Tuesday, May 01, 2012
US Tour Of Million Dollar Quartet Powers Up With Meyer Sound MICA And M’elodie
Having continued successful permanent productions in Chicago and New York, the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet (MDQ) has hit the road with a North American tour. To accommodate venues seating from
1,400 to over 3,000, sound designer Kai Harada specified a Meyer Sound system based around MICA and M’elodie line array loudspeakers.
“My goal was to give the touring crew a system with a lot of flexibility, so they could adjust coverage angles for theatres of all shapes and sizes,” explains Harada. “With the M’elodie center cluster and MICA side arrays, they have all the power they need for bigger houses, along with reliable consistency of sound—a quality at which Meyer systems always excel.”
Inspired by a 1956 recording studio jam session by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Million Dollar Quartet captures a pivotal night in the history of rock ’n’ roll. On the MDQ tour, the lion’s share of the show’s energy is delivered by a split dual center array of 20 M’elodie loudspeakers and the upper and lower side arrays comprising a total of 20 MICA loudspeakers. A left-right configuration of 600-HP subwoofers and a 700-HP at center provide low end, while a total of 16 UPM-1P and UPJunior VariO loudspeakers supplies fill and delay systems as needed. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with four Galileo 616 processors provides drive and optimization.
“This is a rock ’n’ roll show, but it was my goal to preserve the dynamic between the book scenes, the songs, and the big finale,” Harada says. “It’s important to hold a lot of punch in reserve, and this system certainly has it.”
Harada is also the sound designer for resident productions of MDQ at Chicago’s Apollo Theater and off-Broadway at New York’s New World Stages. The New York system is based around a MINA line array in the center with CQ-1 and CQ-2 loudspeakers on the sides, while the wide thrust staging in Chicago also employs CQ-1 loudspeakers with smaller UltraSeries models for delays and fills. PRG Audio supplied all three systems for the touring and resident productions.
Despite the radical differences in venues, Harada credits the Meyer Sound systems with maintaining a uniform sound. “For me, it comes down to consistency and transparency,” he says. “I can focus on bringing the audience closer to what is happening on stage with the confidence that the system won’t adversely color their experience.”
Harada also specified Meyer Sound systems for MDQ’s well-received 2010-11 run on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre and in London at the Noël Coward Theatre in 2011-12.
The book for Million Dollar Quartet was written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott. The Broadway production was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards, with Levi Kreis (Jerry Lee Lewis) winning Best Featured Actor in a musical.
A long-time associate of Broadway sound designer Tony Meola, Kai Harada currently supervises sound for all productions of Wicked, and has designed around the world using Meyer Sound systems, including Hinterm Horizont in Berlin, and the critically acclaimed revival of Follies on Broadway.
The Black Keys Maneuver First Headlining Arena Tour With DiGiCo
The Black Keys, aka Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, have had a big underground following for over a decade but with the success of 2010’s Grammy awarded Brothers and last year’s wildly successful El Camino, they’re in the midst of their first headlining arena tour across the globe.
The tour is also the first time the Black Keys have had the luxury of carrying their own production gear, which includes a DiGiCo SD10 for FOH and an SD8 at monitors, spec’d by longtime engineer Jason Tarulli and provided by Eighth Day Sound. The console’s flexibility and fidelity have given Tarulli and monitor engineer Fabian Quiroga a much-desired consistency from gig to gig.
“I was originally intrigued the first time I had a chance to get behind a DiGiCo board at a show we did in Cleveland around 2009,” Tarulli recalled. “Unfortunately, at that time, we were not carrying audio production of any kind and I never knew what I was going to get into from day to day. But on that day back in 2009, both the PA and DiGiCo SD7 desk were supplied by Eighth Day Sound (also out of Cleveland), and the tech walked me through some of the features and flexibility of the console. I immediately wanted to see more of this desk. Once we got through the basics and I was able to actually hear my mix through the SD7—paired up with a d&b J-Series rig—I was very, very pleased with how it sounded. It was a welcome moment of clarity in a mess of flavor-of-the-day consoles and PA’s.”
It wasn’t until 2011 that the Black Keys started getting big enough to carry full audio production. When asked what he wanted to carry, Tarulli immediately thought back to that show in Cleveland and began asking colleagues what they thought about the DiGiCo desks.
