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TPi Magazine - May 2018

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The singer welcomes audiences to her
theatrical, pop music wonderland.
MAY 2018
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News of the world’s most popular DJ, Avicii, passing away, hit global headlines last month. At first,
speculation about the circumstances surrounding the 28-year-old’s death led many to believe
complaints from alcohol-related health problems were to blame. In the days that followed,
suicide was ruled as the official cause of death. RIP.
Yet another touring artist lost to the perils of such a demanding lifestyle. There’s vital work
being done in the industry to prevent - where possible - these occurrences, but the parallels
between a lifestyle on the road and mental health issues remain a troubling reality. If you or
anyone you know within our community are experiencing troubles - depression, anxiety, suicidal
thoughts, panic attacks, bereavement - please remember: there are experts and volunteers ready
to listen and help without judgement. Maybe this isn’t the kind of industry that picks up the phone
to helplines, but maybe it should be. Keep the Music Support helpline handy: 0800 030 6789.
Whether you’re in your bunk, hotel or at home post-tour, please take care out there, folks.
This month’s tech news comes from the festival enigma that is Coachella (Pg. 08), Sam
Smith’s creative team talk Stew through their design process for the British singer’s The Thrill of it
All tour (Pg. 20), Michael McIntyre makes UK arenas - and myself - roar with laughter with help from
Capital Sound (Pg. 50), Plan B makes a comeback after a 5-year touring break (Pg. 60), and last but
not least, we have some welcome female presence on our May cover. Paloma Faith drew Ste into
her theatrical performance - and don’t tell his metal-head mates, but I think he came away a new
fan. Catch the production profile on Pg. 38.
We couldn’t bring you a post-Frankfurt magazine without the run down on new products
from Prolight+Sound. Although it was busy for us, there was a definite divide in exhibitor opinions
this year, especially from the pro audio world. It promises to be a defining year for many historical
supporters of the show - let me know your thoughts via email.
Elsewhere in this issue, the ALD continue to ask for your help. If you want to get up to speed
on the new - quite frankly ridiculous - regulations facing stage lighting regulations, turn to Pg. 98.
Until next time...
Kel Murray
Kel Murray
Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360
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Ste Durham
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Dan Seaton:
Zoe Willcox:
Stewart Hume
Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385
Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344
Georgia Guthrie
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Lauren Dyson
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Paloma Faith by Sarah Womack
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Issue 225 - May 2018
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence.
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The SL-Series, with full bandwidth cardioid
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Coachella 2018
A selection of tech highlights from the Californian cultural phenomenon.
Sam Smith
The soulful singer returns to arenas with an ambitiously creative production.
Transmission Festival Asia
Audio Plus combines with Funktion-One to channel the Spirit of the Warrior.
Backstage Academy
The pioneering organisation hits the road to inspire students across the UK.
Harman Experience Centre
The company expands its network with a new facility in Hemel Hempstead.
EDC Mexico
PK Sound brings Trinity and Gravity 30 to the massive outdoor festival.
38 Paloma Faith
The artist returns with a top secret stage and deceptively hefty audio setup.
50 Michael McIntyre
The British comedian was back in UK arenas for his fourth sell out tour.
60 Plan B
After a 5-year absence, the artist hits the road with a 7-date underplay tour.
All the news from Prolight+Sound 2018.
Philips Entertainment Lighting’s Amber Etra discusses her new touring role.
Martin Audio’s Jason Baird reveals some of his product development higlights.
Meg Mawhinney tells TPi about her
first year in the industry.
Yamaha’s Andy Cooper gives an insight into the R&D behind the new RIVAGE PM7.
It’s a classical dance day for FOH Engineer, Françoise Le Moignan.
Part II of the ALD’s #SaveStageLighting campaign manifesto.
100 The latest movers and shakers.
106 Senior Project Manager, Martin Connolly, celebrates 25 years at Capital Sound.
Launched in 1999, Coachella has grown into a premier music and arts festival,
grossing almost $115 million (USD) and drawing over 250,000 attendees annually.
Here are TPi’s choice production highlights.
UK-based show design studio NEWSUBSTANCE makes its debut at the
2018 edition of Coachella with Spectra - a stunning, 7-floor pavilion.
Commissioned by Coachella as part of its over-arching art programme,
NEWSUBSTANCE is one of 6 distinguished interdisciplinary artists
chosen by Coachella to create new, brave and innovative original
large-scale installations exclusively for the festival. Over 3 years in
its conception and design, Spectra is an ambitious, architecturally
informed installation featuring a spiral design, an observation deck at
its peak, air conditioning and a dazzling colour scheme that reflects the
lively spirit of the festival and its awe-inspiring location.
“When creating Spectra we wanted it to be less about the structure
itself and more about the journey within it,” said NEWSUBSTANCE’s
Creative Director, Patrick O’Mahony. “Once inside you will be encapsulated
within a Coachella Sunrise. Colour is often something only observed but
with this piece we wanted the audience to be washed with rich reds, sky
blues and hot pinks as they journey to new heights and experience a truly
unique view of the festival.”
“Spectra is a bold commission by the festival and one we are super
excited by,” said Paul Clemente, Art Director at Coachella 2018. “We
were immediately drawn to the notion of offering festivalgoers a unique
lookout across the festival site bathed in a rich interplay of colour and
light. Working closely alongside NEWSUBSTANCE it was immediately clear
they understood the Coachella vernacular, bringing a fresh take on our
environment and we are delighted to welcome them to this year’s festival.”
Spectra took festivalgoers on a transitional experience as they travel
through the installation. No one experience was the same as attendees
were challenged to see things differently, washing over their outlook
in a magnificent spectrum of colours and compelling them to pause
and see the festival’s landscape in a totally new and unexpected way.
With a tremendous amount of varying views and colours, every viewers
experience will vary.
“Colour and landscape were huge creative factors within the design of
both the Spectra structure and its lighting,” said Lighting Designer James
Bawn, who lit the structure throughout the festival. “During the day I used
a warm white colour temperature that worked perfectly with the coloured
Perspex set within the Spectra structure. In and around sunset, I applied
a few gradual colour temperature shifts to manipulate the colours which
everyone had experienced during the day. This was a very subtle effect and
was the cause of quite a few double glances as the daylight faded!”
