Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Brescia Summer Festival Hosts Anastacia’s Resurrection World Tour With Outline
Cipiesse supports festival in Italy's Piazza della Loggia with GTO C-12 modules and DBS 18-2 subwoofers.
Since its debut edition in 1997, Brescia Summer Festival has hosted artists of the calibre of David Bowie, Joe Cocker, Elton John, Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
Festival headliners were treated to sound reinforcement from Outline while performing in Piazza della Loggia.
This year, the Italian city’s picturesque Renaissance square hosted Billy Idol, Van Morrison and Anastacia, in Italy on a leg of her Resurrection World Tour.
As all the other artists on the program, the Chicago-born singer, with her unmistakable raunchy voice, used Outline loudspeakers, put at her disposal by local rental firm Cipiesse, founded in 1979.
Festival audio chief Giancarlo Paladini, explains: “The PA was made up of nine Outline GTO C-12 modules per side plus three Outline Mantas on downfill chores for the front rows of seats, which were close to the stage. We used eight DBS 18-2 subs per side, and four LIPF 082 on frontfill duty.
Although this might seem an over-sized rig, it enabled us to avoid pushing the system – which in fact was almost always run at half volume – and the twin 12-inch speakers in the GTOs we chose for the main hangs ensured really nice low frequencies, appreciated by the various front of house engineers.”
The subs were ground-installed in end-fire configuration, ensuring optimum performance and keeping the stage completely free, and the all-Outline powerhouse comprised twenty-four T11 amplifiers.
The square is fifty metres wide and seventy long and surrounded by buildings from 23 to 26 feet high but, in spite of the size of the venue, Giancarlo Paladini comments: “It was almost a case of plug & play, with just a pair of small adjustments on mid-mid/low frequencies, to limit the square’s reflections, rather than correcting the system. The various guests’ productions only made a few small tweaks of around 2-3 dB on some frequencies, for personal taste and the timbre they wanted to give their artists, but never for any problems with the system’s operation.”
Front and side walls are always a problem as far as reflection is concerned, however, thanks to prior work with OpenArray software, very accurate simulations were obtained, enabling to forecast results and configure the set-up accordingly.
There were spectators at the sides as well as out front, with the audience occupying the full 40-metre width of the square. The side seating began a few rows further back than those in the centre, but the three Mantas enclosures systems enabled them to be covered as well.
Paladini concluded: “Anastacia’s production team didn’t have any particular requests and in fact her front of house engineer was very satisfied with the Outline system’s performance after testing the set-up and didn’t change anything before the show.”
Pilsen Celebrates European Capital Of Culture Designation With Adamson
ZL Production provides sound reinforcement for the celebration with E12 line arrays supported by E219 and E218 subwoofers.
ZL Production, located in Pilsen, Czech Republic, provided Adamson Systems Engineering sound reinforcement for the city’s kick-off celebration as the European Capital of Culture for 2015.
ZL Production, a long-time user of Adamson products, recently increased their Adamson inventory with 24 E-Series E12 line arrays and 16 E219 subwoofers.
Those products join an already substantial amount of Adamson gear including Y10 and SpekTrix line arrays, T21 and SpekTrix subwoofers and M15 and M12 state monitors.
“We have been using Adamson products for events since our technical department started and have always been pleased with that decision,” adds Jan Lippert, ZL Production.
“The development of Adamson products and their evolution as a company have closely mirrored our company. We are extremely happy with our mutual success.”
The European Capital of Culture is designated by the European Union and rotates annually to different European cities.
ZL Productions provided sound reinforcement for the entire show including top Czech interprets and Swiss tightrope walker David Dimitri during their performances on the city’s Republic Square to kick of the festivities.
“25,000 people attended the celebration,” adds Lippert. “We provided 36 Adamson E12 line array enclosures for the main PA. Low end was supported by 16 E219 and eight E218 subwoofers. Julien Poirot from DV2 along with Ondřej Tureček (ZL production`s) designed a system that would provide consistent coverage throughout the square.”
One of the unique aspects of the event was that there were seven additional Adamson Systems arrays (42 SpekTrix enclosures) deployed at surrounding sites in Pilsen that were tied to the main PA in the town square. The audio systems from all stages were used simultaneously for a song composed especially for the event that combined videomapping, theatrical performance, and acrobats. The rest of the Adamson SpekTrix and Y-10 line arrays provided sound at video screens that were located in contiguous streets.
“It was really quite spectacular,” concludes Lippert. “What a tremendous event to roll out our new Adamson PA. Everyone was quite pleased with the end result and the teamwork it represented.”
Adamson Systems Engineering
Bénabar Tours With DPA Microphones
Sound engineer Philippe Bouic switches the French singer to d:facto vocal microphones for recent tour.
DPA Microphones was selected by the sound team behind the French singer-songwriter Bénabar, for his recently completed live tour using the d:facto II vocal microphone.
Veteran sound engineer Philippe Bouic has been working with Bénabar since 1999 and was responsible for choosing DPA d:facto vocal microphones for the artist’s recent live shows on the recommendation of Audio2, DPA’s distributor in France.
“I had heard people talk about this new microphone, and I wanted to try it,” Bouic says.
“I compared it with others brands and, after consulting with my monitor man, we decided to use d:facto for this tour. We were particularly impressed by its natural sound and the timbre of the microphone. It doesn’t add any colouration as it is very neutral, which makes it very respectful of the voice or instruments it is capturing. I also like the fact that the frequency range is wide and that it extends from deep, low frequencies through to those at the top of the range.”
Bénabar’s uniquely French, chanson-influenced style means he is usually accompanied by a piano, accordion or brass section.
“The voice, in the mix, is detached, which makes for very good comprehension. When singing in French, it’s especially important for the lyrics to be easily understood,” Bouic explains.
Bouic had the experience of using DPA microphones previously, in 2006, when Bénabar was on tour and using his trademark acoustic piano. On that occasion he used a d:dicate 4021 compact cardioid microphone, which has now been replaced by the d:dicate 4011C.
“This is a microphone that I use all the time when I’m working with an acoustic piano sound,” he explains. “However, on this tour we used d:vote 4099 instrument microphones on the horn section (a trumpet, saxophone and trombone) as well as on the cello and the double-bass. They are incredibly small, versatile and easy to use – plus they sound amazing.”
And it won’t be the last time that DPA, Bouic and Bénabar will team up. “DPA will definitely be part of the next Bénabar tour as we all want to use the company’s microphones again,” he says “When it comes to live music, DPA is the go-to brand - I love them.”
Bénabar was nominated in the Victoires de la Musique awards 2003 and in 2004 won the award for Chanson/Variété of the year. In 2007, he won awards for Male Group or Artist of the Year and Original Song of the Year. He has released 11 albums and his current release is Bénabar: Inspirée de Faits Réel.
Meyer Sound LYON Supports Northern Lights At Canada’s Parliament Buildings
Surround experience with 9.1 configuration deployed to support images projected against the 30-story-high Centre Block and Peace Tower.
Canada’s Parliament Buildings in Ottawa recently served as the backdrop for Northern Lights, a free outdoor sound and light show that brings to life key figures, events, and achievements from Canadian history.
To provide an immersive surround experience, a uniquely designed 9.1 configuration of Meyer Sound LYON linear sound reinforcement loudspeakers was deployed to deliver narration, sound effects, and a score supporting images projected against the 30-story-high facade of the Centre Block and Peace Tower.
