Last Look Inside BB King’s High-Tech Tour Bus

Legendary guitarist B.B. King never got the blues inside his tour bus, which is complete with serious AV, touch panels, security, lighting control and surround sound.

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The coach also has a 12in touch panel in the rear lounge, an 8in panel in the front lounge, a 6in panel for the driver (also for backup camera) and 4in touch panels in each bunk.

There also is a 12-button keypad up front. All controls are hard-wired.

Other electronics include:

  • 7 Crestron touch panels
  • 8 HDTVs, including two 37in LGs with Triad LCR speakers
  • 13 Lutron motorized shades
  • 6 motorized windows
  • A proprietary 12-relay lighting control system designed by Digital Home Lifestyles
  • 64 zones of lighting
  • Loudspeakers in the luggage bays for music during load-in and load-out
  • Temperature sensors
  • Surround sound systems with Focal and Triad custom speakers
  • 8 headphone jacks that can be used to listen to any source

There are multiple satellite dishes (auto-tracking) to enable eight tuners (four dishes with two tuners each) and occupancy sensors for the bathroom. BB also has an emergency button in the lounge in case he needs something.

Power Management

BB’s electronics require six separate 20-amp circuits and are powered in three different ways: 1) They can be plugged in when the vehicle is stopped; 2) They can run off the engine’s inverters; 3) They can run off a generator.

That constant switching can wreak havoc on the electronics without proper power management. To solve it, the integrator developed some proprietary logic for the Crestron APS unit for switchover sequencing of the power. The system remotely communicates with Digital Home Lifestyles to let the company know about failures. BB can even press a button on the touch panels to send an email requesting a service call.

BB is All About the Technology

BB King is a content hoarder and techie who always wants the latest gadgets, music and movies. Before he had the Kaleidescape servers, he had a tiny table that was cluttered with five portable hard drives and a laptop plugged into a CD recorder.

Daniel says BB had 200 movies on the Kaleidescape servers and 100 TV shows recorded on TiVo within the first month of owning the tour bus.

“The coach is his (and the crew’s) home away from home,” Daniel says. “They don’t sleep in the coach, they stay in hotels every night, but they spend a significant amount of time in there.”