To control his design, Bawn used a Tiger Touch II and Quartz lighting
console from British light and video control system manufacturer, Avolites. For the smaller design tweaks Bawn used Avolites’ Remote App, allowing
him to make adjustments from his smartphone. He also utilised Avolites
Titan v10.2’s Timecode feature and Pixelmapper to flexibly control his
To create Spectra’s night-time visuals Bawn used the Avolites
Pixelmapper feature, which allowed him to quickly map multi-layer
animation effects across all the structure’s LED fixture groups.
When creating the piece itself, NEWSUBSTANCE wanted to explore
the relationship between the light and landscape of the festival, the
shifting environment that this creates and how it influences those that
journey through it. The festival is enriched by beautiful sunrises and
sunsets that roll across the landscape, and it is these iconic explosions
of colour it wanted to capture in the design. From running through
the burning reds of the morning sunrise to a gentle sunset stroll bathed
in rich purples and blues as they ascend the pavilion of light, Spectra
purposely propels people into a technicolour haven.
The positioning of Spectra on the site was key. NEWSUBSTANCE
wanted it to act as a beacon of light that draws people in from day to
night. At certain times it will perfectly blend with the natural colours of the
Coachella sky, and at others, it will be a wonderfully stark contrast.
As people venture into the temple of tranquillity, they will find peace
and serenity from the buzz of the festival. As they ascend through
Spectra’s tower of colour, they will be rewarded with never before
seen views - a new way of seeing things and a new way of experiencing the
Rat Sound Systems deploys DiGiCo and L-Acoustics across
7 stages to continue 2 decades of sound success
California-based audio rental house, Rat Sound Systems, was once again
Rat Subs were also used as rear sub fills, as well as 18 Rat SuperSubs. The
the official sound reinforcement provider for 7 Coachella stages. The
Outdoor Theatre stage ran 10 K1 deep per side over 4 boxes of K2, 3 blocks
highly-respected team - led by Jon Monson and Dave Rat, designed an
of 8 SB28 for subs, and 6 6-packs of V-Dosc for delays. 12 KARA and 4 ARCs
impressive festival system utilising a total of 847 boxes for this year’s
were then used as front fill.
festival. The PA was made up of L-Acoustics and Rat Sound’s own subs.
Lance Reynolds, FOH Engineer for British jagged guitar kings alt-J - who
The designs included stage and delay systems gaining use from some
performed on the Outdoor Theatre stage - stated: “The Rat Sound system
of the biggest stars in live music. The company also provided gear to the
technicians set up and tuned the PA system perfectly, which made my day
Outdoor Theatre, Mohave, Gobi and Yuma. The primary mixing console
easy. Mixing the K1 system is always a pleasure, and the combination of
provided by Rat at Coachella 2018 were from British manufacturer, DiGiCo.
Rat Sound and L-Acoustics always makes me look forward to Coachella.
Highlighting a couple of the larger stages, Rat Sound explained to TPi
Basically, it becomes a plug and play show... and the set sounded awesome
that the main stage utilised 4 L-Acoustics K1SB’s over 12 K1’s over 4 K2 on
from the very first note.”
the inner, and 12 K1 over 2 flown K2 (per side).
To generate the mixes for the mammoth
The delay system for the main PA consisted of a
amount of PA , Rat Sound chose to provide Digico
row of 4 towers with 12 L-Acoustics K2 on each,
as the primary manufacturer of mixing console
a second row of 3 towers with 12 L-Acoustics
for all the stages. The brand was in use at both
K2 on each, and a third row of 3 towers with 12
the FOH and monitor positions. With the world
“Both L-Acoustics and DiGiCo
L-Acoustics k2 on each. Due to the size of the
watching these performances, perfect sound
area, 4 towers for VIP guests with 9 L-Acoustics K2
execution was not up for compromise and
provided an exemplary level
on each, and an additional delay / VIP tower with
therefore DiGiCo had reps on site to ensure any
of product support that is
a further 12 boxes of L-Acoustics K2 were also
engineers new to its desks were taken care of. To
put in place. The result? A humbling total of 168
fundamental for an event of this ensure a smooth operation was indeed enjoyed
L-Acoustics K2 in the main stage field!
by all end users, Rat Sound also designated a
size and complexity - I cannot
The Sahara Tent was also a monster venue
new area for the event’s many visiting sound
at 300ft x 300ft this year. It comprised 4 main
engineers; a DiGiCo SD10 and an SD12 with
stress enough how important
hangs of 10 L-Acoustics K1 over 4 K2’s with 8 K1SB
SD-Rack and the ‘Ultimate Stadius’ 32-Bit Mic
and useful manufacturer
behind each. The delay field comprised 6 arrays:
Pre Amp Cards were set up in the Rat Sound
6 K2’s and 4 K1SB each, all at 50ft trims. A total
Production Office which enabled engineers to
product support is...”
of 16 boxes of KARA covered the front fills. For
build, refine or test their show files proved to be
Dave Rat,
the sub design in this area, Rat Sound provided
an extremely popular and appreciated move too.
President of Rat Sound Systems
16 KS28’s and 32 SB28’s - 16 at FOH! - and 16
Dave Rat, President of Rat Sound Systems,
stated: “It was really awesome having all of the band engineers in to visit us,
not just to check out the consoles, but to come and say hello and hang out
with the Rat crew too!”
“Each of the 3 massive stages supplied by Rat Sound, with support from
Hi-Tech Audio, was equipped with dual SD10’s with Waves at FOH and dual
SD12’s on monitors. All systems had their own SD-Racks complete with new
‘Ultimate Stadius’ 32-bit Mic Pre-Amps,” said Matt Larson, Executive Vice
President of Professional Audio for Group One, DiGiCo’s US distributor.
“All of the other stages that Rat serviced had a single SD10 with Waves
and SD12 paired with the same SD-Racks and Ultimate 32-bit pres. And
that count doesn’t even include the consoles that a number of touring acts
carried in with them! On the first Sunday alone, I counted a dozen DiGiCos
on the main Coachella stage, which was almost as many desks as Rat
deployed for the entire festival. DiGiCo desks were everywhere!”
In total, there were 20 DiGiCo consoles on site: 9 DiGiCo SD10’s, 9 DiGiCo
SD12’s and 2 SD11’s. Furthermore, there were 18 SD-Racks, and every stage
had touring rigs with DiGiCo - up to 12 consoles on the main stage during
No. 836
most nights of the festival.