“LYON is light, small, efficient, and performs beautifully,” reports Jean-Sébastien Coté, NEO6 technical director, who co-designed the system with colleague André Biron.
“For Northern Lights we need lots of throw as the audience is sometimes far away, and the center channel, mostly used for voiceover, has to cover a wide area.”
The new LYON-based system is built on a system design for Mosaika, a previous show in the same location that featured M3D line array and JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers.
“With a lot of spoken word content, intelligibility is even more critical than with the former system,” says Biron, who designed playback, routing, and synchronization for Northern Lights. “This is a very popular event, and I’m happy with the new sound system design.”
The system’s directionality is also a benefit, according to Pierre Renaud, senior technical director for the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Capital Experience project. “Parliament Hill is a large, square, open space surrounded by tall buildings,” says Renaud. “Slap back has always been a concern with amplified programs. The ability to steer the program material enables us to maximize intelligibility.”
The system features five LYON-W wide-coverage loudspeakers, with three for the center channel and one-each for left and right surround channels. Three M3D-Sub directional subwoofers are placed behind the center channel, two-each M3D loudspeakers deliver left and right channels, one-each JM-1P loudspeaker delivers far left and right channels, and four, center-positioned M1D line array loudspeakers are divided into left and right channels. A Galileo Calisto loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 408 processors and one Galileo Calisto 616 array processor provides system drive and alignment.
Hidden during the day, the entire system was deployed via an automated hydraulic platform each night. Quebec-based NEO6 provided technical direction, integration, and programming, along with media servers and other equipment. Marc Ouellette was the audio composer.
Presented by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Northern Lights runs every summer through 2019.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Detroit-Based Burst Delivers Reinforcement At Pemberton Music Festival In British Columbia
Deploys system headed by d&b audiotechnik line arrays and subwoofers for all main stage performers
Detroit-based Burst recently provided sound reinforcement for the main stage at the four-day music Pemberton Music Festival, held near Mount Currie in British Columbia.
The festival, which drew more than 115,000 attendees, offered multiple stages of live entertainment, including rock, indie rock, hip-hop, electronic, heavy metal and comedy. Burst deployed a system headed by d&b audiotechnik line arrays and subwoofers for all main stage performers, including headliners The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Tiesto, Hozier, Kid Cudi, and Missy Elliot.
Specifically, the system consisted of left-right line arrays, each made up of 14 J8 and four J12 array modules. Low end was covered by two arrays of four JSUBS flown behind the main PA along with 2x2 JSUBs ground stacked under each array. Six Y10P loudspeaker took care of front fill.
Left-right delay towers provided coverage for the further out seating areas. An array consisting of six V8 and two V12 hung from each tower. The complete system was powered by 12 D80 racks, each with three d&b D80 amplifiers.
“The client was extremely pleased with the coverage and fidelity of the system,” says Burst owner Scott Ciungan. “The range and low end is terrific – weather is was comedy or EDM – the system delivered exactly what was needed.”
Burst equipped both the front of house and monitor positions were equipped with Avid D-Show digital consoles, which Ciungan notes “is a work horse.” Front of house also utilized a Venue Rack, Stage Rack and a Lake LM44 processor. The monitor position was equipped with another Stage Rack and Venue Rack.
The monitor rig include six V8 loudspeakers and four V Series subwoofers, split left and right. Twelve M2 bi-amped monitor wedges were on hand for performance purposes. DJ monitoring was handled by eight L-Acoustics Kara loudspeakers and four dv-SUB subwoofers. Burst also had an assortment of Shure wireless microphone and Sennheiser IEM systems available for artists.
“We received a number of compliments on the PA from the visiting engineers,” Ciungan says. “Everyone was thrilled to work on such a well-known and respected PA. All in all it was an amazing four days of music.”
Chicago And Earth, Wind & Fire Tour With Martin Audio MLA
MLA, MLA Compact and MLX subwoofers for just-completed "Heart and Soul Tour 2015" at amphitheaters, casinos and arenas
Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire recently wrapped up their co-headlining “Heart and Soul Tour 2015” of amphitheaters, casinos and arenas with a Martin Audio MLA system provided by Delicate Productions of LA and San Francisco.
One of the main challenges for the tour besides scaling the PA system for different venues was the fact that both bands open and closed each show with “greatest hits” medleys featuring 21 musicians and vocalists on stage at the same time. The crews were faced with the challenge of finding and maintaining 47 clear active channels of wireless for the musicians and vocalists during the medleys plus mixing for both bands without too much volume.
As Nate Lettus, front of house engineer for Chicago who had mixed with a MLA Compact system on a previous tour explains, “The biggest challenge for the medleys and the shows in general is overall volume, trying to keep everything under control. We have a lot of energy onstage and can end up with a big powerful sound and these bands don’t sound that good at really high volumes. I find my levels are pretty consistent, especially with the Martin Audio MLA system.
“The boxes sound really smooth from bottom to top,” he adds. “I’m actually rolling off some high end because there’s so much of it, which is good because I’d rather have more than less. We’ve got plenty of low-end with six MLX subs per side that are tight and punchy. The show just sounds so good and I’m barely doing anything, my inputs are just high passed and my outputs are barely touched on a day-to-day basis.”
Typically, the MLA setup for amphitheaters is either 12 or 14 MLA and 1 MLD (downfill) cabinets per side with six to eight MLA Compacts for outfills and side hangs. Six MLX subs per side are ground-stacked on the floor or the stage depending on space in the venue or sightlines. For the arenas, the system included 16 MLA per side, a side hang of 12 MLA Compact and a 270 degree hang of 10 MLA Compact.
This tour was the first time Earth Wind & Fire front of house engineer Terry “TJ” Jackson mixed with the MLA system. “The first day I heard the system it sounded really clean with a lot of high end,” he states. “A high fidelity type sound, which I really like. It’s easy to get the vocal out which is very important. I would definitely recommend the speakers without question. They’re very controllable and sound really good, I’d put them on the rider.”
Considering the problems Chicago monitor engineer Scott Koopman and his EWF counterpart Terrence Chism had coordinating and mixing close to 50 wireless frequencies and controlling ambient noise on stage, the MLA system was a welcome addition.
“You’ve got a lot of microphones on stage with the potential to pick up ambience,” explains Koopman, “especially in a venue where FOH is mixing louder than normal and we’re getting a lot of crowd noise or the room is naturally loud. The sound can get messy really quickly. Using the full MLA system greatly improved rejection on stage, especially from the sub-bass, which is a huge deal with Chicago because it’s hard for the horn players to find their pitch when there’s a lot of sound washing up on stage. They feel they have to play over it which often causes more problems.”
DiGiCo SD10 (Lettus) and Soundcraft Vi6 (Jackson) consoles were deployed at front of house. For monitors, Koopman combined a DiGiCo SD10 with Sennheiser G3 in-ear wireless and Shure SR4D wireless systems while Chism used a DiGiCo SD5 with Sennheiser G3 in-ear monitoring systems.
