Analog & Digital
Todo Audio is in the process of switching from analog to digital consoles, and currently has both in its inventory.
The house console for this show was a Yamaha LS9-32 digital desk, which Moran Jr. also uses for individual channel EQ while still preferring venerable analog Klark Teknik DN360 graphics for overall system equalization.
Effects were supplied by two classics that he really likes – a Lexicon PCM80 and a Yamaha SPX90.
While the company regularly utilizes Rational Acoustics Smaart to assist with system tuning, here Moran Jr. chose to tune solely by ear. He notes that the basic equalization settings for the arrays supplied by SLS provide a solid starting point, especially in an open space.
He typically uses several different types of inputs in his tuning process. First, from the house and other positions, he spoke through a microphone and made a few adjustments based on his vocal response, including the balance of the subs to the arrays.
A tone generator then supplied pink noise as he walked the house to evaluate. After some minor adjustments, the final step was playing very clean music tracks that he’s familiar with, approximating the genre of the upcoming performance. The sources were played with and without the subs.
The front of house location, outfitted with a Yamaha LS9-32 console, as seen during the performance by Sara Leib.(click to enlarge)
Walking the house during system tuning, I found the sound field created by the SLS arrays to be quite consistent in level and coverage when moving from the front to the rear of the area. It seemed that I was in the sweet spot no matter where I stood. Going from side to side, there was only a slight drop in the high-frequency response at the extreme edges of the courtyard, as well as in the direct center line from the stage, where the main aisle was located.
Six monitor mixes were provided on stage to bi-amped NEXO PS10 loudspeakers in monitor (horizontal) position, driven by Yamaha P7000S amps. Four mixes were equalized with more KT DN360s, with the other two mixes handled by a NEXO NX241. The monitor engineer was provided with an older Peavey 24-channel, 8-bus analog mixer still in excellent operating condition.
Instrumentation included keyboard, electric guitar, double bass, and drums. For vocals, Moran Jr. chose a beyerdynamic TG V50d, a dynamic microphone with solid HF response that he considers a good substitute for a condenser. Keys and bass fed the console via a DI.
The Line 6 guitar amp was side-fired across the stage to minimize audience bleed, with a single mic on the edge of the speaker cone. Drums had an AKG D112 on the kick, plus mics on snare, high-hat, and a pair of overheads.
(click to enlarge)
About two hours before show time, jazz artist Sara Leib and her band ran a short sound check. Walking the audience area again, I found the coverage to be remarkably even.
Leib is an accomplished jazz vocalist, performer, and teacher who currently resides in the Los Angeles area. Her band for this show held many of the best jazz players in Guatemala – and having worked together for years, they were tight. German Giordano was the guitarist and leader, with Alejandro Alvarez on bass, Carlos Duarte on keys, and Lionel Franco on drums.
The hour and a half set consisted of jazz standards and a selection of contemporary tunes, all with Leib’s unique arrangements. Standards such as “Night & Day” and “Willow Weep for Me” interspersed with tunes from Ben Harper, Bob Dylan, and even an interpretation of Guns & Roses “Sweet Child of Mine.” From my seat about midway back, intelligibility was superb for both speaking and singing, and Lieb’s voice floated over the accompaniment with presence and authority.
After the show, she thanked Moran Jr. for the excellent sound as well as the well-controlled onstage mix, saying it made her job easier. Later, she sent me an e-mail, noting, “Gonzalo and the company were wonderful, and had by far the best sound equipment and quality that I’ve experienced thus far in Guatemala, and I’ve performed there three separate times. The monitors and mix were also great, so it made the whole experience of the Antigua show my favorite of the tour.”