Rat talked TPi though the reasoning behind his 2018 gear choices:
“L-Acoustics is an established, worldwide known product that is not
only highly desired on band riders for a diversity of artists, it also has the
reliability and performance that is required for an event of this type. DiGiCo
has a similar set of parameters and assets in that it is a highly in-demand
manufacturer of choice in the digital console world. The DiGiCo product
line’s diversity and reliability, plus worldwide availability, made it an
excellent choice for Coachella.
“Furthermore, both L-Acoustics and DiGiCo provided an exemplary
level of product support that is fundamental for an event of this size
and complexity - I cannot stress enough how important and useful
manufacturer product support is,” he concluded.
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Powersoft Audio hits the world’s biggest EDM festival stage with
Rat Sound System’s SuperSub
At Coachella 2018, the sheer engineering expertise of Powersoft Audio
was manifest amidst an unprecedented display of super-low frequency
soundwave propagation for thousands of excited music fans.
In the Sahara Tent, perhaps the biggest stage in the world for EDM
music once per year, festival organisers pushed the boundaries of what is
possible in sound design with an array of Rat Sound System’s SuperSub
cabinets - each driven by Powersoft’s M-Force moving magnet linear motor.
“We are thrilled that our M-Force technology is once again at the cutting
edge of sound design at Coachella, this time playing an integral role in the
way that tens of thousands of fans are able to engage and interact in a
major festival sound experience,” commented Francesco Fanicchi, Brand
and Communication Director of Powersoft. “It is especially validating to our
engineering team to know that we are able to bring such a massive sound
experience to new heights through our innovation and design.”
Dave Rat of Rat Sound Systems, who has played an integral role
in Coachella’s sound systems for 19 consecutive years, designed and
deployed the Rat Sound Systems SuperSub SDS30 subwoofers, which
delivered massive and consistent low-end frequencies for the many
thousands of music fans attending the Sahara Tent.
and L-Acoustics KS28 subwoofers. The Sahara Stage alone featured a
system totaling 252 speakers. He knew he needed an extra something
in the aforementioned tent to give festival attendees a truly unique and
memorable experience. “I think for any live sound reinforcement venue
or situation, low frequency is the key for connecting the artist with the
audience physically,” he said. “For full immersion in music you have got to
be able to feel the sound.”
Enter the Rat Sound Systems SuperSub SDS30. At 32-inch x 32-inch x
42-inch, the SuperSub is less than 25% percent larger than the popular
world class double 18-inch but provides significantly more output down
to much lower frequencies. “The SuperSub is as loud as 2 to 3 very high
quality double 18-inch but takes up nearly the same truck space as one,”
Rat explained. This not only allows Rat to put out tremendous bass from a
deceptively small package, but also save a significant amount on trucking.
“You multiple that power ratio out, and since they are self-powered
including amp racks, we see about a 50% truck space savings. So, we’re
using less real estate under the stage and less in the truck, which is a
tremendous advantage. Bring less, get louder!”
“My inspiration for designing the SuperSub came from seeing Powersoft’s
M-Force moving motor product,” Rat recalled. Powersoft M-Force, an
innovative transducer based on a patented moving magnet linear motor
structure that differs from a traditional moving coil, leverages its unique
design to deliver remarkable power handling, electromagnetic conversion,
reliability and maximum SPL. “I had been working for quite some time with
the use of metal tubes and wooden tubes in loudspeaker design and seeing
the M-Force product and some of the other enclosure designs that had
been built out of that product, I felt that I could do something special with
Rat explained how his unique enclosure design also maximised the
performance of the Powersoft M-Force: “If you look at a high-pressure gas
line or high pressure water line, they are all in tubes because a tube won’t
expand or contract. You can take rectangular enclosure constructed with
2-inch thick plywood, mount a powerful enough speaker in it, and the
As Coachella itself has grown and changed over nearly 2 decades, Rat
Sound Systems has seen its sound needs evolve as well. “Coachella
has grown quite a bit over the years, and it’s probably one of the more
challenging events in the world from a sound perspective,” he said. “The
challenge is the massive coverage areas, minimising offsite sound and
the need for premium quality and consistency.” These unparalleled
demands have made it a proving ground for the boundary-pushing audio
technologies. That inspired Rat Sound Systemss to harness the power of
Powersoft’s M-Force via his SuperSub subwoofer, setting a new standard in
low-end performance in the process.
Rat Sound Systems put together systems for 7 of Coachella’s stages that
utilised premium L-Acoustics loudspeakers including K1 and K2 mains
Coachella Festival - Indio, CA
Five out of ten of the world’s top-grossing festivals choose L-Acoustics.* Artistes the world over request L-Acoustics for its impact and pristine
quality. Our sound systems give festival goers the experience of a lifetime. Our exclusive technology, sound design tools, and network of
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walls will flex and vibrate. But if you mount that same high-power speaker
in a metal tube, the amount of expansion and contraction of the tube will
be fractions of a millimetre instead of half an inch or a centimetre. So, by
putting the M-Force motor in the tube and the tube in a square box, and
making the ports the corners, I can get really long ports in a very rigid
high Q enclosure. This rigidity, lack of box resonance, long port length and
bandpass enclosure design, all combine to create an attractive subwoofer
with amazing low frequency response, very high output and clear and
defined output in the upper bandwidth.”
go. We don’t want the production offices overwhelmed, for instance, and
we don’t want to blast people miles away and induce complaints. Our
concerns are to not only to give the attendees and experience to enjoy and
remember, it is also to respect the neighbors and adjoining community
by minimising the sound radiated offsite. This is no small or simple task to
balance these two very important aspects.”
Rat knows that he has yet to reach the full potential of what the Powersoft
M-Force motor and the SuperSub design can achieve. “To use the SuperSub
to its full potential, I would need to work with an artist who writes music
With 18 SuperSubs positioned front and centre and complementing the
that utilises its full frequency response,” he said. “Right now, most music
massive L-Acoustics system, Rat was able to deliver a unique and powerful
is designed for existing hardware which tends to struggle below 30Hz, so
low-end reinforcement. In addition to peak sound performance, the
if you have loudspeakers that go lower than anything else, that’s an area
M-Force motor provides the SuperSub with another valuable attribute:
that has been relatively unexplored.” Rat sees exciting opportunities to
reliability. “We’re doing 2 weekends, back to back, each 3 days with 185
reproduce frequencies that we already enjoy in the natural environment. bands per weekend,” Rat explained. “Combined with environmental factors
“As it stands nobody even makes a pro touring speaker that will
like temperatures - both hot days and cold
reproduce the fundamental low C note on a piano
days - windy days, dust storms, and the sheer
- at around 16 Hz. But with Powersoft M-Force,
number of hours, you need a really tough sub.”
that’s finally within reach. We’ve got to do this!”