Delicate Productions MLA audio tech Kyle Anderson concludes, “MLA is a great sounding box right off the bat and makes a lot of things easier. It does the processing for me, so once I get my angles, set it up and do my optimization, it pretty much sounds good everywhere in the room. I’ll still do some time aligning and adjust a few EQ settings for the room in the software. But once you put that stuff in, everywhere you tell it to sound good will sound good.
“Here’s a good example of how the software can help out. There was a top tier for the Pepsi Center at the side hang which we hadn’t expected to be sold so we didn’t cover that zone. But when I found out that the ticket sales grew, we were able to splay the coverage upwards for that whole area just by using the DSP and software as the show was happening. You can’t really do that with any other speaker that I’ve used. It’s a real advantage to change the coverage quickly without changing the angles on the boxes or redeploying the speakers.”
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Larry Estrin: A Life Of Innovation And Leadership
Involved with countless landmark events and created numerous "firsts" in a career that spanned well over 50 years
Noted innovator and leader Larry Estrin has passed away following a battle with illness, leaving an indelible mark on professional audio and broadcast in numerous impactful ways.
Larry was involved with countless landmark events in a career that spanned well over 50 years, such as the first multi-satellite global broadcast of a major concert, live stereo broadcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, stereo broadcasts of the Grammys and Academy Awards, as well as numerous other high-profile projects for the White House, NFL and Disney.
He was the co-founder of Hollywood Sound Systems in 1960, and went on to serve as the road manager for legendary Hawaiian performer Don Ho at the height of his popularity. He also served as director and CEO of The Filmways Audio Group, which included Wally Heider Recording (16 studios in Los Angeles and San Francisco).
In 1980, he co-founded BEST AUDIO, which continues to this day. Along the way came numerous “firsts,” including:
—Member of the creative design team that developed the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland, specifically responsible for conceiving the synchronized sound system design.
—Conceived and implemented the first use of wireless microphones for referees of National Football League (NFL) games. (As he said, “I don’t always know what the hand signals mean. Let’s let the referee explain it.”)
—Provided production management, broadcast, media and stadium audio and production communications for 19 consecutive Super Bowls.
—Engineered and implemented the first stereo recording and broadcast of the Academy Awards.
—Engineered and implemented the first stereo simulcast of the Grammy Awards.
—Developed and implemented the first remote audio mobile unit designed exclusively for television.
—Audio design consultant for the first two years of the iconic Saturday Night Live on NBC (1975-1976).
—And much more. See Larry’s resume here.
Larry where he loved to be: working at a large-scale event.
Long-time friend and colleague Mac Kerr adds, “Larry was the person who conceived of the method of using carts to get the sideline PA on the field for Super Bowls. Prior to that we set up truss towers and flew a PA on the sideline in the 7-minute commercial break. He was the audio director for many Super Bowls, political conventions and all the televised political debates prior to his illness this year. He was the audio director for the last two papal visits to the U.S., overseeing locations at every appearance by the Pope, and the audio director for the opening ceremonies of most of the Olympics since LA.
“Larry was a loyal friend, and he will be greatly missed. Go in peace old friend.”
Friend and colleague Henry Cohen: “A one-of-a-kind character for whom there are countless stories, anecdotes, accolades, and a bit of awe. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Larry for over 15 years and wouldn’t have missed any of it. The logistics and operations of large scale special event sound and communications are rooted in many of Larry’s innovations.
“I’ll miss him. Rest in peace.”
Friend and business partner Pete Erskine notes that there are lots of great stories involving Larry, and he shares this anecdote: “My favorite was during the Republican convention in Dallas. All the sound crew had gone out to lunch except Andrew Waterman. When we came back, the Dallas Police Department had sealed the center for “their” security sweep. Not only were we locked out, but most of the Secret Service was too. In those days the Dallas Police were the absolute authority in that town.
“Larry radioed Andrew and had him turn on pink noise at max volume and then go hide. We could hear it outside. After about 10 minutes the police came out to the loading dock, looking for the audio department. Larry, the crew, and the locked-out SS members entered and “fixed” the problem.
“Please share your stories about Larry and yourself here. Larry had been working on a book about his life and would love to have them included.”
Friday, September 18, 2015
Rate Your Audio Skills, Knowledge & Personality Type
As technology accelerates at a dizzying rate and increases in processing power are only rivaled by the size of knobs on “retro analog” gear, we find ourselves navigating between magical-designer patch cables and legitimate advances in audio.
We know digital must always be “better” because CDs sound better than cassette tapes.
Everything is processed, as often as possible, and just as the hot dog is the perfect meal of processed meat, sound will be perfect and consistent any day now, as soon as we buy that magic black box with sufficient DSP power.
In order to help understand where you are in this overwhelming audio maze, I have put together a quiz to help rate your knowledge and personality type.
Modeled after the timeless and successful “Rate Your Love Life!” or “Is He Faithful?” types of quizzes in women’s magazines, it only seems appropriate that we “audiots” should share in the fun.
Your “audio horoscope” should provide some valuable insight into your mixing “character”. To properly score, you must answer every question, and be sure to keep score as you go.
So take your time, read carefully, good luck and enjoy!
1) You are mixing FOH at a venue that has a 90 dB A weighted limit, averaged over 10 minute intervals, maximum 20 dB peaks, measured from the FOH mix position. Which of the following would be a valid approach for achieving the best sounding show?
