The Studio at Hamilton Place, an intimate 500-seat theatre and concert space located in the cultural heart of downtown Hamilton, Ontario, is highly re-garded by music fans from Ontario and beyond for its outstanding sound quality.
Artists including Bruce Cockburn, The Cowboy Junkies, Billy Bragg and many more have per-formed at The Studio, which also hosts other live theatrical events ranging from comedy shows to boxing.
Today The Studio’s high-end installed audio system is comprised almost entirely of Sennheiser and Sennheiser-distributed equipment, making it among the largest Sennheiser-oriented rooms in all of Ontario.
“When I came to Hamilton Place six years ago, we were looking for greater intelligibility as well as better overall frequency response throughout the hall,” said Studio Technician, Steve Foster. “We tested a lot of equipment over the years, and time and time again the Sennheiser and Neumann mics came out superior.”
At Hamilton Place, Foster relies on a full Sennheiser hard-wired mic kit comprised of 30 pieces which includes one e901, one e902, one e905, four e904s, three e914s, six e935s, eight MD 421s, two MKE 2 Golds, and two Neumann TLM 103s.
He relies on the e900 series for drums and percussion instruments, among other things.
“I appreciate the accu-racy and transparency of the evolution 900 series—I don’t have to compensate much EQ-wise and this is a huge time saver.”
Foster appreciates the Neumann TLM103s for their versatility. “I like to use them as overheads on drums, on guitar cabinets, acoustic instru-ments, strings and as an ambient mic for percussion as well.”
Foster also has four sets of the EM 550 G2 wireless microphone systems on hand. “These wireless models have excellent tonality and are really durable. I’ve had artists handle them pretty roughly yet they have survived.”
Over the past three years, Foster has focused entirely on rebuilding the FOH set up at The Studio at Hamilton Place. One of the first improvements was to update the PA system with an L-Acoustics KIVA line array, driven by two LA4 amplifiers for the array and one LA 8 for the subs and front fills.
“I have every type of music in here, from heavy metal to classical,” Foster explained. “The fidelity on the L-Acoustics is spectacular and they can easily accommodate acoustic music as well as louder stuff.” Foster is currently in the process of installing the L-Acoustic SB 18 subs, an upgrade which when completed will finish off the FOH PA.
The first phase of the installation also included upgrading the console to an Innovason SY 48 digital mixing console.
Over the past few years it served Foster very well at FOH, but has since been put to work as the monitoring console. The Eclipse by Innovason – the first digital console with fully integrated multi-track recording – now operates in the FOH position.
“Both of the Innovason consoles are very clean, and have a nice analog warmth to them,” said Foster. “They just keep improving their product all the time. With the new Eclipse, I can access outboard effects very quickly; the entire process takes about half a minute. I just patch it in, assign it and go.”
Now that the FOH install is complete, Foster has turned his attention to the stage and has been demoing several different brands of monitoring systems.
“We have pretty much settled on getting the Kling & Freitag Scena 15s with CD44 processors. I like them a lot be-cause they have fantastic gain before feedback,” Foster explains. “They also have bigger drivers than what we’ve been using, so they can really handle the drum kit.”
At the end of a show at Hamilton Place, folks invariably stop by the FOH console and offer their compliments.
“I get a lot of road technicians telling me how great the system sounded, but the patrons come by and tell me that, too. And you know, we also always love to hear it from the punters, because they’re the one’s buying tickets.”