The Powersoft SuperSub and its M-Force motor
In the meantime, Powersoft’s M-Force will
held up to the demanding conditions, performing
continue to help Rat deliver memorable sonic
without a hitch throughout the duration of the
experiences everywhere he takes his SuperSubs.
“We’re after optimal coverage,
“Coachella is a great festival because each
Sheer output is not the only sonic goal of
year it really pushes us to come up with quality
an enhanced and memorable
the Powersoft SuperSub. “We’re after optimal
solutions that take things to the next level,” he
low frequency experience. The
coverage, an enhanced and memorable low
frequency experience,” Rat said. “The incredible
“They ask us, ‘How can we make it better than
incredible magnetic strength of
magnetic strength of the M-Force makes it faster
last year, how can it be the best?’ And by pushing
the M-Force makes it faster and
and harder-hitting than any double 18-inch
us they enable us to push the whole industry to
speaker or 21-inch speaker I’ve ever heard.”
bring things to the next level. It’s fun and exciting
harder-hitting than any double
Their punchy, controlled depth delivers plenty of
for us to utilise new technology like the M-Force
18-inch speaker or 21-inch
impact for Rat and his team.
to create an experience that will be special and
“For Coachella in particular, we pay quite a bit
memorable for so many people.”
speaker I’ve ever heard...”
of attention to low frequency control,” Rat said.
Dave Rat,
“We’re trying to saturate the audience without
President of Rat Sound Systems
having sound going places we don’t want it to
New from DiGiCo
Predictably Stunning
In 2015, DiGiCo launched its compact S-Series, which
last year, the whole SD Range became much more
powerful thanks to the introduction of Stealth Core 2
Software across the board; now, in DiGiCo’s 15th year,
meet the new and predictably stunning SD12.
The new DiGiCo SD12 doesn’t just re-write the book on
compact multi-application consoles, it simply rips it up
and starts again.
Main Features
72 input channels with full processing
36 aux/grp busses with full processing
LR / LCR bus & 12 x 8 Matrix
12 FX processors & 16 Graphic EQs
119 Dynamic EQs, 119 Multiband
Compressors, 119 DiGiTuBes
Advanced surface connectivity with
optional DMI cards
UB MADI & optional Optics
DiGiCo UK Ltd. Unit 10 Silverglade Business Park, Leatherhead Road
Chessington, Surrey KT9 2QL. Tel: +44 (0) 1372 845600
SD12 Total Production TPi 3-2-17.indd 1
02/03/2017 15:35
Allen & Heath lends tour support
Coachella 2018 also had myriad Allen & Heath dLive systems in use on
multiple stages in support of a wide array of musical acts, from pop
star Hayley Kiyoko (who has racked up over 175 million YouTube views
for her music videos) to the alt rock quintet, The Neighbourhood,
including additional sets from BØRNS, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Nothing But
Thieves, and PVRIS. In addition to supporting major acts in a traditional FOH / monitor
scenario, the company utilised Allen & Heath compact Qu consoles
deployed to cover production duties. Allen & Heath Qu production
desks kept house music playing as FOH consoles were swapped in and
out from act to act, served to support VO mics, and carried ‘shout box’
communications for production staff across stage positions and from
monitor world to FOH.
Praised for its intuitive workflow and tiny footprint, the Allen & Heath
dLive C1500 Control Surface was a popular choice across Coachella festival
stages. The Allen & Heath C1500 is the first rack-mountable surface for the
Allen & Heath dLive system. Packed in a diminutive frame are 12 faders
over 6 layers, built-in audio I/O, an audio networking port and a 12-inch
capacitive touchscreen.
All Allen & Heath dLive Control Surfaces pair with a MixRack to deliver
128 input processing channels, 16 stereo FX returns and a configurable 64
bus architecture, all at 96kHz, while providing class-leading latency of 0.7ms.
Michael Bangs, Allen & Heath USA Live Sound Touring Manager
commented: “Sometimes coming into a festival environment as a visiting
artist is a real pain - getting a large mix surface into the FOH position is
frequently just impossible. We saw many acts bypass this limitation with
the (Allen & Heath dLive) C1500, carrying in a flyable 19-inch wide desk with
the horsepower and capability of desks literally 4-5 times the size.”
In addition to traditional FOH / monitor console support with Allen
& Heath dLive, compact Allen & Heath Qu Series mixing consoles were
deployed to cover a wide range of production duties. A number of Qu
production desks were used to play house music while FOH consoles were
swapped from act to act, support event announcement playback and carry
‘shout box’ communications for production staff across stage positions and
from monitor world to FOH. “While engineers love to drool over high-end desks like dLive, it is easy
to forget some of the unsung production gear heroes of these types of
shows,” noted Allen & Heath USA Marketing Manager Jeff Hawley. He added:
“Many times the flexible and rock solid operation of consoles like Qu are the
key to keeping festivals running smoothly.”
VER breaks records
VER broke records at Coachella 2018, supplying all of the lighting and
screens control for a Coachella headliner along with all lighting for
Eminem and French Montana. Commenting on the production, VER Lighting Crew Chief, Joe
Gonzales, said: “No one has done what we did at Coachella this year. This
was the biggest headliner mainstage production brought to Coachella
to date. This production wouldn’t have been possible without everyone
working as a cohesive team, starting with the artists and the team behind
them, the creative director, lighting director, the Coachella Production Staff
and my VER Lighting Crew. In my 26 years in the industry this was definitely
a once in a life time experience.”
eps America delivers ground protection
eps america, a subsidiary of the German infrastructure service provider
eps, has worked alongside Coachella 2018 promoter Goldenvoice for
more than 5 years. The cooperation began with eps GIGS stage barriers
and ground protection. In 2018, eps delivered further equipment to the
ever-growing festival.
The company utilised GIGS stage barriers at the 6-stage festival;
featuring 600 GIGS straight elements which is in total about 2150 linear ft.
A further 17 eps GIGS barriers featured outside and 8 eps GIGS barriers
inside corners allowed to curve barrier lines in high pressure areas. For
some customised barrier lines, eps america used 58 eps GIGS Varios and 4
eps T-Corners, while 3 eps GIGS multicore and 4 eps GIGS Multicore Access
Gates allowed cables to break through the barrier line.