—Make a point of introducing yourself to the sound monitoring person, find out the rules and show interest in their job - 1 point
—Radio to production for a case of beer and a bottle of Jack - 2 points
—Yell obscenities and stomp around like a little kid - 4 points
—Ignore the irritating sound cop and crank it up - 3 points
—Go back to the bus - 6 points
2) Really old sound gear does not actually sound that great…
—Unless it has tubes, which means that it sounds amazing - 4 points
—Unless it looks cool, which means it sounds amazing - 2 points
—Age is not as relevant as the quality of the design - 5 points
—True - 1 point
3) Huge mics are better because they capture more sound…
—Of course - 4 points
—Especially if they have a tube - 3 points
—No, but they definitely fall over easier on a tripod stand - 6 points
—Yikes - 0 points
4) A large-scale digital console is best suited for…
—Replacing a smaller, lighter, less expensive analog console on a tour that ships worldwide and only one engineer uses it - 7 points
—A rental company to put on festivals so all the engineers can share one console and learn to use it at the same time - 4 points
—Award shows with multiple acts and cues and the producers won’t let the band engineers touch the consoles anyway - 1 point
—All of the above because it will make the band sound better - 4 points
5) When mixing a show you…
—Lean over the console constantly turning knobs and must not be disturbed - 5 points
—Dial up the mix, hit your cues and make minor adjustments during the show - 1 point
—Drink beer and hang out with your friends - 6 points
—Watch the band intently because you are a monitor engineer - 0 points
6) A friend once told me “when mixing, never face an audience of 10,000 people without a beer and a cigarette”, his advice means…
—You should take up smoking and drinking while you work - 2 points
—Mix with your feet - 4 points
—Never panic, a relaxed and confident engineer will mix a better show - 1 point
—May as well enjoy yourself because the band can’t hear your mix or see you anyway - 6 points
7) Before your show starts you…
—Hang with your friends and drink beer - 6 points
—Do a quick check to make sure all is in order - 1 point
—Change into your “show clothes” - 2 points
—Turn everything up a bit, just in case - 7 points
—All of the above - 0 points
8) Feedback from stage…
—Usually builds quicker and more aggressively than feedback from the mains - 5 points
—Is the only place it comes from - 3 points
—Is the only chance for the monitor engineer to get in a “solo” - 2 points
9) Studio gear is better than live sound gear because…
—It usually costs more, does less and takes up more space in the rack - 5 points
—Is better designed because live gear manufacturers do not know the “studio secret design techniques” - 7 points
—Is called studio gear because it is big heavy and wastes space, if it was small, light and compact, it would be “live gear” - 6 points
—All of the above - 0 points
10) Recent breakthroughs in bass DI technology has increased the size and cost of the bass DI five-fold. These advances are…
—New electronics designs and technologies - 4 points
—Utilizing the same technology that makes compressors large - 0 points
—Impossible to actually hear but they look cool - 2 points
—Awesome, who makes them? - 7 points
11) Having a tall sound riser is important because…
—It is my sound stage, baby! - 2 points
—It is easier to scan the audience for a date - 6 points
—It is important to hear the sound way up high above the heads of the people you are mixing for, even if it is totally different that what the audience hears - 4 points
—It is the way it is done - 3 points
—It actually may not be the best idea - 1 point
12) Would you rather have…
—A sound system that sounds amazing at mix position but poor everywhere else - 3 points
—A system that sounds mediocre but its coverage is smooth and consistent throughout the audience of the entire venue - 5 points
—The newest revolutionary PA that you saw in a magazine but have yet to hear - 7 points
—The biggest PA you can get - 2 points
13) The most important characteristics of a world-class sound engineer is…
—Instilling confidence to the band that every show will sound as good as humanly possible - 1 point
—Reinvesting a portion of your salary into paying random people $20 to tell the band it sounded great - 3 points
—Quality sound and show to show consistency regardless of system type, venue size or personal issues - 1 point
—How many companies give you free gear - 2 points
—Hamming it up for pictures in sound magazines - 7 points
14) The common practice of having the back-line techs play all the instruments through the main sound system, full blast, right before the band plays is necessary…
—Because even though the band sound checked four hours ago, having the back-line techs play the instruments may offer totally new and critical info to your mix - 4 points
—Because the audience needs to get mentally prepared for the show by listening to 30 kick drum beats and the beginning of “Freebird” half a dozen times - 3 points
—For engineers who can’t afford headphones and have no idea of how to acoustically compensate for the audience arriving, using house music - 5 points
—Because it is truly your only chance to demonstrate your amazing sound prowess before the band steals your spotlight - 2 points
15) When mixing a show and you really have to take a “whiz”, you…
—Go take a whiz - “when you gotta go, you gotta go” - 3 points
—Act nonchalant as you fill up every empty container in sight - 6 points
—Try and make the mad dash between songs - 5 points
16) While mixing the show, do you make the time to listen to the sound outside of the mix area?
—No, you’re always too busy turning all those knobs - 5 points
—Never thought of it - 4 points
—Every time you’re in a new venue - 1 point
—You play hide and seek with the band ducking down in the crowd and popping up in various places - 6 points
—Only when you have to take a whiz - 3 points
17) Your mix sounds amazing because…
—You use a lot of expensive outboard gear - 7 points
—You use a really huge mixing board - 6 points
—You have lots and lots of inputs from stage - 7 points
—All of the above - 0 points
18) There was an imaginary concert that sounded really, really bad. The most probable cause was…
—Lack of fancy tube compressors with big knobs - 3 points
—A $10,000 studio effect that was needed was not available on this continent - 7 points
—One of the seven high hat mics stopped working right before the show started - 0 points
—The human surrounded by all those lights and knobs - 1 point
19) It is important to “limit” those support acts because…
—Just in case the support engineer can mix better, at least he/she will not be as loud - 7 points
—It is easier than asking them to mix at a reasonable level - 5 points
—Support engineers look cute when they are angry - 4 points
—Only when they suffer from CFC (Chronic Fader Creep) disease - 1 point
20) Running pink noise through the sound system is important for…
—Helping to find some of the hot spots and holes when EQ’ing the sound system - 1 point
—Its calming effect on the lamps in the truss - 3 points
—Letting the air out of the sound system and avoiding over-pressurization - 4 points
—All of the above - 0 points
21) The best music to tune a sound system to is…
—Steely Dan - 7 points
—Dire Straights, “Money for Nothing” - 3 points.
—Your side project band - 2 points
—Some music that sounds even remotely similar tonally to the show you are mixing - 0 points
—Tenacious D - 6 points
22) When an audience member takes it upon himself/herself to critique your mix and tell you they can’t hear the vocals, you…
—Have them thrown out by security - 3 points
—Make excuses blaming the system, the techs, the band and where the audience member is sitting - 7 points
—Listen, smile and say thank you - 5 points
—Go ahead and un-mute the lead vocal mic and turn it up slowly - 6 points
23) You are mixing the largest show of a band’s (and your own) career. The PA company hired for the show, in an attempt to get a jump on load out, inadvertently unplugs your console from the main system after you tested everything, and just as your band walks on stage. To your horror, you see what looks like (and is) one of the band members jumping around but no sound is coming out of the PA. Who is ultimately responsible for the screw up?
—You, because you’re responsible for the sound no matter what - 0 points
—The PA tech that unplugged the console - 5 points
—The PA company department head for letting it happen - 3 points
—Not sure but that sucks! - 6 points
—The real issue is “who is gonna pay for the console” that you accidentally flipped and began jumping on top of after it happened - 7 points
24) As a sound “engineer” you share a common title with many other professionals in the highly advanced society we live in. Which of the following engineering jobs do you feel most qualified to perform, given the experience and knowledge you acquired to earn you the impressive title ‘engineer’?
—Design a cost-effective five-foot wide wooden bridge that will safely support up to 32 oxen, spanning a 30-foot wide river - 5 points
—Design a simple eight-bit microprocessor capable of doing basic mathematical functions - 4 points
—Do a structural analysis and determine the maximum safe wind velocity upon a 62-story building - 5 points
—Drive a train - 6 points
—Describe the method of grafting DNA strains to help increase disease tolerance of soybeans - 5 points
25) The show was flawless, the audience mesmerized, spontaneous cheers and standing ovations. You’re standing at the sound board and the thought running through your mind is:
—Man, my job sucks, can’t wait to get to the bus - 3 points
—Wish I had a nine-to-five desk job with a suit and tie - 5 points
—Man, if my mom had only bought me guitar, I could be up there - 2 points
—Wonder if McDonalds is hiring? - 4 points
—If only I had five more inputs! - 7 points
—Well, maybe this sound thing ain’t so bad after all - 1 point
Congratulations, you’re done!
Now, tally up the total score, and here’s how you rate:
50 - 55 total points: Congratulations, you’re a Mix Master! Somehow your keen sense of the obvioius combined with an in depth awareness of the nuances of the auditory profession has allowed you to navigate your way to being a Mix Master. You are on the right track and somehow figured out that all you hear is not to be believed. Good luck and congratulations!
56 - 65: Oh you Rock Star. The shiny lights, the cheering crowds, if only the sound board was center stage. Darn - if only mom had put you in guitar lessons instead of Little League. Well, at least this sound gig lets you wear a bunch of cool laminates and rock out to the hits!