“I spoke with a few other engineers, including Kevin Madigan, whom I’d met through our tour manager at a festival while he was FOH for the Smashing Pumpkins, as well as Jay Rigby, the monitor engineer for Cage the Elephant. They both said essentially the same thing: ‘Get the DiGiCo desk!’ I got in touch with Owen Orzack at Eighth Day and he invited me up to their HQ and I was able to get some hands-on time with the new SD10.
“There were a few things I wanted to sort out before taking out a desk that I had only used once or twice in the past: I wanted to be familiar and confident with the functionality of the board, I wanted the capability of getting a multitrack recording of each show as well as playback for reference through the console, and I wanted to be able to check out the new Waves rack—all of which I was able to do thanks to the user-friendly and flexible layout of the desk and, of course, once again, all of the helpful people at Eighth Day.”
As they have in the past, guitarist/vocalist Auerbach and drummer/vocalist Carney tour as a four-piece, supported by John Wood on keys, rhythm guitar, percussion, and vocals, and Gus Seyffert on bass, rhythm guitar, and vocals. Tarulli is managing approximately 40 inputs from the stage, including 11 mics on the drum kit, a mic and DI on the bass, and each of the six guitar amps has a mic and a direct box patched between the amp output and speaker. Additionally, there are three vocal mics, one for percussion, and two ambient mics set up stage left and stage right for the multitrack recording.
He keeps the setup simple and uncomplicated, relying on some of the console’s key features from presets to built-in plug-ins.
“I haven’t been much into using snapshots with this band. With the way these guys operate onstage and how their flow and feel of each song can differ from show to show, I prefer to follow along as we go rather than get the rug pulled out from under me when the guys decide to change things up on the fly.
“Having said that, I still absolutely rely on saving and recalling presets for all of the built-in comps and gates as well as the Waves plug-ins that I use, as well as having the ability to build macros to control things like delays and reverbs. I also love experimenting with things like bus compression and setting up different control groups for different instruments and vocals. Essentially, I am a huge fan of flexibility and being able to adjust quickly on the fly and having the ability to save and recall it all any time that I need to.
“Generally, I use the DiGiCo built-in comps on most of the channels, as well as the built-in gates for drums. I like the Waves SSL comps on snare drum and the SSL Strip inserted on any buss I may use. I also use a touch of the DiGiCo DDL on vocals from time to time. I keep a very simple approach and try not to get buried in plug-ins and FX, and use them as sparingly as possible to keep the signal path as clear as possible.”
Monitor engineer Fabian Quiroga adopts the same approach in his third tour with the band. With extensive, previous experience working with DiGiCo desks from D5s to SD7s on tours ranging from the Ringling Bros.
Circus to Columbian pop star Juanes, he’s found the SD8 familiar and easy to get around on.
“I keep it very minimal for these guys because they’re very minimal when it comes to their sound; they want to keep it as raw as possible,” he says. “I’ve been able to get most of what I need onboard. I’ve found the multiband compression is helpful and it’s my first time really experimenting with it. Macros are great for all kinds of effects and fading and it’s one of the greatest features of the board. I have 11 inputs coming from Pat, which is average for drums, but from Dan I have 10 inputs from his guitars alone.
“Some of the guitars I only use on certain songs and it’s good to be able to select what channel you want to mute. Same with Gus and John. They start the show with all four of them, but halfway through, Dan and Pat do about 5 songs solo and it’s just a matter of hitting one macro key and I can mute them or unmute with a press of a button.”
To date, only half of the four-piece is on in-ear monitors, with Auerbach and Carney still preferring the floor wedges and side fills.
“I just put Gus and John on ears this run,” Quiroga explains. “They both provide a lot of backup vocals and a lot of falsetto, and with the wedges being so close to their microphones, there was only so much that I could push them. I suggested they go on ears and it’s been a good transition. Pat and Dan are still on wedges and I’d never push ears onto them. They like to work off each other live, and because their music is so free and open, a lot of elements would change if I forced ears on them. But it’s really loud onstage; Dan’s got four guitar cabinets and they’re all pointing directly at me on stage left.
So I decided to go onto ears as well because I can’t expose myself to all that loudness all the time. I’m mixing about 50 percent of the show using them. We’ve got these new Ultimate Ears UE 18 Pros and they sound amazing.”
One of the most basic yet effective features for Quiroga is the talkback feature. “It’s the simple things that really matter and make your day-to-day routine easier, and this is very convenient.”
