Deloitte recently returned to the Royal Opera House for the fourth year running with their annual contemporary arts festival – The Deloitte Ignite Festival – this time curated by internationally renowned director Mike Figgis. The three day festival, which takes over every corner of the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, invites people to listen to opinions, watch performances and films, and view the current trends in fashion and art. ‘Just Tell the Truth’ was the theme of this years’ event.
The Paul Hamlyn Hall, with its magnificent barreled roof and floor to ceiling windows, served as the hub of the festival with a live stage for an eclectic mix of improvisational bands, speakers and dancers throughout the three days. For the second year running, Paul Nicholson of Midas ProSound and Red Square Audio was in charge of the audio for the festival and he chose Roland products to for both the Paul Hamlyn hall and the Linbury Theatre. The Linbury Theatre itself is a modern theatre space within the heart of the Royal Opera House
Specifying the M-480 48 Channel Live Mixing Console for the stage in the hall and the M-400 48 Channel Live Mixing Console for the stage in the theatre, both Roland digital consoles were connected to their respective FOH consoles using S-MADI.
In the main hall, Andy Reeves used the M-480 for monitors and Matt Trigg multi-tracked the whole performance using the SONAR REAC Recording System, a system which when used in conjunction with the V-Mixing System provides a comprehensive hardware and software solution to live recording, mixing, mastering and delivery.
With superb sound quality, powerful functions, expandability and intuitive operation; the M-480 and M-400 both offer 48 channels of flexible audio processing. Built in REAC (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication) allows simple system expansion to other components of the Roland V Mixing System or to other consoles with the addition of the S-MADI bridge.
The resident engineers at the Royal Opera House also asked Paul to spot record where required and he had no hesitation in recommending the use of the Roland R-05 hand held recorder. Four R-05 recorders were used in total – one on FOH and one on the monitors in each of the two halls. After demonstrating the superior sound quality of the R-05 to the engineers by playing an orchestral pre-recording on an SD card through the line array, there was no question about using them throughout the festival.
According to Paul, ‘The Royal Opera House engineers were so impressed with the hand held recorders – they purchased the four units there and then!’
The R-05 has recently been upgraded to the R-26 hand held recorder which boasts six channels of audio recording – as well as other user benefits including onboard editing, a touch panel display and a USB audio interface for your PC.
Roland Systems Group (RSG) products are currently touring the country with one of the most familiar faces in British rock – Toyah Willcox. Toyah kicked off the final leg of her autumn tour, ‘From Sheep Farming To Anthem 2011’ at the beginning of October in Southampton to rave reviews and the hotly-anticipated concerts will see Toyah perform a selection of material from her first three albums and a concentration of songs from her 1981 Platinum-selling album Anthem, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. The concert tour has won plaudits across the internet and social media after its premier in London in June and has delighted audiences and fans throughout it’s summer route of club gigs, theatre dates and large festivals.
Paul Nicholson who runs Salisbury based Midas ProSound and Red Square Audio has toured with Toyah for almost 20 years and is in charge of specifying, supplying, and operating the sound equipment for the Toyah band and her other project The HUMANS. For the UK Toyah tour, Paul specified the Roland M-300 Live Mixing Console together with the Digital Snake and S-1608 stage unit running both FOH and monitor mixes.
The M-300 is a powerful and compact digital mixing console ideal for any event production, offering a substantial mixing capability with 32 mixing channels, L/C/R outputs, 8 AUX buses and 4 matrices. Built in REAC allows flexible system expansion and as part of the V-Mixing System including Digital Snakes, Personal Mixers and Multi Channel Recording, the M-300 provides a scalable solution for medium sized venues, which is also lightweight and transportable for mobile sound reinforcement.
With a hectic schedule of performances over a short period, the Toyah tour needed a system which could load in and out of venues quickly and easily, trying to avoid the problems commonly associated with using ‘hired in’ or venue PA systems such as lengthy EQ’ing and sound checking before the gig.
‘The M-300 and Digital Snake system fits our requirement perfectly. Because there is minimum product involved, it’s very quick to setup and the sound check time is massively reduced which saves us having to arrive early at every venue. In fact, I can fit everything plus microphones, stands, DI boxes in the back of my car without folding the rear seats down, so it couldn’t be easier,’ commented Paul.