66 - 75: So you’re from the Old School. Been there and done that ,and it’s not how we did it on Floyd tour. Well you can always turn it up a bit and go for a glory pose. These dang new PA’s are getting really tiny though - what happened to the good old days when it took six guys to lift a real speaker cab?
76 - 95: There are worse things than being Engineerically Challenged (see below). We can’t all be the brightest mic in the road case, and we’re all bound to get a little confused every once in a while. You may want to touch up a bit on the technical side, especially if you’ve been at this sound thing for more than a year or so.
96 - 115: As a Techno Nerd, you’ve gotta love those spec sheets and owners manuals. The complexities of striving for the perfect sound is a challenge that can keep you occupied forever, and sometimes, it can be overdone a bit. This is a highly technical field. but no amount of technology will overcome the subjective aspect of sound. Never forget that in the sound world, perfection is only an opinion.
116 - 130: Hey Cool Dude. Chicks, beer, tunes and a paycheck - what more could you want? You most likely didn’t choose this line of work to be bored and get to have some fun… Or you may as well get a real job. Hopefully you’ve got some crazy good mixing skills as a balance, or you’re gonna wind up working clubs when you’re 50. But at least you’re having fun!
131-plus: Ahhhh, the elusive Small “Male Unit” award. You need the newest, the biggest, the most expensive of everything you can get, regardless if you know how it works (or not). Whether it’s a certain personal deficiency that causes you to try too hard in other ways, or you’re just having fun burning someone else’s cash, be aware of what you really look like when Small “Male Unit” calls the shots.
Dave Rat heads up Rat Sound, based in Southern California, and has also been a mix engineer for more than 30 years.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Performs With DPA Microphones
International performing group selects
d:screet, d:fine, d:vote and d:dicate microphones.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ (LDS) Mormon Tabernacle Choir boasts a fan base spanning 94 countries, reaching upwards of 12 million people through the group’s weekly music and spoken word broadcast on more than 2,000 TV and radio stations.
The choir of 350 vocalists and a 100 piece orchestra, regularly performs at some of the greatest venues around the world using DPA Microphones’ products for more than a decade.
“We’ve been using DPA’s d:screet 4061 miniature microphones exclusively on the string section for almost 10 years,” says Trent Walker, audio engineer for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
With the introduction of DPA’s d:vote 4099 instrument microphones, the d:screet 4061 mics are now more commonly used as lavalier mics, further showcasing the flexibility of DPA’s microphone solutions.
The d:dicate 4023 cardioid microphones are in all four of the choir’s grand pianos.
“They’re the best piano mics I’ve ever used—we live by them. Prior to switching to DPA, the choir members wouldn’t allow the orchestra to accompany them on tour because the vocalists never liked how the instruments sounded in a big room. Since then, the entire group has traveled together for every show. That’s really thanks to the DPA mics.”
Fans attend the choir’s performances expecting an acoustic sound, but it’s often hard to accomplish this in a large arena, which Walker says is not conducive to such a sound for an orchestra.
“I’m able to recreate it pretty accurately with the d:screet 4061 mics,” he says. “I can bring up one part of the string section and it’s like you’re sitting right there with them on the stage. I can’t imagine doing a live show without them. There’s no way I can mic a string section with any other brand and even compare it to what I can get out of the DPAs, especially in a large venue where it’s virtually impossible to get a really tight, nice orchestra sound.”
DPA has been a game changer for the choir. “It really changed the relationship between the orchestra and choir conductors and me, the audio engineer,” Walker continues. “We became one very integrated unit, whereas before they tried very hard to keep it an acoustic show, which was virtually impossible in a 21,000-foot room. What has ultimately happened is that the conductors have put their trust in us, as we’re trying to keep the show sounding as pure as possible.”
DPA’s d:screet 4061 microphones are the most vital to Walker’s production, he touts the natural sound of the microphones as their best feature. “The d:screet 4061 mics eliminate the room from the equation,” he says of no longer needing to rely on a house PA system to replicate the sound on stage for the audience.
“These miniature mics remove any sort of feedback issues, and they just sound amazing. The d:screet 4061 microphones are just very accurate and smooth. I control 70 of them out there on the stage and I never have to worry about feedback issues. We use the same mics for broadcast, so they’re a huge part of that as well, since we need to ensure a redundant sound through all of our shows.”
Walker also uses DPA’s d:screet 4080 lavalier miniature cardioid microphones for video shoots and presenters as well as several d:dicate 4026 cardioid hanging microphones in a Decca Tree arrangement in the main performance area of the LDS Conference Center.
“Between that setup and the other d:dicate and d:screet mics, we’re able to replicate at our concert hall what you might hear during an arena show,” he says. “Not just for 1,500 people, but for 20,000, so the DPA sound quality really made a difference for us. In fact, we ended up buying seven more kits. We still use the ones we bought 10 years ago every day, though.”
Trent has paid close attention to the musings of the live audiences as they walk out of the room, and says its clear nobody is aware of the microphones nearby. “The performances are really as transparent as we can get, and the microphones have been a huge part of that. We spent a lot of money on a huge sound system, which is really nice, but the DPAs have been the key to our whole signature sound. Everything we’re doing is based upon the quality of those microphones.”
With the 350 singers performing just 15 feet behind the string section, isolation is important. “Even though the d:screet 4061 microphones are omnidirectional, the sound of the choir through the strings’ mics is not discernible,” says Walker. This is essential, given that he’s also tasked with miking guest soloists, who are equipped with the company’s d:fine 4088 directional headset microphones. A unique application for this type of headset microphone, the 4088s give the PA technicians more gain to work with, so they can control the mics much more on stage.
“They love the mics, and the performers do as well,” notes Walker. “I even put them on the talking heads. I really like the d:fine 4088 mics for both of these applications, because they’re really rigid and, with the dual-ear mount, they don’t move.”
Walker also appreciates that the d:fine 4088 mics, which he uses for broadcast applications as well, are quiet. “A lot of microphones are kind of noisy, but the d:fine mics aren’t and can handle a high SPL with a very accurate frequency response.” This is especially important for singing applications, where a person’s voice can reach a large range of pitches.
While the musical component is the most beloved portion of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcasts, on the Mormon Channel, the LDS radio station, the show also includes narrative components, such as folklore and inspirational speeches. While Walker employs the d:fine 4088s for these speakers, he generally prefers to use a podium microphone in these scenarios.
“They are wonderful as a podium mic,” he says. “I use them in the recording studio, for broadcasts, and I use them all over the world. I bought 10 of them, to build five custom podiums, and that’s the only solution the guys use. Trust me, we’d tried every option out there, and there was nothing even close to what we’re using with the two 4081s.”
DPA now offers the d:screet SC4098 podium microphones, which utilize the same miniature microphone and acoustic interference tube technology.
In addition to its show on the CBS Radio network, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performances are broadcast live in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and edited for rebroadcast in Mandarin, to 12 million homes all around the world. With that many fans, it’s important to always have a relationship with a reliable brand.
“I’m really happy with DPA as a company,” adds Trent. “They’ve been very supportive, and their warranties have always been first class. We’ve never had an issue with their representatives. The company really cares about sound quality, and that’s really what we care about. At the end of the day it’s all about the show, not the microphone or the sound system or anything, but the performance. If that’s perfect, then we’re all happy.”