Having the ability and convenience to manage the consistency of the audio production in this new flush of the band’s success has been a boon for both engineers—and has had a noticeable effect on fans to band alike. And with international dates scheduled through the fall, it should be a smooth ride from here on out.
“Ultimately, I chose the console because of its flexibility and because of its fidelity,” sums Tarulli. “Initially, the challenge for me was to get consistency. In the past, not having the luxury of carrying any audio production, the best I could do was advance a list of things I would like to have and hope for the best. The ideal situation never really seemed to be the norm… ever.
“After a few years of essentially being thrown in front of just about every possible scenario (good and bad), the DiGiCo definitely stood out as one of the best overall-sounding desks. Once we began carrying gear with us, including the DiGiCo SD10s, everything became much more consistent night after night. We’ve also gotten more compliments about the way the shows are sounding, too… more than we have before. I would like to believe that the DiGiCo has been a part of that. I love it, and I know the band loves it too.”
Monday, April 30, 2012
Making It Work: Strategies In Optimizing A Live Club System
Ways to can work around a room and system's shortcomings to deliver high-caliber sound reinforcement
McGonigels Mucky Duck is one of those venues that bands, engineers and fans love. An Irish-style pub in downtown Houston, it’s stage is noted in the folk, jazz, Americana and World Music spheres and has played host to the likes of Joe Ely, Shake Russell, Radney Foster, Kinky Friedman, James McMurtry, Druha Trava, Sarah Jarosz, The Magpies, Iris Dement, Michelle Shocked, Leon Redbone, and hundreds of others.
The official capacity is 140, which in my opinion, would be very packed and uncomfortable. They sell out the 100 or so table seats very fast for most shows, and the remaining tickets are for standing room only. As the website eloquently puts it, “If another chair would fit it would already be there. Sorry, but you can’t bring your own chair.”
The crowd is respectful. To help those who may be visiting for the first time, there are placards on each table reminding people to be quiet, and to silence cell phones. This is one of the best things about the Mucky Duck. They respect the artists. It’s the very definition of a listening room.
The place is not without drawbacks though, and here, I’ll outline some of those shortcomings and discuss ways that visiting engineers can work around them in order to deliver high-caliber sound reinforcement.
A view of the room from house left. (click to enlarge)
Saying the stage is small is being somewhat generous – I’ve seen bigger drum risers. It’s located in a corner, which is both a blessing, in the form of a little extra real estate, and a curse, because the drums will always be too loud. Heavy theatrical drapery around the perimeter of the stage helps quiet reflected stage wash but does little to dampen the natural volume of the drums. The low ceiling doesn’t help either.
There is no house engineer, and management knows precious little except how to get the background music on. Bands are expected to bring their own mix engineer, and that person is usually the sound tech as well. The job is either easy or difficult, depending on the condition the previous engineer/tech left it in.
Luckily the level of talent booked here means that the system is usually zeroed out, and the stands and cables are neatly put away. Almost everyone leaves it a little better than they found it, which is also my philosophy – I don’t want the next guy to work any harder than he has to.
Quiet, please. (click to enlarge)
Both house and monitor systems use EAW loudspeakers, with four SM159z wedges on four separate mixes derived from front of house. Each mix has a 15-band EQ inline. With only 15 bands on the monitor sends, precise feedback taming will not happen. I bring a few XLR “wyes” in order to split the important inputs into two separate channels.
Using different channel strips – one EQ’d for the mains and one for monitors – allows much finer control over the house mix versus the monitor mix.
Main loudspeakers are FR159z, one each hung on the wall stage left and stage right, and two more toward the rear of the room providing fill. There are no subwoofers. And, there’s also no time-alignment on the front or rear loudspeakers, and no processor available to do so.
I solve this problem by bringing in a QSC DSP-4 digital processor, which I insert and use to set a 9-millisecond delay on the front loudspeakers.
When using a house system to supplement the stage volume, instead of overpowering it, delaying the mains to arrive in time with the band is the way to go, at least in my view.
It helps the PA “disappear” and leaves the impression that the band is making all the noise.
I also set a 21-millisecond delay on the rear loudspeakers. With each of them a different distance from the front, I choose a delay time that splits the difference.
