This year’s iTunes Festival, relocated to The Roundhouse in North London, features more than 60 artists playing live throughout July, with the wide range of talent including commercial mainstays such as Oasis, Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol, acoustic performers like Newton Faulkner, quirky performance artists with wide dynamic ranges (like Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan), and some good old fashioned R&B.
Sound reinforcement for the festival is headed by Martin Audio W8LM mini line arrays, joined by a range of other Martin Audio components.
iTunes Production Manager Stuart Turvill has chaperoned iTunes’ steady growth to the Roundhouse, where he designed the audio infrastructure for the televised event,in collaboration with Martin Audio’s Jim Cousins and Andy Pardoe, and consultant Nick Foots. Dave Roden, the Stereophonics’ FOH engineer for 14 years, is serving as system tech, since Dave knows the Martin Audio signature sound inside out having worked with the full line array family on a succession of tours.
“We’ve only generally used the Minis as side-hangs on tour,” Roden notes. “This is the first time I’ve mixed through them as a main system, and I must say they are really versatile, and a miracle for the size of the box.”
Cousins believes they are ideal for this kind of venue, and particularly appropriate for a TV shoot. “They are physically unobtrusive, with good pattern control so they don’t fire the room up too much.”
Ten W8LM line array modules are flown per side, each with a W8LMD downfill, and six more W8LMs (plus an W8LMD) are rigged on each side for outfill. Bass hangs consist of six WMX per side, hung equidistant behind the inner/outer arrays, and a further eight WS218Xs under the stage apron.
On stage there are 14 Martin Audio LE1500 floor monitors with Martin Audio W3s for infill and W2s on the VIP area. Martin Audio W2/W3 and Blackline S18 subwoofers are used for drum fills.
Monitor Engineer Will King adds, “The LE1500’s are pretty awesome, some of the best wedge monitors I’ve heard. Everyone has commented on how good they sound, though I’d like to think some of that is because of me!”
The FOH system was set up using DISPLAY, Martin Audio’s predictive software, processed by XTA DP226s in the rack and two XTA 448s at front of house, running AudioCore.
“This venue is in the round so you have a resonant frequency of 121 Hz which shows up at 125 Hz plus its relative harmonics,” explains Roden. “That resonance really lingers and all you can do is compensate for it in the system EQ, to save visiting engineers from hacking it out on their GEQ’s. But in essence, it’s the nature of the room and the system has actually dealt with it extremely well because it’s such a versatile box.”
As every show is recorded for television broadcast, stage equipment needs to be discreet and not interfere with sightlines, so the hangs are set wide and trimmed high. “Everything is dictated by the iTunes set design,” says Turvill.