Aren Gelfond, Director of Project Management eps america, said: “In
many ways, Coachella is the kick off for the festival season and we were
able to kick it off with a bang! The growth of the festival is well illustrated
in the major makeover to The Sahara Tent From larger stage runs and
the growing VIP viewing areas, we were ready to work with all involved to
ensure success on all sides. It was a please to be part of the growth.”
On site eps america also installed 4 eps’ GIGS Truck Gates; wide
enough to allow vehicles through but can also be used to limit entry
of attendees, protecting an area from being overcrowded. Opening
outwards, they can be released quickly should there be the need to
Additionally, eps america delivered LD rolls, that were in use backstage
to help bring trailers in and out. After all, it also minimised the damage
to the grass. eps america tipped all trucks on 9 April 2018 and started to
build the following day, built throughout the week and with some minor
tweaks on 13 April 2018.
New M-FORCE 301P01
harnessing the power of switching technology
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The soulful Londoner was back on the road following the release of his second album,
The Thrill Of It All, which he consequently toured live thanks to an ambitiously creative production
team. TPi’s Stew Hume spoke to the crew behind the theatrical stage show.
Sam Smith rocketed to the top of the charts with his first album, and
has since become one of Britain’s the most sought-after exports. He also
has a multitude of incredible career milestones already under his belt;
after all, it’s not every day an artist gets to write a James Bond theme
tune after only 1 album... Riding this wave of success, 2017 brought
the singer’s sophomore release, The Thrill Of It All. Now an established
name within the industry, Smith was keen to make an impact with the
supporting tour. The result; a stage show that was equal parts epic and
intimate, with a high-class Broadway finish.
From the beginning of the campaign, Smith was adamant this
production would be ‘theatrical’ in every sense of the word. From big
set pieces to a lighting rig that evoked real drama to parry the emotional
content and grandeur of his back catalogue. “Before the first single was
released, Sam had a very clear vision,” began Creative Producer, Lee Lodge
who spoke to TPi from his LA office. “Sam had spent a long time crafting
this release and he had many ideas of how he wanted to perform the new
Lodge’s main responsibilities as Creative Director were to ensure
Smith’s ideas came to fruition and to assemble the creative team who
would help the singer facilitate that goal. “During our first meetings we
discussed everything from the promotion campaign and proceeding arena
tour. One of the things that came up continually was this term ‘theatrical’.
We wanted to create a show with a scene of space that was living and
breathing and which created a narrative throughout.”
Following the initial talks between Lodge and the singer, the pair
created a vague conceptual wish list of elements, one of which was a
structural object designed to push the narrative throughout the show.
After setting up a range of meetings with several experienced theatrical
designers in New York, in walked Jason Sherwood, who ended up taking on
the role of Set Designer.
Brooks also described some of the goals set at the beginning of the
project: “The creative team were always insistent the stage had to be clean.
From the very beginning they were working on a concept without a crowd
barrier, meaning we had to create a stage set where the audience would
see no cables. From this moment on it was clear the stage would have to
be bespoke to keep it looking as slick as possible. We worked tirelessly to
give each and every part of the stage a classy finish with gold leaf trimming.
It gave an almost high-end hotel look which perfectly complemented the
aesthetic of the show.”
But it wasn’t just the exterior that required a great deal of attention
from the Brilliant team. “The underworld for all the techs was of utmost
importance, and had to fit in with the clean look of the show. We built them
a station underneath the main structure as well as a dressing room for
Sam’s quick changes.”
But one of the most noteworthy elements of the underworld was a
feature the crew affectionately nicknamed the Sam Sled. This souped-up
mining cart shot the singer from the upstage to the very tip of catwalk in the
middle of the arena for the start of the show.
“As a little personal touch, each frame of the stage which he shot
passed every night had a little London Tube stop sticker - just to give him a
little taste of home,” said Brooks.
“On paper, it might seem to be a fairly simple set piece but in fact it was
quite a feat of engineering,” continued the Director. “The main outer shell
of the shard, opened like a flower during the song, Writing’s On The Wall,
effectively becoming a 50ft cantilever. Also within the structure we had
integrated fabrics that could be used as a projection surface with in-built
Sniffers, which would have the material disappear in a matter of seconds.”
Supplying fabrics for the tour was J&C Joel. Head of Creative at J&C Joel,
Oliver Marns, commented on the event: “This was yet another incredible
project to work on with the team at Brilliant. We’ve worked together
for many years and have a great relationship. When we got the call we
“This was very much my first live music tour,” began Sherwood, reminiscing
about his first foray into a new realm. “From our first meeting, both Sam
and I hit it off and we started throwing around ideas for the look of the
stage. Although this was my first music tour, I found many of the principles
to be similar to theatre productions. You have a source material and my role
is to support and elevate it to the masses. The main difference has been
getting used to the logical factors you have to consider while making a
touring set.” However, the Set Designer was quick to compliment the work
of Production Manager Wob Roberts and Stage Manager Brian Wares, who
were able to keep the show looking great night after night.
Sherwood explained the origins of the aesthetic: “Through the initial
visual discussions, we wanted to have a set that would really reflect his
music and developed as the night went on.” This would take shape in a
large shard structure overlooked by an upstage circular stage piece.
“The shard very much became a narrative device for a relationship,”
explained Lodge. Throughout the evening the structure altered its
appearance and like a Russian doll, revealing multiple layers, and reaching
its climax during the encore when a spiral staircase was unveiled, on which
Smith performed his encore.
Brilliant was drafted in to create this bespoke stage set. Director of
Brilliant, Ben Brooks recalled how the company entered the fray. “This was
an exciting show for us as we have so many new assets out on the tour,”
he began. “We supplied the tour with 5 of our new electronic drive scissor
lifts as well our very own Brilliant Automation Console for all our various
elements of automation.”
immediately understood what was required from us for the drapery
package to compliment the rest of the set. The fabric for the shard was
selected following the production of several samples and after intensive
projection and lighting tests.
The company supplied a centrepiece 10m diameter circular black Voile
drape which was set in front of the midnight PVC Projection screen both
of which were fixed to the custom circular frame designed, fabricated and
assembled by Brilliant. Furthermore, J&C Joel manufactured a custom
blackout cone shaped drape from its Mercury fabric, along with triangular
drapes which sat within the shards. Also present were drop drapes for the
inner shard from which Smith emerged from the sub stage. Additionally
the company provided metres of masking drapery made from its 3m wide
IFR Molton; numerous sections with notches and cut outs to allow for the
attaching of lighting fixtures and speakers to the stage.
