons snare. Is it DDrum?

Flo - January 21, 2014 - 9:34 am

hey james, it’s me again with a few questions.

did you also use other groups such as guitars, vocals etc that you compress together like you do with the fatso on the drums? and are you using parallel compression?

do you have a good tip to keep the balance between instruments and vocals so that the people that try to sing don’t feel slam down by the volume because that can not hear them self singing?

I’m mixing in a church with 3.000 seats and we often have the problem to have a good powerful mix that don’t blew the people away, when the try to sing.


Jonathan Randall - November 20, 2013 - 1:58 pm

I thought I saw photos of JAD and Michael’s pedalboards from the Zion Tour.

Where can I find those photos?


JimmyRudder - July 21, 2013 - 1:49 pm

Flo, Correct it is a trigger on the snare for effects and the like. It is not really used as a snare sound per say, always blended with the snare microphone. Not sure about the lipsticks sorry! J

Flo - July 15, 2013 - 5:20 am

Hey Jimmy, did Kobes used a triger on his snare? Or is in that one picture just something that looks like a trigger on the snare.

Did you know what Lipstick cameras Dave used? Thanks.

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