For each performance, Paul has left and right coming either from the desk or the stage unit. All band members are on in ear monitoring – the only monitors on the stage are for Toyah herself as she has costume changes and a radio pack would be an issue. There is no backline on the stage as everyone is DI’d. Mixes from previous gigs are used so no real repeat sound check is needed. The M-300 has the capability to allow one of the XLR inputs to be used as a talkback facility to AUX mixers, matrices or LCR, in this instance, used as a talkback mic from the desk to the stage to allow communication with the musicians when necessary.
The excellent sound quality of such a simple setup has been well received by the band and audience alike with many saying it’s the best sounding show they’ve ever been to. In fact, when a new member joined the line-up she was amazed at how quickly she was ready to go. By using an additional M-300 aux output and generic mix to she was able to sound check in literally one minute.
‘The sound quality of Roland is like being in a studio on the stage – the band just love it! When I ask them if they need anything else such as ambient mics – I got a resounding NO!
I couldn’t be happier at the FoH. It’s been a great tour.’
Paris, France – APG’s line array system, Uniline, was deemed a resounding success after its first outdoor UK appearance at FOMFEST (The Friends Of Mine Festival) Manchester over the weekend of 20th-22nd May. Uniline was in excellent company on the main stage with Mancunian legends such as the Charlatans, the Buzzcocks, Bad Lieutenant, The Cribs, The Fall, and many more over the course of the three days. APG was also specified for stage monitoring using a combination of SMX15 and DX15 monitor wedges plus TB118 subs and M3000 Side Fills. All of the audio requirements for the festival were handled personally by Paul Nicholson from Red Square Audio/Midas ProSound, and APG’s Mathieu Delquignies assisted Paul with the Uniline system tuning.
“It’s great to have such amazing support from the manufacturer,” commented Paul. “We were particularly pleased to have Mathieu with us on this occasion, firstly because it’s the biggest Uniline system we’ve had out in the UK to date, and secondly because we really weren’t helped by the weather that weekend – we had strong, blustery winds to contend with for most of the set up and show days, which turned into gale-force blasts with occasional hail storms on Sunday. It’s a challenge making any system sound good under those conditions, but Mathieu and the team did a great job, and the results were truly stunning.”
Paul’s comments were backed up by punk rocker Goldblade’s frontman, John Robb, who posted a review of The Fall’s performance at FOM Fest (which was engineered by Paul Nicholson, incidentally!) on his website Louder Than War, where he noted that, “It really did sound good. Rare for a festival, the PA was crystal clear and the blustering winds couldn’t ruin it.”
For FOM Fest, Paul specified L and R hangs of 9 x UL210 full range mid/hi cabinets supplemented by 2 x UL210D downfill cabinets and 8 x UL155B bass cabinets with a total of 16 x TB218S dual 18” subwoofers (four units beneath each hang and eight across the front of the stage). APG was also in evidence on stage, where bands benefitted from a combination of 16 x SMX15 wedges supplemented by 2 x DX15 drum fill monitor speakers plus 2 x TB118S subs. A pair of 3000C’s were also used for side fills. DSP throughout was handled by APG DMS26 digital loudspeaker processors.
“I think that APG proved without a doubt at FOMFest that Uniline is a system to be reckoned with and deserves its place amongst the “big names” of the industry,” remarked Paul. “Despite challenging conditions, we had nothing but compliments for the sound, both for the PA and the stage monitors. At FOMFest we were using Uniline in what APG refer to as its “complete” mode for a high power system. Our aim was to provide coherent coverage with constant directivity throughout the listening area up to a distance of 75m from the stage. We achieved that easily – in fact, we might need to rein it in a bit for next year! However, the compact modular design of the system means that it can be adapted to pretty much any sized event, large or small, so it’s a really versatile system for any rental inventory. I have to say that FOMFest was a great success and as close to perfect that I could have hoped for, and we’re all looking forward to doing it again next year.”
Paris, France – Alternative NY hip hop/funksters, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, are currently on tour in Europe for the first time in three years with their new album, Classic Fantastic. Paul Nicholson of Red Square Audio was asked to specify the PA for two of their UK dates – the Arena in St Albans and City Hall, Salisbury. Nicholson opted for a full APG Uniline compact line array system complete with SMX15 stage monitors along with an Eclipse digital mixing console from Innovason.