The model numbers mentioned above have since been updated, as DPA Microphones strides to renew and upgrade its equipment for continued audio perfection. The 4023 has been replaced by the d:dicate 4011ER, the 4026 by the d:dicate 4015ER and the 4021 is now the d:dicate 4011C.
Adamson Supports Pope Francis’ Mass In Ecuador
Colombian production company provides a large assortment of line array enclosures for hundreds of thousands of people covering over 100 acres.
Sound production company C. Vilar, headquartered in Bogota, Colombia, provided Adamson loudspeakers, as well as video support, for mass performed recently by the Pope in Samanes Park, located in the port town of Guayaquil, Ecuador.
“People are expecting perfection from one microphone, there’s no room for mistakes,” explains Mauricio Vilar, co-owner of C. Vilar.
“Fortunately we are long-time users of Adamson loudspeakers and we were able to ensure the clarity necessary utilizing their loudspeaker systems.”
Samanes Park is an on-going project that will ultimately provide the Guayaquil community with more than 2,102 acres of recreational space.
The area set aside for the Papal mass utilized 118 acres, of which a large portion was an undeveloped open field that could accommodate the anticipated 1.2 million Catholics onsite for the mass.
In preparation for the event, a large pavilion (800 x 800 meters) with a seating capacity of 600, was constructed at the front of an undeveloped, 188 acre field at the Park. Beyond the pavilion the area was divided into 28 100 x 100 meter sections, each providing space and amenities for up to 30,000 people.
Vilar worked with his system design team to create a large main PA as well as several delay lines to ensure the entire 118 acres were covered. Because the main PA as well as the first line of delays were made up of Adamson line array enclosures, he used Adamson’s Blueprint AV software in conjunction with AutoCad to build the listening area. Blueprint AV allows designers to hang multiple arrays, simulate response with a variety of acoustic measurement tools and provide a detailed and accurate rigging plot for the primary systems.
“Blueprint AV is a tool that we can rely on to create a system design that will deliver what the client requires,” he continues.
“This was a particularly important event without much room for error. Using Blueprint AV helped ensure a flawless event.”
The system consisted of a main PA with two sets of outfill arrays to cover the pavilion and first 125 meters of the field. From there three more lines of delay towers – each made up of six line arrays – covered the rest of the field. The C. Vilar team hung a total of 24 line arrays to blanket the listening area.
The main PA was hung under the eaves of the pavilion in the far left and right corners. Each array was made up of 12 Adamson S10 line array enclosures. The first pair of outfill towers were placed roughly 80 meters from left and right of the pavilion. Each consisted of nine E15 enclosures and nine E12 enclosures. A total of 20 Adamson Y10 enclosures – 10 per side – were hung 180 meters to the left and right of the pavilion to cover the far-front seating areas. Eight Adamson SpekTrix, stacked four high to the left and right of the stage offered sidefill coverage.
The first delay line was placed 125 meters out from the main PA. The primary rig consisted of left-right line arrays made up of nine E15s per side located 60 meters apart. The first pair of outfill towers – placed 80 meters out from the center system – were equipped with 12 Adamson Y18 enclosures each. Additional outfill was provided by another set of towers, this time located another 100 meters out, with eight Adamson SpekTrix enclosures hung from each.
In order to continue coverage for the second half of the field, Vilar set up the third delay line approximately 120 meters from the first and placed another six line arrays spread equally across 300 meters. The fourth delay was placed another 100 meters out.
The entire system was powered by Lab.gruppen amplifiers. Amplifier racks as well as Adamson’s E-Racks were positioned throughout the listening area in close proximity to the arrays they powered.
“Having a PA that can be consistent at close, medium and large ranges is mandatory in this business,” Cesar Vilar, co-owner and founder adds. “It was such an honor for our company to be chosen to provide sound reinforcement for this event – I was grateful we could exceed all expectations with our Adamson systems.”
Hundreds of thousands of people traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador to witness Pope Francis celebrate an outdoor mass at Samanes Park reinforced by Adamson line arrays.
Mumford & Sons On Tour With L-Acoustics
Solotech deploys K1 and K2 mains with K1-SB subwoofers for North American tour run and Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Festival dates
UK four-piece Mumford & Sons brought their 2015 tour to North America this summer, playing a string of arena, amphitheater and outdoor shows in support of their third album, Wilder Mind, which was released earlier in the year.
Canadian production provider Solotech, headquartered in Montréal, supported the tour with L-Acoustics loudspeakers selected by the band’s audio team for flexibility, scalability and, above all, musicality.
“A Mumford & Sons tour plays very diverse venues; that’s the fun of it,” comments Jamie Howieson, the band’s audio system engineer and sound designer. The band, supplemented by four additional musicians on this tour, is very dynamic and really do go from the proverbial whisper to a scream, he says.
“They go from all standing around one microphone in front of a crowd of 40,000 people to full-on rock. So we wanted a system that would produce the best possible full-range sound and frequency response, and be very musical. The L-Acoustics K1/K2 rig allows you to be flexible and get a lot done. “
“Personally, I like a PA vocal to sound as natural as possible,” says Chris Pollard, who has been at front of house for the band since 2008. “I like a band to sound raw, with plenty of room for dynamics. For me, the K1/K2 system does that job. It just sounds awesome.”
Howieson designed a K series system that could be scaled up or down in size in order to handle the diversity of venues on the tour. The core setup was optimized for arena-sized halls and comprised a total of 28 K1 and 12 K2 mains, respectively flown 14 over six per side. Each hang was accompanied by a separate hang of eight K1-SB subwoofers, and the engineer deployed anywhere from nine to a dozen Kara boxes for front fill.
For sub bass, Howieson generally ground-stacked 21 SB-28 cabinets in front of the stage. “I do three stacks of three in cardioid configuration on each side of the stage, and then a cardioid stack of three in the center. Sometimes I put them on their ends, sometimes I leave them in stacks of three; it depends on the venue,” he says.
The entire system was powered by LA8 processing amplifiers. “I like to do things by the book, with what the R&D team have developed,” he says. “If you stick to the math that L-Acoustics have come up with, you’re in a really good starting place every time.”
In addition to large indoor venues and appearances at outdoor festivals, the Wilder Mind 2015 Tour also included several Gentlemen of the Road (GotR) Stopover Festival dates. Established by the band a few years ago, the two-day, multi-act shows, with overnight camping, are organized worldwide in locations that are not included on the usual touring circuit. Headlined by Mumford & Sons, who also provided production, this tour’s Stopovers also featured Foo Fighters, The Flaming Lips, Alabama Shakes and a host of others.
At the outdoor Stopover dates—Seaside Heights, New Jersey; Waverly, Iowa; Walla Walla, Washington; and Salida, Colorado—Howieson had various options available for delays, depending on the location. “The GotR shows were at some really cool venues, but every venue was different. Although sometimes we could fly large arrays, other times we only had two stacks of six K2s. The diversity of venues that they play in is what’s great about working for them. And the L-Acoustics system is so flexible that you can switch from day to day.”
According to Howieson, the performance of the L-Acoustics rig dovetails nicely with Pollard’s expectations. “Chris is a great mixing engineer. He’s always looking for an organic, musical sound, and the K1/K2 system is magic for that. That’s one of the main reasons Chris is attracted to it.”