The downside of this is minimal because the improvement is quite dramatic, a huge benefit, and no one notices that the rear fills arrive a few milliseconds apart.
The 2-input by 2-output DSP-4 works out great – there aren’t all that many compact DSP units that can be controlled with a laptop available at a reasonable price point on the used gear market. I also like that it’s small enough to fit in my briefcase and uses standard XLR inputs and outputs. (In fact, I like it so much that I own two.)
A QSC DSP-4 buried is handy for augmenting the capabilities of the system, and it can be addressed with Signal Manager software, shown here in “Mucky Duck configuration”. (click to enlarge)
My most recent trip to the Mucky Duck was to support a performance by Max Stalling, a native Texan with a unique musical style that rolls from two-stepping dance numbers to Spanish-guitar-heavy folk music (à la Marty Robbins), with a few waltzes mixed in.
Max sings and plays the acoustic guitar, and is backed by a three-piece rhythm section comprised of Jason Steinsultz on upright bass, Jeff Howe on drums, and Bryce Clark on lead guitar, switching between mandolin, steel string and gut string acoustics, and electric guitar. Both Jason and Bryce sing harmony, and steel guitar player Hank
Early also sat in for this show, I used the band’s own Shure Beta 58s microphones for vocals, a house-supplied AKG D112 on kick, and Shure SM57s on electric guitar and steel. The upright bass and three acoustics all had band-supplied Radial Tonebone preamps and ran direct.
Just one of my AKG 451e condensers was used for drum overhead, to capture the kit as a whole. Jeff (the drummer) switches between sticks, brushes and even sometimes wrapped mallets. I will heavily compress the overhead (remember, the acoustic drum sound is still dominant in the room) so that the details on the brushes and mallets are not lost. Having at least one drum mic also lets me add reverb to this very dry room.
Max is very particular about his monitor mix. Some engineers take this as being a “prima donna” but I’ve found it to be exactly the opposite. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to ask. He can’t state specific frequencies, so there’s a bit of interpretation needed to get his mix the way he wants it, but once he’s comfortable, that’s pretty much that.
The tone that Max wants out from his monitor is not exactly what you want at front of house. He likes things a little dark with plenty of low mids for both his vocal and guitar. Two of the XLR wyes allowed me to split his vocal and acoustic channels so that I was able to give him exactly the tone he wanted in the monitor by using the channel strip EQ. Then I had use of the 15-band graphic for his mix to tame the little bit of feedback that tried to creep in.
After getting the monitors set, I build the front of house mix. The best way to mix in this room is to listen to what’s coming off the stage and only add what’s needed. Trying to overpower the stage volume is a losing battle.
I always start my sound check with the house PA off and just listen to what’s happening on stage, and then work to fill in the missing bits that will help make the performance “pop.” I’ve noted several times that it seems like I’m cutting too much low-mid out of the house, but that’s usually O.K. because the monitors provide all of the low-mid energy one could ever want.
I get the vocals up to a good level, over the stage volume, and only after do I work in the other instruments. Generally the drums and amplified instruments are fine coming straight off the stage. On the recent gig with Max, I needed a touch of the electric guitar and steel, but none of the bass and kick drum.
Jeff plays a kit of Slingerland Radio Kings from the 1940s. These drums are big and loud. The kick is a huge 14 inches by 26 inches and uses a ported head. (Back in the “good old days” the drums had to fend for themselves, and this set gives you all the stage volume you need!)
But here, because were already plenty loud in the house, I used the overhead high-passed around 100 Hz and compressed at a 6 to 1 ratio with about 12 to 15 dB of reduction on the loud parts to add definition and to help keep the mix cohesive all the way to the back of the room. It was also used to feed the reverb.
The Allen & Heath GL2400 that does house and monitor duties, along with a rack of all house and monitor system processors.(click to enlarge)
The house console is a 24-channel Allen & Heath GL2400, a step above what you find in many clubs the size of the Mucky Duck. Most bands will not fully mic the drums, so 24 channels gives me plenty of room to split channels as needed.
I maximize the two available channels of compression on the venue’s dbx 1066 by inserting each on a bus and assigning several like channels to that bus. I used one compressed bus for the drums and another for the lead acoustic and a gut string acoustic that are featured prominently in the band.