Marns concluded: “As one would expect with a set as large and complex
as this, there were many technical challenges along the way, but these were
overcome with the input of Brilliant’s team – they are real problem solvers.
The result was one of the most visually stunning shows I have seen in many
years. The clean, simple look of the show belies the creative, technological
and engineering work involved.”
all the way to the production rehearsals it has been a fantastic process.”
Sherwood echoed this statement: “Tim’s lighting design fit so wonderfully
with our designs and the overall narrative. His approach was very reserved
sometimes opting to just use a few single spot lights for some of Sam’s
most intimate moments.” Working alongside the creative team was Neg
Earth Lights which provided lighting, rig automation and special effects,
with PRG XL Video supplying video.
Routledge relayed some highlights from working with the project. “With
this show, each set piece and staging element has between 4 to 5 jobs,”
enthused the LD. “Take, for example, the upstage ‘sun’. This 12m circular
structure creates several different looks throughout the show, from a
massive light box, to silhouette the shard structure, to an epic ring of light.
Not only did each set piece have several roles, but each could not conflict
with one another. The eclipse couldn’t affect the ring or the graduated disc
of light. The sun has a depth and movement that could not be created with
video, we never just turn it on, it breathes it animates and it graduates and
is one of the real beautiful elements of the show.
“In the upstage circle rig, we had an extensive array of fixtures including
24 Martin by Harman Atomic 3000 LED strobes and 52 Solaris Flair Q+ at
50 degrees with a further 80 Solaris Flare Q+ 70 Degrees surrounding the
circumference. But the goal was to create a cover that could show the
fixtures for one song and hide them in the next.” Thus, began a research
and development challenge between Routledge and Brilliant. “I had this
idea during the development stages to use the same technology you see in
office rooms and hotel bathrooms, where at a touch of a button a surface
goes from transparent to translucent after passing an electric charge
through the material,” explained Brooks. “This technology is usually used
in glass - less than ideal for touring - but we ended-up finding a tourable
solution. The result was phenomenal. At a touch of a button you can see all
the various fixtures on Tim’s rig then the next they are completely hidden
from view.”
Working alongside Lodge and Sherwood to provide lighting for the epic
stage set was Tim Routledge. “I was brought into the project to collaborate
with Jason who was new to the world of live touring bringing this stunning
set to life,” began the LD.
Routledge spoke candidly about having slight apprehensions when
entering a project. “Jason was very new to the touring world so I was
brought in to help sculpt his concepts and ideas,” he explained. “But
what could have been quite a clash of worlds honestly became one of
the happiest productions I have ever worked on. From the first renders,
Lighting Designer, Tim Routledge; Creative Producer, Lee Lodge; Set Designer, Jason Sherwood.
Moving away from the upstage elements Routledge outlined some of
the other elements of the rig. In the roof the LD’s lighting plot reflected
the triangular stage below. The rig consisted of 9 parallel trusses holding
the show workhorses – the Robe Spiiders. “They give me 1,000 options in
one tiny fixture,” enthused the LD who deployed a total of 75 throughout
the rig. Also used to the edge of the truss were 52 GLP impression X4 Bar
20’s. Adding to the drama through the later part of the show was a Kinesys
system which allowed alternate configurations of the triangular roof truss
and yet more versatility to the stage show.
For followspots, Routledge used the Robe BMFL Blade in combination
with the company’s RoboSpot BaseStation. “The control it gives you as
an LD is really invaluable. It opens up so many opportunities like manning
several fixtures with one remote and doing simultaneous colour changes.
This kind of control would just be unthinkable using the traditional
followspot operators. Also from a design point, having all your spots in the
rig makes the whole show just feel more complete.”
On the floor of the stage the LD utilised the Robert Juliat Dalis 862’s as
a footlight to outline the edge of the stage. “They are simply stunning and
unique fixtures and I used them to illuminate both the band and Sam as
well as accent the entire show plus they give our stage a volume of light
from the ground up which is visually gorgeous. They are able to produce
both cold and warm light at low and high intensities. The first time the
audience sees Sam is in a cold single spotlight and halfway through the
song I crash on a few floor lights at his side, and we gain our first glimpse of
his face which is a truly special moment. Crashing between low level warm
light to a full level cold is truly epic”
Aiding Routledge in the creation of the show was long time Lighitng
Programmer Tom Young. For the tour itself, the show was handed over to
Lighting Director Louisa Smurthwaite. “It’s the first time I have worked fully
on a project with Lou and choosing her has been a great experience and a
really good spirit to have in our team,” commented Routledge.
The entire set both stage and shard are edged in gold relief and hidden
inside returns are long runs of Light Initiative Intelliflex product that enables
the entire set to be outlined without seeing the LED. Routledge explained:
“We wanted to grow the shard and not just turn the LED on, with intelliflex
we can slowly trace the outline of the set from the ground up revealing the
shard and stage in total negative space that is effectively drawing Jason’s
set in light in song 1 before it becomes a solid structure.”
Contributing lighting and staging was Studio Moross, which produced
the video content for the show along with video supplier PRG XL Video.
“From the beginning of the project Sam wanted the show to be very
architecturally focussed and wanted to avoid video content,” explained
Lodge. Routledge continued: “Kate from Studio Moross produced textures
which gave some movement to the shard when projected onto the object.
It was a very subtle effect and does not overpower the show as is the nature
with video a lot nowadays.” PRG XL Video also supplied the projection
package of 4 30K Video Projectors as well as the IMAG and video package
for the tour.
Ensuring all the pieces of the tour were pulled together each day was
Production Manager, Wob Roberts. The PM was brought on board almost a
year prior to the tour. He began: “Having that amount of time was a massive
help in budgeting. Our collaboration with Brilliant was fantastic as we got a
lot of the set built way before rehearsals began. Elements like those really
help the whole process and you end up getting a good deal with all the
All the visual suppliers for the tour were long time collaborators of
Roberts. “I think I was Brilliant’s first ever customer,” laughed Roberts
reminiscing about tours of old. “It’s a similar deal with Neg Earth Lights and
PRG XL Video. Admittedly it been a few years since doing a tour with Neg
but they were very much on my wish list for this run. They always have the
best kit.”