“We all like consistency from venue to venue, and typically Mumford & Sons have very little of that on the tour schedule, mixing up venue types along the way—sheds, arenas, sports fields, stadiums,” says Pollard. “Capacity shoots up and down from day to day and we need to be able to adjust for that with as little fuss as possible. It needs to be adaptable, and consistent. The K1/K2 combination works a treat, and Jamie’s understanding of what I like to hear when voicing the system provides the consistency from which to mix the show.”
With no two shows alike, “I do a lot of my legwork before we get to the venues. That’s the beauty of L-Acoustics’ Soundvision software,” notes Howieson, who taps into a comprehensive library of worldwide venues mapped by himself, as well as L-Acoustics and other engineers. “It’s a very, very powerful tool. You just make a proper model of the whole set design and run Soundvision. That way, I know what we’re getting into when we get to the venue. The music is always the same, it’s just the coverage that changes from show to show.”
He adds, “The support from L-Acoustics is excellent. Those guys are amazing; they’re always there for me.”
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
San Francisco Symphony Chooses Meyer Sound LEOPARD Line Array
Davies Symphony Hall becomes the first performance venue to permanently implement LEOPARD and 900-LFC.
The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) has implemented new Meyer Sound LEOPARD linear sound reinforcement loudspeakers in its home, Davies Symphony Hall.
While highly regarded for the orchestral acoustics, the hall’s warm and reverberant characteristics pose a suite of challenges for its amplified events, which have evolved and diversified under the leadership of music director Michael Tilson Thomas.
Now with LEOPARD, SFS can offer the same experience it brings to traditional orchestral events to its range of amplified programs, such as film series, pop concerts, Broadway favorites, and leading-edge contemporary music.
“Regardless of content, sound reinforcement should feel natural and undistorted and defined and clear so that you can focus on what is on stage,” says SFS operations director Andrew Dubowski.
“LEOPARD is an exponential improvement in how we’re able to offer amplified concerts. The system can fool me into thinking the sound is not really amplified, even though I know it is—that feels like magic.”
LEOPARD replaces a central above-stage loudspeaker cluster installed in the 2,743-seat venue in 1992. The new configuration includes twin arrays of 14 LEOPARD line array loudspeakers and three 900-LFC low-frequency control elements per side. The system’s first show was a performance of John Cage’s “Renga” narrated by actor Tim Robbins.
“It’s extremely comfortable and reassuring, in that I’m not getting boxed in by the system and its capabilities when I’m mixing,” says head sound engineer Hal Nishon Soogian.
“The system isn’t fighting me. If I need some higher end, it doesn’t get brittle. I use very little EQ on my inputs. I try to pick the correct mic for the correct instrument and do very little to it, so you get no coloration.”
Stage electrician Jim Jacobs adds: “It’s exciting, after so long trying to solve some of these problems, to have a system that puts sound presence so clearly in every seat.”
The San Francisco Symphony, founded in 1911, presents more than 220 performances annually and reaches an audience of nearly 600,000 through its concerts, education and community programs, media initiatives, and national and international tours.
Q&A with the staff of the San Francisco Symphony
This past summer, Davies Symphony Hall became the first performance venue to permanently implement LEOPARD and 900-LFC, the newest line array system from Meyer Sound.
Here, three members of the Davies audio team discuss the new LEOPARD system: how it will be used, and what it can achieve for the San Francisco Symphony and its audience. Taking part in the conversation: SFS operations director Andrew Dubowski, stage electrician Jim Jacobs, and head sound engineer Hal Nishon Soogian.
What drew the San Francisco Symphony to a LEOPARD system?
Dubowski: Davies Symphony Hall is a very live hall, and it’s easy to overdo amplification. The resonance that feeds back can become a muddy wall of sound. That’s what we aimed to solve by implementing LEOPARD.
What kinds of shows will LEOPARD be used for?
Dubowski: LEOPARD will support any concert that requires amplification, such as our Film Series and holiday concerts or traditional subscription series that feature contemporary composers such as Mason Bates. We are also presenting more artists requiring pop-style amplification like Chris Botti, Pink Martini, and Johnny Mathis.
Is LEOPARD a component in building a new audience?
Dubowski: Absolutely, because we’re focused on what today’s audiences are expecting when they come to a concert, which is different from what they expected 25 or 30 years ago when the hall was first built. We are also presenting programming that we did not have 25 or 30 years ago. For example, if patrons of the Film Series have bad experiences—the sound is too loud, or they can’t understand the dialogue in a movie—they’re not coming back.
Jacobs: Our old Meyer Sound MSL-3 cluster system was state of the art in 1992. But because many people now have high-quality sound available in their home or car, and Meyer Sound has also taken technology to a new level, the old PA wasn’t competitive anymore; it didn’t give enough presence over the balance of the orchestra.
Line arrays appeared in the mid- or late ‘90s, and they’ve gotten more sophisticated. With a line array, you can deal more specifically with certain reflective qualities and certain zones—with small pieces at a time. You can tailor each one of the 14 loudspeakers on each side to provide a specific quality and detract from certain problem areas for each throw of each loudspeaker. It’s exciting, after so long trying to solve some of these problems, to have a system that puts sound presence so clearly in every seat.
How did you hit on LEOPARD as the system you wanted here?
Soogian: In addition to the MSL-3 at Davies, we have also used Meyer Sound’s newer MILO system at open-air shows in the Shoreline Amphitheatre to great success. Then more recently, I heard Metallica mixed on a Meyer Sound LEO system. I jokingly said, “That’s great when you’re in a stadium or outdoors. Let me know when you build a rig that fits inside Davies.” At [music director] Michael Tilson Thomas’s 70th birthday concert at the beginning of this year, we hung the more compact LYON rig, and it was incredible.
Dubowski: Then LEOPARD was demonstrated in May for performances of John Cage’s “Renga” narrated by actor Tim Robbins. LEOPARD provided excellent clarity for his voice.
Jacobs: We have always liked Meyer Sound systems, and the latest generation has some interesting things in it. The way the drivers are arranged, where they cross, gives them a much wider spread. In this hall, we have the complexities that arise with the use of the acoustic canopy—sightline considerations for film and semi-staged events, and the existing stage lighting positions in Davies—therefore larger systems like LEO or even LYON are too big, and the MINA loudspeakers are a little too small. LEOPARD fills that gap in the Meyer Sound lineup and works beautifully in this hall.
What is it like to mix on LEOPARD?
Soogian: It’s extremely comfortable and reassuring in that, when I’m mixing, I’m not getting boxed in by the system and its capabilities. The system isn’t fighting me. If I need some higher end, it doesn’t get brittle. I use very little EQ on my inputs. I try to pick the correct mic for the correct instrument and do very little to it, so you get no coloration.
How do you define “perfect” in a sound system?
Dubowski: “Perfect” amplification means the sound should not seem amplified. It should sound natural and undistorted and defined and clear so that you can focus on the artists on stage. LEOPARD can fool me into thinking the sound is not really amplified, even though I know it is—that feels like magic. It’s got a lot of punch. It can rock the hall. But it can also be delicate, and can hold its own. Having a system that’s state-of-the-art and accurately represents how the orchestra sounds is an exponential improvement in how we’re able to offer amplified concerts.
Martin Audio MLA Deployed For South West Four Festival
London's Lock N Load Events selects MLA to contain the DJs and dance music on a site closely surrounded by residential buildings.