There are also two Lexicon effects units – MPX110 and MX400 – on hand to add ambiance. To create a sense of space in this dry, tightly packed room, I used a trick that I’ve implemented in most of my live mixes for the past couple of years. I select a very short and transparent “room” style reverb and send the entire band to it, typically applying about a half second of decay and zero pre delay.
Then, I bring it up in the house until it can be heard clearly, then back it down to just on the edge of being noticed. If the reverb is muted, a change can be heard, but it’s not something you can pinpoint. I find that this really takes a tight mix and glues it together even more – the band is all playing in the same “room” together because they all have the same decay time.
If you’re lucky enough to have a gig in the Mucky Duck, be prepared to bring your A game. It’s bit challenging, but once the mix is dialed in you can be sure you’re mixing for a crowd that truly appreciates what you’re doing.
Tim Weaver is the owner of Weaver Imaging, an audio, lighting, and projection provider based in College Station, TX. He has been a professional sound engineer for 18 years, working across all genres.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Mix Engineer Ken Newman Chooses Soundcraft Vi6 Console For Barry Manilow Tour
The current tour by Barry Manilow—his first U.S. tour of the decade—has front of house engineer Ken Newman providing the mix with a Soundcraft Vi6 digital console.
“In mixing this show, I have to make it sound exactly the way Barry wants it to,” explains Newman, who is also owner of Newman Audio, Inc. “While some artists leave the sound to their engineers, Barry is very involved in rehearsal and sound check and will sit right next to me and tell me exactly how he wants to hear something.
“He is very particular about what should be heard because he put together many of the arrangements and wants the audience to feel the music the way it is intended to be felt.
“We’re using a trimmed-down band setup, but we want it to sound like we have 30 to 40 musicians,” continues Newman, who worked with Manilow from 1992 through 2002 as his front of house mixer. “As a result, the biggest challenge of mixing this show is keeping up with the changes of a very active mix. There’s always something that needs attention. The logical layout and five illuminated touchscreens of the Vi6 make this part of the job much easier.
“Another key aspect is that the reverb has to be right,” Newman adds. “It’s critically important to him and has to sound good no matter what the venue. If I turn on the console and I don’t have the reverb up, Barry will say it sounds wrong. If the reverb is up and it sounds right, he is happy.”
Newman had to get ready for rehearsals quickly—and use a digital live console for the first time. “The last time I toured with Barry the console was analog, and from 2002 to 2011 when I was working for a corporate events firm I spent most of my time working on analog and smaller digital consoles,” Newman notes. “When I got the call for the tour, I wondered how I was going to be able to do it.”
The console selection process was quite involved, Newman points out. “I knew it would be totally impractical to use an analog console for the tour, and I looked at a number of digital consoles and what other music shows were using,” Newman said. “I didn’t feel confident that I’d be able to get the sound I was looking for with some of the consoles, as their internal effects and processing were marginal at best. With others, the control surfaces just weren’t going to cut it for an old analog guy like me. Some consoles seemed too complicated to learn in the short time I had, or were just not the right ‘fit’ for me.”
Newman asked the advice of Dave Lawler of Docktrdave Audio Inc. of Burbank, California. “My friend Dave Lawler suggested the Soundcraft Vi6. I could immediately see how operator-friendly it was with its five display screens, three user-configurable input fader configurations and other features. For me it was like the time I got my first Macintosh computer in 1984 after having used DOS-based computers.”
“I need to see what is going on one channel at a time, and the Vi6 offers great access to everything and not limiting me when I’m mixing, in a console that’s so nicely sized,” Newman added. “The Vi6 is also intuitive enough where if I don’t know exactly how to do something at first, I can figure it out easily enough.”
“I’m using all 64 inputs from the stage, as well as the majority of the local rack inputs and outputs,” Newman pointed out. “I’m using the board’s internal processing for most of the inputs, and I have two external tube audio compressors for the main and spare vocal mics. I’m using some other external effects because they’re the exact same units I had for the 2002 Manilow tour and I’m familiar with them. Given time and rehearsals, I might be able to eliminate some of those effects because the Vi6’s built-in Lexicon effects, compressors and gates sound so great.”
“This tour is the first time I’ve used the Soundcraft Vi6 for anything! Talk about putting something to the test – but I feel like I’ve found a new friend in the Vi6, and I look forward to using it for many years to come.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 04/26 at 01:21 PM
Eristoff Invasion 2012 Pulsates With D.A.S. Audio
In early March at Amanora Park Town, the second installment of this year’s Eristoff Invasion Festival took place with one the world’s foremost music makers, DJ David Guetta, as the show’s headlining act.
