Hog iPC Tours with Nine Inch Nails

New console in control on PRG gig

By Debi Moen for High End Systems News on May 26, 2005

A sea of black clothing surrounded the entrance to Stubbs Bar-B-Q in Austin, fans wilting under the scorching Texas sun. It was hours to go before Nine Inch Nails would take the stage. Standing out from all the black was something shiny and blue and new: a Hog iPC, keeping its cool, ready to do its nightly control of the show.

LD Roy Bennett designed the tour, with lighting director Chad Smith out as board op. Recently, lighting contractor PRG had purchased a number of Hog iPC lighting consoles, so Chad switched out his Wholehog 2 for the new unit with the tour already underway.

"I heard good things about the Hog iPC from Butch Allen, who's using it on Garbage, so I was excited about it," Smith says. "So when we were in Boston, I switched out the day of show. I was freaking out at first, thinking, 'What am I doing?' In this show, there is no room for error, but I felt confident with the console. I powered it up and ran my show and I haven't looked back."

Hog iPC is the newest product in the Wholehog family of controllers, and the industry's first hybrid console -- it's designed to use the Wholehog 3 operating system, but is also backward compatible with the classic Hog2PC software. Shipping began in March from High End Systems' manufacturing headquarters in Austin, TX.

Hog iPC allows up to 7 universes of DMX, so for the large festival tours this summer, Smith will link his original Wholehog 2 -- which he is not using now -- with the Hog iPC and slave the desks together to allow for more fixture control.

Discussing the various features of Hog iPC, Smith enjoys the fast "save show" process. "Saving a show to CD Rom is so much quicker. On the Wholehog 2 is used to take me 10 minutes to save to disk. Now, if I blink, the show is saved on the Hog iPC. The touch screens are rockin' and the key action is nice. The wheels on the bottom of the roadcase are also a great idea."

Smith says the Hog iPC is good for transitioning to the Wholehog 3. "Now I can test out the Wholehog 3 on my own time and make the easy transition when I'm ready," he says.

After a summer of European festivals, Nine Inch Nails returns to North America for an arena tour this fall -- though Smith says the tour will run for a few years in all.

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