The South West Four Festival (SW4) on Clapham Common’s south side is the latest in a long line of events that has called on the expertise of Capital Sound and the advanced controllability of its flagship Martin Audio MLA loudspeaker array.
This time it was needed to contain the energy delivered by a host of DJs and dance music specialists, on a site closely surrounded by residential buildings.
Promoter Andrew Mattle of Lock N Load Events had called in the London based production company and its MLA last year for main stage only, having been initially impressed with the production they had delivered with Martin Audio for one of his promotions at Alexandra Palace back in 2011. As a result, the use of MLA and MLA Compact was extended to other stages this year.
Recalling the background, Capital’s senior project manager, Martin Connolly, said, “There had been criticisms in social media about how quiet the sound [at SW4] had been for a dance event, and Andrew was curious about whether by using MLA we could get the SPL up on site while at the same time containing it.”
Mattle himself had first become aware of Martin Audio’s award-winning system through “general industry buzz”, adding, “We are always looking for PA systems that might improve the levels we get at Clapham.”
Of course, MLA has proved this ability time and time again, and was able to work within the measurements set by consultants Three Spires Acoustics for an audience capacity of 30,000.
After successfully debuting MLA at the 2014 event, Capital Sound succeeded in fielding Martin Audio systems in all five locations.
With MLA tech Joseph Pearce employing the standard MLA site preset, the extreme width of Main Stage (which hosted headliners Faithless, Eric Prydz on the Saturday and Skrillex and Basement Jaxx on the Sunday), and lack of depth negated the need for delay towers but required a tailored approach to avoid sound spillage out wide.
Thus production flew 13 x MLA plus an MLD Downfill as the main hang down each side, but instead of flying side hangs at the customary 45° angle for outfill, two drops of eight MLA Compact elements were set on the same plane as the main system but 24m apart. Explaining the decision, Martin Connolly said, “A conventional side hang would have radiated too much energy offsite into noise sensitive areas on both sides.” A broadside cardioid array, of 20 MLX subs boosted the low frequency, and a further 12 W8LM Mini Line Arrays were deployed for front fills.
The main 75m x 55m (10,000 capacity) Stage 2 tent (known as Fatboy Slim’s Smile High Club on the Saturday, and decorated with his signature smiley face) saw a further eight MLA and MLD Downfill per side with six MLX subs set on each side in a Left/Right cardioid design, with four Martin Audio W2 as front fill and LE1500 floor monitors on stage.
“With this design we were able to produce a lot more bass ‘thump’,” assesses Connolly. “We were flying from a mast and were able to stack all the subs on the base of the mast.”
Meanwhile, another globally famous DJ, Sven Vath, was appearing on the 60m x 45m Stage 3 (dubbed Dream Don’t Sleep Arena). Capital deployed 12 MLA Compact and six MLX per side, the subs again in cardioid L/R configuration. Stage 4 was fitted out with six MLA Compact elements, ground stacked along with four WS218X on each side, in an end fire design with three W8LM in fills per side. Finally, a Martin Audio W8LC Compact Line Array provided the Stage 5 sound.
Reflecting on the event, Martin Connolly believes, “Upgrading to MLA and MLA Compact in most key locations produced a superior overall SPL, particularly at the rear of all tents, which were generally bigger structures than last year. On main stage the power of MLA at the back provided superior clarity in an area with only 45m between stage and front of house mix position.
“The aim was to deliver the same sound experience to everyone—whether they were at the front or back—and we achieved that.”
Andrew Mattle confirmed, “It was our satisfaction with how well MLA performed on main stage last year that prompted the decision to use it more extensively this year—and we were equally happy with the result.”
Erwin Schrott On Tour With Allen & Heath GLD Digital Consoles
Global opera star explores all areas of Latin music with dates all over the world using the GLD-112 and Chrome GLD-80.
Global opera star, Erwin Schrott, is touring with dual Allen & Heath GLD digital consoles to manage front of house and monitors.
Purchased by the singer’s head of sound, Martin Laumann, the system comprises a GLD-112 at front of house and the new Chrome GLD-80 on monitors, connected via Dante, with an additional AR2412 and two AR0804 remote IO racks.
There is also the option of live recording using Protools via the Dante network.
The singer’s latest tour, entitled Erwin Schrott & Friends, explores all areas of Latin music, with dates all over the world.
“I use GLD on every show. The system has very good sound quality, and together with the fast and easy work flow, is my mixer of choice. Another advantage for me is the fact that the mixer is lightweight and easy to carry. Mostly, I have to do the whole front of house setup by myself, and GLD is easy to handle for one person,” comments Martin Laumann.
“All of GLD’s Reverb FX are excellent and very natural sounding, and since the launch of v1.5 firmware, I have started using the new dynamic EQs, which are impressive.”
Allen & Heath
VUE Audiotechnik Supports 30th anniversary Of Concorso Italiano
Glastonbury and Bell Event Services deploys al-4s and h-12s line arrays for auto enthusiast event at the Black Horse Golf Course in Monterey, California.
Italian automobile enthusiasts from around the world recently descended on Black Horse Golf Course in Monterey, California for the 30th anniversary of Concorso Italiano.
VUE Audiotechnik‘s al-4 subcompact line arrays could be heard across the expansive grounds.
Concorso Italiano is the annual event for classic gear-heads, centered around as many as 1,000 collectible Italian automobiles while embracing all the cultural elements of Italian style, including music, cuisine, fashion, and travel.
The Concorso emphasizes display and appreciation over competition, and although the cars are truly magnificent, this event is as much about the people who attend as it is about the finely engineered cars.
For the second year in a row, audio support was provided by Sand City, CA’s Glastonbury with help from their colleagues to the south Bell Event Services from El Segundo, CA. Tim Campbell, audio operations manager of Bell Event Services, served as A-1 and system designer and was presented with a myriad of challenges.
“The venue consisted of two par four golf holes from the Bayonet and Blackhorse courses, plus an additional football field-sized lawn. Add a stage, bleachers, and dozens of tents and the challenges increase,” said Campbell.
“Last year, the stage was at the very end of the venue and I was able to spill delay towers down the length of the fairways. This year, the stage was moved to a more central location so I had to emanate my delays from a more central point, making the delay calculations a bit more difficult. Also, last year I used two towers of VUE al-4s to demo for this application. This year, I did the whole thing with five towers of eight VUE al-4s and some h-12s for fill and the stage system.”
According to Campbell, compared to the line arrays he used before, the al-4s were better in every way.
“We got it to the point where, anywhere on the field, the announcer sounded like he was standing next to you and not shouting,” says Campbell.
“I used two different arrays; one pinned very flat for long throw areas over 100 yards, and a gentler curve to the array for towers covering less than that. We had a minimum of overlapping zones and almost no echo areas, which is pretty amazing considering each hang was only 170 pounds. The show was over at 5:00 pm and we buttoned up the truck at 8:30 pm, in part thanks to the easily manageable arrays and my fantastic crew. We are looking forward to next year’s event.”
Of the enthusiasts attending this event, eighty percent are entrepreneurs or professionals and 70 percent are in the highest income bracket. Concorso Italiano is also a major contributor to several local, national and international charities. Print, internet, film and television media from around the world constitute the more than 400 media passes requested each year.