Guetta’s pulsating sounds projected over the audience from an impressive sound reinforcement system comprised of D.A.S. Audio Aero and Aero Series 2 line arrays.
Sound & Light Professionals (SNL Pro) of Mumbai, a major provider of sound reinforcement systems, was contracted to provide the sound system for the event. After consulting with festival organizers Only Much Louder, in partnership with UKNY Music (a leading UK-based music and events company), the decision was made to deploy D.A.S. Audio Aero 50 large format, 3-way line array loudspeakers, Aero 218 Sub enclosures, along with Aero 12A powered, 2-way, mid-high line array elements.
D.A.S. Audio Systems Engineer, Ron Koh, served as a consultant on the project and helped coordinate the logistics of the sound system along with the core crew of SNL Pro. Ultimately, the setup for the house mains consisted of 24 Aero 50 enclosures—flown 12 elements per cluster for the left/right sides. Twelve Lab Gruppen PLM-10000Q power amps— operating at 4 ohms per channel, with two Aero 50 enclosures per amplifier—drove the loudspeakers.
An additional three D.A.S. Audio Aero 12A powered line array elements were ground stacked up front. These loudspeakers served in a front fill capacity to ensure audience members up close to the stage received proper coverage.
Low frequency support was provided by a whopping 28 Aero 218 Sub enclosures. These high performance subwoofers employ a front-loaded, bass-reflex configuration that houses two 18-inch low frequency transducers. These sub bass enclosures were ground stacked—14 cabinets per side. The subwoofers were driven by seven Lab Gruppen PLM-10000Q power amps.
In addition to the primary sound system setup, an additional 12 Aero 50 line array elements were configured as a delay system. Six Aero 50 loudspeakers were placed for both the left and right delay clusters. As with the Aero 50’s used for the house mains, Lab Gruppen PLM-10000Q power amps—operating at 4 ohms per channel, 2 Aero-50 enclosures per amplifier—provided plenty of drive.
Hassane Es Siahi, an audio engineer with Adlib Sound, Light, and Visual Solutions of Liverpool, England, served as the FOH system operator for David Guetta. Manning a Digidesign Venue SC48 mixing console, Siahi reports that the system performed wonderfully and provided excellent coverage throughout the 80 meter length of the audience area. The sound pressure level at FOH (35 meters from the stage) was reported at 108 dB(A) Peak. “This is the best D.A.S. System I have heard and you can quote me on that,” Siahi said.
Reflecting on the performance of the sound system, Kamesh Patel, system engineer at SNL Pro, offered these parting thoughts, “We received countless compliments on the sound system’s performance. In addition to many positive comments from audience members, the show’s organizers were equally pleased. The D.A.S. Audio loudspeaker setup performed flawlessly and provided clear, consistent coverage throughout the entire audience area.” Manish Mavani, Director of SNL Pro, expressed the success of this event for his company, “We couldn’t be happier with the results, as we have already been booked for a few more upcoming electronics dance music festivals such as the 3-day Sunburn Summer Festival in Mumbai.”
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Stanco Productions Covers Motivation Summit With Martin Audio
The recent National Achiever’s Congress meeting brought together entrepreneur/billionaire Donald Trump, peak performance coach Tony Robbins, best-selling authors Robert Kiyosaki (“Rich Dad, Poor Dad”), Harv Eker (“Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”) and a number of other motivational speakers to San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center.
Audio production and staging for the unique event was handled by Stanco Productions of St. Louis, with technical director Sam Wehrmeyer heading up a crew that included A1 and system designer Justin Slazas, system tech and A2 Brad Galvin, and A2 Matt Nichols.
Stanco chose to utilize 32 Martin Audio W8LCs, 12 W8LM and four W8LMD downfill cabinets based on a design using Martin Audio Display modeling software. In addition to XTA226 processing, Stanco opted for Yamaha M7CL consoles and Crown Audio amplification.
“For this kind of event, Martin’s smooth, even coverage allows us to get the gain we need out of lavs and podium mics,” explains Wehrmeyer. “That, plus the enclosures’ high output and light weight is key when we’re rigging in convention centers.