The PM outlined some of the logistical challenges with the tour. “Credit
has to be given to Brian Wares, our Stage Manager. This tour’s success is
thanks in part to his system of getting the show loaded in and out every
day. From my standpoint as PM, my main concern is to ensure your crew get
enough rest. It’s the only way for people to survive. The goal was always to
get to a 3-hour load out and start at 8am in the morning. We managed to
get that by the end of the UK run which has helped on the European leg we
are on now. That is down to Brian and our crew of truck drivers.”
“From the beginning I was keen to ensure this was an open creative space,”
said Lodge, delivering his final thoughts on the tour. “There were never any
clear divides between design and lighting and the rest of the production
team. It was probably the most open production I have ever been involved
“With that being said, you can have all the technical expertise, but the
one element that really made this production a success was Sam. He knew
exactly what kind of arena act he wanted to be. This clear vision from the
get-go meant we were able to create a show I think we can all be very proud
of - and one I’m sure his fans around the world are going to love.”
The tour continues in mainland Europe through to the end of May before
heading out for a 3-month stint in North America.
Photos: Kris Goodman & James Barber
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Returning to Bangkok for a second Asian edition, global trance extravaganza Transmission
once again turned to trusted audio supplier Audio Plus to deliver the festival’s now-essential
Funktion-One sound.
Over the past 12 years, United Music Group’s Transmission festivals
have become world-renowned for providing the ultimate in indoor EDM
experiences. Each event is designed to deliver an evening of high-quality
DJ sets, woven together into a single themed show and elevated to the
level of mind-blowing spectacle by an expert behind-the-scenes team of
suppliers and designers.
Serving up a night of progressive house and trance to an audience
drawn from over 60 nations, Transmission Festival Asia 2018 was no
exception. Taking place on 17 March, the festival returned to the Bangkok
International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC) for a second year,
bringing with it the Spirit of the Warrior show that had already wowed
audiences in Prague at the end of 2017.
In typical Transmission style, specially created video content swept
across the stage’s giant shield-shaped video screens, linking each of the
night’s top-name DJ sets into one continuous narrative. Intense bursts of
pyro, laser and light, bolstered by live performers, provided an overload
of visual awe throughout, while a combined Funktion-One Vero vertical
array and Evo system - supplied and fine-tuned by UK-based Audio Plus delivered the all-important mix.
Transmission first launched in 2006 with a trio of shows, before quickly
settling into its annual rhythm at Prague’s O2 Arena. In 2014, the festival
ventured beyond the Czech border for an additional event at Bratislava’s
Ondrej Nepela Arena and since then has become truly global. Shows are
now held in Melbourne and Bangkok, delivering the same programme of
intense, thematically linked DJ sets to all 3 continents.
Audio Plus’s involvement began in 2009, 2 years after Transmission’s
move to its regular Prague home at the O2 Arena. Event organiser and
promoter Anco van der Kolk was looking for a PA that could match the
impressive visuals on the production, but had been unable to find anything
suitable locally. With its gold-standard reputation, Funktion-One became
the obvious choice, and so van der Kolk made contact with the speaker
manufacturer’s HQ in the UK, beginning a process that would eventually
bring United Music and Audio Plus together.
In the years since, the shows have evolved and grown, with FunktionOne remaining an essential core ingredient throughout. Thus, when the
decision was made to expand into Asia, van der Kolk was adamant that
the same high levels of audio clarity and quality should be maintained.
No suitable Funktion-One system was available in Thailand, or in the
surrounding region, so Audio Plus once again stepped up to the mark,
shipping the entire system to South East Asia. As Audio Plus Project
Manager Kris Hayes explained, this job isn’t too dissimilar to projects
they’ve worked on in the past: “We have been involved in international
shows before, especially in and around Europe. With the scale of
Transmission Asia, it’s a great opportunity where we were asked to supply a
complete arena PA system with crew and transport,” he said.
Indeed, it isn’t just the audio that makes the annual trip. To ensure
the scenery, lighting and lasers are faithfully reproduced - to match the
show experience to the event in Europe - each element is either sourced
locally or shipped over. “For Anco it’s about providing the same experience
in Bangkok as in Prague,” noted Hayes, explaining that this sometimes
Photo: Johannes Krämer
Vero is a large format sound system, which has been
engineered for superior levels of audio and operational
performance. It was designed and developed by
some of the most knowledgeable and experienced
audio engineers in the world.
Vero’s unique flying system ensures absolute driver
alignment, which guarantees coherency and results in an
incredibly immersive stereo sound stage. Angle adjustment
can be made under load, allowing for arrays to be transported
and flown in a straight line prior to being tensioned to
exact angle settings. Load ins and load outs
have never been more straightforward.
Its meticulously crafted proprietary waveguides
and driver technology produce naturally even
frequency response and coverage. The result is
uncompromised system dynamics, headroom
and coherency, which is why Vero is appreciated
by sound engineers all around the world.
requires some site-specific adjustments. “In terms of audio, we change our
system specification depending on the venue. For example, in Prague we fly
a set of Vero out-fills to fill the upper bleachers in the arena, but in Thailand
out-fills aren’t required because it’s one flat floor,” he added.
For this latest Bangkok edition, the audio once again had a FunktionOne Vero vertical array system at its heart. The main arena space is
covered with 2 main hangs comprising 5 Vero V60 mid-high enclosures with
60-degree horizontal dispersion, 5 Vero V315’s mid-bass enclosures and 4
V90 mid-high enclosures with 90-degree horizontal dispersion per side. A
centre spaced sub array of 24 Vero V221 bass enclosures provides the low
frequencies for the whole venue.
A total of 6 Resolution 5Ts are deployed as fills along the down stage
edge, while 2 Evo 7Ts, 2 Evo 7THs and 2 Evo 7TL-215’s per side are flown
as delays. Completing the audio spec are 2 PSM318’s DJ monitors, and
amplification comprised of 4 V-Racks (with 3 PLM20K44’s in each rack), 2
PLM20K44’s and 3 Audio Plus ES8 Amplifier Racks (each with 2 MC2 E100’s
and an XTA DP448). The bespoke Audio Plus control system includes a
DiGiCo SD8 mixer with a custom Lake drive system, incorporating Dante
audio networking and distribution.
“Vero and the Evo are both fantastic products,” said Hayes. “What
Funktion-One have done with the sound of both systems is huge - especially
in the low mid range - and the practicality of both Vero and Evo have made a
massive improvement to our workflow on site.”
