The decision to standardize on Point Source Audio (PSA) was led by Dave Cowell, lead sound designer and programmer for Carnival UK. Point Source Audio’s body-worn microphones will support the fleet’s performance venues which are in use a standard 15-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Carnival UK (which incorporates Cunard Cruise Line and P&O Cruises UK) are part of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest leisure travel company, with a cruise fleet of 102 ships operating in North America, England, Europe and Australia.
“The cruising industry is one of the harshest environments for product delivery I have worked in. When microphones fail due to sweat, cable failure or breakages, it significantly affects our product delivery to the thousands of guests we cater to on a daily basis,” describes Cowell.
Having used microphones from different manufacturers over the years, Cowell experienced increasing costs but saw no major benefit change to the products. The variation of microphones from ship to ship—including a mixture of omni and directional units—made the shows sound different, as well as life more difficult for the engineers who had to come to grips with new sound challenges on a routine basis.
“There weren’t many available solutions to consider. First and foremost, I was looking for quality, followed very closely by sweat resistance and longevity,” says Cowell. “While the quality aspect was matched from our previous supplier, there were continued issues with sweat ingress and breakages as well as the aforementioned cost implications.”
Autograph supplied demo units of PSA’s CO-8WD omni headsets for Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth which led to Cowell’s ultimate recommendation to move ahead with Point Source: “From the moment the microphones were plugged in, I could hear the quality. Crystal clear mid and high frequencies made vocal mixing easy. The low end was also great for our male cast members. The gain before feedback was impressive and there was very little EQ applied to any of the performers as the response was so flat out of the box.”
The ability of the headsets to be bent and configured to any conceivable shape without breaking was incredibly important to Cowell. He described the wear and tear the mics typically face: “The production casts are on board between five to seven months and perform two or three shows a night, on average every two days. We have costume changes that run under 8 seconds, so having a unit which dealt with the day to day environment was paramount. The sturdy frame of the headset was also an important factor for the same reasons.”
Cowell sums up his experience by expressing that “our Point Source Audio microphones are delivering monetary benefits as well as continued quality across our delivered product.” He credited the marked improvements by saying, “Thankfully, our relationship with Autograph and the fact we were provided demo units to trial during the aforementioned installation meant they could be properly tested by myself on board, allowing me to gather an informed opinion on they suitability, both from a product delivery standpoint as well as a cost benefit one.”
Visitors to PLASA 2019 from September 15-17 will be able to demo Point Source Audio’s collection of microphones at Autograph Sales & Installations’ stand H10 in Olympia, London.