“We had 8,000 people to cover with spoken word and not a lot of time to get it in,” he continues. “Not to mention that with Tony Robbins we need to get high SPL out of the rig too. Martin gave us the confidence to build it in Display, play with different options in the software, and know that it would be spot on when it was installed, period. That is why we call on Martin when we need perfection.”
Success Resources was responsible for organizing the event and hiring Stanco for the production. According to Wehrmeyer, “Owner Michael Burnett and events manager Rachel Bourke said ‘they turn to Stanco when they want it done right. It always sounds and looks so good and everything flows seamlessly.’ Based on the success of the San Jose event, the next NAC slated for the East coast in the second half of the year is already in the works.”
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
C.Vilar Puts Adamson’s Project Energia To The Test
Adamson Systems Engineering is proud to announce the addition of the first Energia Beta partner in Latin America.
Bogota, Colombia based C.Vilar Amplificacion LTDA, has been a long time Adamson user, with one of the largest Adamson inventories in South America.
C.Vilar provides production for high profile shows, tours, festivals and installations. Recent Colombian productions with C.Vilar at the helm include FIFA, Coldplay, US President Barack Obama’s recent visit, The Cartagena Classic Music Festival, Rock al Parque and The Bicentennial Celebrations of Colombia in Bogota.
With a series of ‘new generation’ line arrays to choose from C.Vilar had do their homework.
Sound Designer Leonardo Vilar comments: “Energia’s global network is growing rapidly and it’s exciting to be a part of the vision from the beginning. Energia is without question the world’s leading concept as far as innovation and interactivity is concerned.
“Many of Adamson’s competitors have launched products with small incremental improvements in their driver technology, but no one has a package quite as revolutionary as the short and long term vision of Project Energia.”
C.Vilar also stocks Adamson Y18, Y10, T21, SpekTrix, Metrix, SX18 and M series.
Monday, April 23, 2012
AED Rent Consolidates L-Acoustics Inventory With Further Investment
AED Rent in Belgium has boosted its L-Acoustics inventory with the purchase of a substantial amount of new components. The company has added 96 KARA modular WST line source cabinets, 66 of the new ARCSII constant curvature WST line source cabinets, 50 SB28 subwoofers and 36 LA-RAK touring racks to their professional AV rental stock.
AED Rent account manager Koen Conaerts cites a number of different reasons for the investment, including this year’s large-scale sporting events such as the 2012 Olympics and UEFA Euro 2012 football championship and, in general, to support their AV clients through a busy summer.
“This year is a special one, and there are a lot of L-Acoustics users that need more equipment,” says Conaerts. “We can now provide them with that extra equipment. We specifically bought the LA-RAKs as we’re updating our stock to the K-Standard; with a huge stock like ours it takes some years to arrive at that point, and now we are almost there.”
Adds L-Acoustics sales manager Tim McCall, “Such substantial and ongoing investment in L-Acoustics systems underlines the very close and successful relationship that AED andL-Acoustics enjoy. AED was very quick to pick up on the benefits of the standard LA-RAK infrastructure for its business model, as well as to see the excellent technical and business reasons for investing in our newer systems such as KARA and ARCSII. We know that AED will be very busy this summer supporting their customers across Europe and we wish them all possible success in this unique year and many more to come.”
Powersoft Provides Audible Difference At Annual Trinidad And Tobago Carnival
This year’s Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, held annually on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, featured Powersoft K20 amplifiers powering the sound reinforcement systems utilized on multiple stages for the event.
This year marked the second year that Mario Sound & Entertainment has provided the sound reinforcement systems for the carnival. The only difference this year was that they utilized the Powersoft amplifiers recently added to their system inventory.
“Our investment in multiple K20 Powersoft amplifiers has been an excellent decision,” explains Mario Ahing, managing director of Mario Sound & Entertainment. “The K20s provide incredible power in one rack unit with the lowest weight and highest efficiency.”
With rack smaller and lighter than used before the company has experienced improved logistics for each gig with less space required in the truck and easier load in and load out.
“The energy savings are equally impressive,” continues Ahing. “Our customers recognize and appreciate the improved performance on both the low frequency and high frequency sections of the audio spectrum of our systems.”
Although temperatures can change dramatically during the carnival, the Powersoft K20s continued demonstrate remarkable reliability and durability. Loading down to 2 ohms, all of the amplifiers ran cool without any issues. The K20s powered multiple EAW KF 850, KF852, SB850 and JBL CSR82l loudspeakers in the most efficient way without a any problems.