“Both APG and Innovason make high end systems that, in my role as a consultant, I have no hesitation in recommending,” said Nicholson. “It’s not just because RSA distributes these brands that I recommend them either. I’m a very proactive engineer who uses different systems all the time, but I genuinely believe that they are the best on the market at the moment. It just so happens that I am lucky enough to have them in my RSA portfolio! Saying that, we had to go to considerable lengths to get hold of a Uniline system as there wasn’t one available in the UK at the time. But it was well worth the effort; the results were superb and FLC’s FoH engineer Walter Jaquiss was very impressed.”
The Uniline system comprised twelve UL210 full-range mid/hi cabinets; six UL115B 1 x 15” subs and six TB218S 2 x 18” subs. This was complemented by eight SMX15s which were used as floor monitors and listening wedges. All the processing was provided by APG DMS26 digital loudspeaker system processors. The system was flown in City Hall, Salisbury, with the subs configured in Left/Centre/Right cardioid mode, whilst in St Albans, Nicholson opted for a ground stacked configuration with a conventional L/R sub array. Nicholson reported that the system performed beautifully in both configurations “the vocal, guitar, snare and hi-hat were right there in the near-field with an exceptional degree of clarity and power, which is something I’ve not witnessed for many years.” and Walter Jaquiss commented on the high quality of the Uniline mids and highs.
On stage it was a similar story. “The SMX15s provided an impressive amount of power and clarity for all three band members,” noted Nicholson. “Huey [Morgan] and Fast each used a pair while drummer Frank had a TB118S behind him and a pair of SMX15s to each side. During the soundcheck no-one asked for any extra gain or EQ which was impressive given the heavy duty backline that was also on stage. All in all a thoroughly convincing UK debut with an internationally recognised band for APG’s Uniline system.”
Paris, France – Plus 4 Audio is one of the leading suppliers of PA and monitor systems to the UK TV industry. Operating out of Surbiton in Surrey, Plus 4 Audio serves the London Studios, Fountain Studios, Maidstone Studios and the BBC as well as various OB events with shows such as Dancing on Ice, Mercury Music Prize, Must be the Music, Over the Rainbow, Strictly Come Dancing and Sports Personality of the Year to name but a few. The company has just taken delivery of twelve DX12 compact, low profile monitor speakers from APG for rental stock from APG’s UK distributor, Red Square Audio.
Plus 4’s Stewart Chaney is extremely satisfied with his new investment. “I had been looking for a micro wedge monitor for our smaller shows for quite some time, but I just couldn’t find anything that met our requirements,” he explained. “They were either too big or simply not good enough, or both! Then Paul Nicholson said he’d got something that might interest me, and gave me a demo of the new DX12s from APG. I was more than pleasantly surprised . The DX12 is a light, compact unit that presents an extremely low profile, and sounds good enough for me to put in front of any major artist with confidence. They are a very welcome addition to my inventory.”
“I have known Stewart for many years,” remarked Red Square Audio’s Paul Nicholson, “and I can state quite categorically that he wouldn’t put anything in front of his clients that wasn’t 100% in every aspect of its functionality so this purchase is confirmation that APG has what it takes to become a logical and realistic acquisition for any rental or installation company.”
“APG is a new and exciting brand for RSA and it’s also totally new to the UK,” continued Nicholson. “The entire APG range is beautifully designed and every product is class-leading. Clearly, we want to convince the market that APG is a major competitive brand, and being able to cite clients like Plus 4 Audio as the first UK customer goes a long way to establishing market credibility.”
APG’s Xavier Pion agrees. “Apart from anything else, this sale confirms that we made the right choice with Red Square Audio. It’s also validation that the new generation products from APG position us as a class A player in the field. There’s still a lot of work to be done yet, but it’s a tremendously encouraging start.”
Following a brief introduction at the ABTT show, the APG range will be making its full UK exhibition debut on the RSA stand at PLASA 2010.
Australian surf/roots artist Xavier Rudd is currently in the middle of his “Koonyum Sun” world tour which spans the UK, North America, Australia and Europe. The European and US legs of the tour are being handled by Concert Sound Clair and Clair Brothers respectively. Concert Sound supplied an Innovason Eclipse digital mixing console for monitors for the first UK part of the tour and Clair Brothers has supplied one for the US leg. When the tour returns to Europe in November, they’ll be going out with a pair of Eclipses from Concert Sound supplied by Red Square Audio.