Mario Sound & Entertainment intend to expand the range of Powersoft amplifiers they currently offer, adding more K20s as well as other K series models.
“Powersoft solutions give real value for money, quality of sound, flexibility, reliability and efficiency,” Ahing concludes. “Powersoft makes an audible difference in our systems.”
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Soundcraft Vi1 Delivers It Strait For Matthew Manasse
When members of Dire Straits got back together for a one-off charity event at the Albert Hall, sound engineer Matthew Manasse was asked to look after the front of house mix.
The incredible response to the event led to repeated demands for the band to play again—and so ‘The Straits’ took to the road. This culminated in a full European tour recently that saw Matthew Manasse mixing the shows on a Soundcraft Vi1.
Having toured with some of the biggest names in the industry, from Dave Brubeck and Katie Melua to Rufus Wainwright and Pink, Manasse is highly regarded in the world of professional audio.
However, in a world of ever tightening budgets he had become disillusioned with the touring market and left it to concentrate on running his new venture, Bluefish Live Events, to service the corporate events market.
But The Straits tour proved irresistible and as an early champion of Soundcraft’s Vi6, he had no hesitation in turning again to the company’s digital platform.
The Vi1 was provided by Sound Technology, Harman’s distributor in the UK and ROI.
“I really loved the Vi6 so when the Vi1 was suggested I was initially a little concerned that its compact size might make it difficult or slow to navigate,” he admitted. “There are only 16 input faders visible at any one time and with 44 inputs from the stage I was worried that I’d be constantly switching between the layers and that this would take my attention away from the mix.”
Fortunately, Soundcraft was one step ahead.
“There are five user definable fader layers so I’ve been able to group together the inputs that I need for different elements of the show,” Manasse said. “Accessing the right channel has never been so easy. With sound levels ranging from around 70dB up to the dramatic peaks of around 108dB, I needed a digital console that was versatile, small and flexible and that could handle that dynamic range without running out of headroom.”
The system has been programmed so there is a page for the opening number, a different page for the rocky songs and a third for the more acoustic ones.
“On each of these fader pages I have the key input channels visible that I know I’ll need to access quickly,” Matthew continued. “Obviously some channels, such as the lead vocal, will appear on all these pages but that’s what makes this desk so flexible. I always have the inputs I need at my fingertips.”
Whereas previously he would simply recall a snapshot for every song, with the user definable layers he’s decided to mix the show on the fly, making the experience a lot more fun.
“This has the effect of keeping the whole mix fresh as I have to stay completely involved.”
The other area where the console scores highly is on the output section. Concert Sound Clair, which has a long history with both Manasse and Dire Straits, is providing a monitor system and FOH control for the tour.
“As we aren’t able to carry a full PA system, CSC had given me an advanced processor as part of the package so that I could take complete control of the house systems that I’m using—but due to the number of matrix outputs on the Vi1, all with delay and EQ, I haven’t needed it once,” Manasse added.
CSC also provided a Vi stagerack, adding 64 mic/line inputs on stage to the 32 on the back of the console, which was a further bonus. The sound engineer noted that since the Soundcraft preamps are modelled on the Studer, this provided him with “an exceptional sound.”
The Vi1 also offers four Lexicon effects engines, which Manasse has been using sparingly on percussion, acoustic guitar, sax, vocals and the signature National steel guitar. “I am a huge fan of the built-in Lexicon effects,” he said, “and the Vistonics interface on the Vi1 makes it is so much more flexible and intuitive.”
One facility on the Vi1, which he regards as essential, is the input channel delay.
“A few years ago I started to experiment with time alignment and now apply this to every mic on stage; it’s time consuming but the results speak for themselves as there is a marked increase in clarity and depth within the mix. The big advantage is that I can keep the acoustic guitars sounding like acoustic guitars, I don’t have to use the EQ to make them cut through as I’m already creating the ‘space’ with the time correction. By reducing the amount of ‘mess’ onstage I can keep the whole band sounding more natural.”
With Gareth Lewis on monitors and Nick Belshaw tour managing, the house engineer reflects on a thoroughly enjoyable tour of duty, before he again replaces the world of circuit venues (averaging out at around 1,500 capacity), to four and five star hotel conference and banqueting rooms.
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