Production manager Simon Skeet, who started off using the Eclipse on monitors before handing over to engineer Lenny Goncharov, has thoroughly enjoyed using Eclipse. “The first thing to say about Eclipse is that it has proven to be both reliable and stable,” he noted. “From an operational point of view, the flexibility of the control surface and the ability to configure it however you like enables me to mix on a layout that I’m comfortable with, and the smooth encoders and faders are a pleasure to use. Sonically the board sounds very good indeed, and the on-board effects engines are truly impressive.”
Lenny Goncharov who took over from Skeet on monitors for the US leg agreed, and also added that the M.A.R.S. recording facility was a great feature. “It is such a timesaver, especially during – or rather prior to – sound checking,” he enthused. “With M.A.R.S. – which is really easy to use, by the way – I can get most of the sound check done before the guys even show up, and when they are here, it’s just a question of fine-tuning. It’s much quicker than a traditional sound check. That makes me happy, and the band even happier! I also love that once programmed, the Eclipse is incredibly fast access, especially for monitors.”
“I’m really looking forward to the new version NOVA 2.0 software,” added Skeet. “All the updates and new features it will bring will make the console even nicer to use, and more importantly, easy to set up. Hopefully by the time we get back to Europe we’ll get two consoles both running on NOVA 2.0 – then we’ll really be cooking on gas!”
The SR-16 is a brand new remotely-controllable 16-in/16-out EtherSound stagebox from Innovason. Based on the proven technology behind Digigram’s AQONDA device, SR-16 offers extremely high quality audio control with state-of-the-art mic preamps in a compact and costeffective 2U format.
SR-16 is capable of transforming up to sixteen analog audio channels into as many EtherSound signals and injecting them into an EtherSound network (any topology). All of the components are of extremely high quality to ensure that audio quality remains uncompromised throughout.
Compatible with all existing EtherSound set-ups including ES-100 and ES-Giga, SR-16 is naturally fully controllable via Eclipse – channel assignment is performed from the Nova 2.0 GUI, and there is direct access for preamp gain and PH48V activation from the Eclipse control surface. Device configuration is fully saved in Nova snapshots, and there is no limitation regarding the number of devices that can be controlled. Alternatively, SR-16 can be controlled using any of the available EtherSound software management programs. By the same token, Eclipse is capable of detecting and controlling a Digigram AQONDA just as if it were an SR-16.
“SR-16 is ideal for set-ups with distributed inputs and outputs such as theatres, houses of worship, OB vans etc.” noted Innovason’s international sales director, Marcel Babazadeh. “It’s a perfect complement to our existing range of stage racks and a really cost-effective way of increasing channel count and control incrementally. Furthermore, it couldn’t be easier to manage – all you have to do is connect SR-16 to any EtherSound network, detect it via Eclipse or an ES software manager, assign your channels and mix!”
In keeping with its commitment to offer the widest possible choice of solutions for audio professionals, APG has launched a brand new analogue processor dedicated exclusively to stage monitoring applications with their new DX Series multipurpose loudspeakers. Developed with the idea of cost-optimisation in mind, the SPWX offers a simple, yet extremely high quality processing solution for the DX Series speakers in monitor applications in a cost-effective format.
The SPWX12/15 is a compact 1U 4-channel processor which was deliberately developed as an analogue product in order to enable zero latency when necessary. It allows the management of four independent monitor channels from DX12 and DX15. Each channel is switchable between DX12 and DX15. A push-button offers a choice between two types of low frequency response and a potentiometer enables you to adjust the tonal balance. An amplifier rack with SPWX12/15 processing is therefore perfectly adapted for use with either DX12 or DX15 or indeed a combination of the two.
According to APG’s Xavier Pion, the new SPWX processor is another tool which enhances the versatility of the DX range still further. “We developed the DX Series as a truly multipurpose range, and it is already earning its stripes in a multitude of different applications,” he explained. “However, just because you can use it in a lot of different ways doesn’t mean to say that you will, and we have to cater for every eventuality. For example, a rental company that wants a stock of DX loudspeakers exclusively for monitoring applications doesn’t need an all-singing, all-dancing expensive digital processor with lots of presets – although we could of course provide one of those if he wanted! What he actually needs is a high quality dedicated processor that he can put in his monitor rack and forget about, which is precisely what the SPWX is designed to do. It’s a much more costeffective solution for him, and still guarantees that his DXs will sound fantastic.”
The SPWX is the latest addition to APG’s comprehensive range of analogue and digital processors designed to optimise the performance of all APG loudspeakers in any given situation. For more details, please visit www.apg.tm.fr