According to Hayes, the precise controllability of the Vero system
has proved invaluable. “The biggest advantage is being able to control
where you’re putting the sound and tailoring it precisely to the venue,” he
explained. “Having 3 individual cabinets meant that we could configure the
system to our exact specification, using the projection software to ensure
we had an even coverage throughout the venue.” This was particularly
useful in tackling the challenging acoustics of Bangkok’s BITEC.
“The way the rigging system works on the Vero meant we had all arrays
flown and trimmed before lunch,” continued Hayes. “It’s such an easy
system to fly, even with the language barrier, the Thai locals had the hang of
adding cabinets and setting angles on the array as it’s going up!”
In fact, Hayes has nothing but good things to say about the Bangkok
crew. “The local Thai production teams are great to work with. They do a
few things differently to us in Europe, but they are well experienced in what
they do and everything was advanced preshow,” he said.
With crew and PA making load-in such a breeze, for Audio Plus the main
challenge of being involved in the Bangkok show is the sheer amount of
time the equipment is out for. A container-full of kit is loaded up in late
January to be ready in time for the one-day show in mid-March. “We won’t
see the container back to our warehouse until the end of April, which
puts a huge strain on the equipment we have available for that period,”
explained Hayes. The whole process, however, is kept as stress-free as
possible through the use of Rock-It Cargo, who handle all of Audio Plus’s
international transport needs. “Rock-It Cargo have been great in assisting
us through the whole process. Their knowledge is invaluable, and we really
appreciate the help they’ve given us,” said Hayes.
For Audio Plus, the mammoth scale of these events is matched by the
sense of satisfaction each successful show delivers. “This is the second year
we have supplied Transmission Asia and this year seemed even busier than
last, with the crowd really responding to this year’s package,” said Hayes.
“The organisers were full of praise for the great atmosphere achieved by
the whole team and there was no end of people coming up to us during the
show to say how great the sound, lighting, video, pyro and lasers were.”
United Music Events’ Anco van der Kolk, also commented: “We
always strive to provide the best sound quality at all Transmission events
worldwide and with the support of Audio Plus and Funktion-One we have
the right partners to do so.”
The Transmission ride, however, never stops. Planning is already well
underway for the next big show in Prague this October, as well as for the
Transmission stage at the Airbeat One festival in Germany - the latter
maintaining audio standards with an Audio Plus-supplied Vero system.
Photos: Palci
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In January 2018, Backstage Academy took to the road to inspire students around the UK
to choose a career in the live events industry. Over the course of 3 weeks, MD, Glen Rowe and
his team visited 13 colleges and academies in a tour that traversed the country from Truro to
Pontefract, via South Wales.
Rowe began: “The creative industries are booming, and I have been
fortunate to have enjoyed a 25-year career in touring. Sadly, many
never even attempt to join our industry because they don‘t realise how
diverse it is. Life on the road is immense fun, hard work and financially
Students got the low down from Rowe on the roles available in the live
events industry and what skills they would need to become industry-ready
technicians and crew. Afterwards, they got to try their hand at loading and
unloading a tour trailer in the timed RELOAD challenge.
Rowe mentioned: “As well as an understanding of the industry and the
courses available at Backstage Academy, we wanted to give them a hands-
on experience of the buzz of working in the touring industry and unloading
a tour trailer against the clock did just that.”
As an incentive to post the fastest load-in time, Backstage Academy
offered a prize of £2,000 in technical equipment. The BRIT School proved
to be the speediest at maneuvering flight cases with a time of 6 mins 18
Alexa Cruikshank, Director of Communications at The BRIT School
commented: “Thank you to Backstage Academy and Beat the Street
for coming to The BRIT School as part of their tour. It was a fantastic
opportunity for our students to learn about the training routes available
and the world of production as well as it being lots of fun taking part in the
Thank you
Beat the Street!
Thanks to your amazing team,
510 students, from 13 schools
across the UK, were able to
experience the excitement of
the live events industry and life
on the road.
You guys ROCK!
TPI_Ad_v3.indd 1
27/04/2018 17:15
RELOAD challenge. An inspiring day to remember!”
many of whom had not been aware of the career opportunities on offer in
Of course, it would be almost impossible to put on outreach
live events. By the end of the tour over 60% of the students involved stated
programmes such as these without the support of the industry. Sara
that they were now interested in a job in the industry.
Gleadhall, Business Development Director at Backstage Academy
Steve Brown is one of the lead tutors at Truro Academy. He said: “This
discussed how manufacturers and service providers were very keen to get
provided a wonderful opportunity for our students here at Truro College to
involved: “When we approached the industry with our idea we were met
see first-hand exactly what is on offer at Backstage Academy. Live events is
with real enthusiasm. Everyone recognises the need to develop fresh, new
a thriving industry with plentiful job prospects, we were very proud to link
professionals to join us.”
up with Backstage Academy.”
Jörg Philipp, Owner and Founder of Beat the
Backstage Academy now intends to go back
Street and one of the tour’s key supporters stated:
out on tour next year. This time with the aim of
“I was really pleased to be able to support this
reaching a wider and younger audience. Many of
initiative. Having a job that takes you around the
whom will learn this is the career of their dreams
world on one of our busses is a wonderful thing.
and yet currently have no knowledge of the
I hope this tour inspired more people to consider
industry or the vast array of jobs available in it.
joining our wonderful industry.”
Rowe said: “With young people having to
The Beat the Street tour bus provided a great
decide on their career paths at 14, it’s important
focal point for the tour. As Gleadhall pointed out,
they get to understand all the options available
it was a real eye-opener to some of those who
to them, and the skills they need to get there. For
took a look inside: “The tour bus was a real eyeour next tour we plan to go bigger and better with
opener for many of the students. The fact that
an experience that will really immerse them in
there were beds on board was mind-blowing to
the activities involved in putting on a live music
some of the schools we visited. They hadn’t really
considered how a band and its crew could appear
If there are any brands or manufacturers that
“Life on the road is
in Birmingham on one night and in Paris the next.
would like to get involved in the next Backstage
It gave students a great insight into the touring
Academy tour, please contact Sara Gleadhall:
immense fun, hard work and
financially rewarding...”
Over the course of the tour, the Backstage
Glen Rowe
Academy team spoke to over 500 participants,
TPI_E-Series_QU03.indd 1
7/11/2016 8:37:09 AM
Harman Professional Solutions has announced the grand opening of the Harman Experience
Centre in London, situated in Hemel Hempstead - a stone’s throw away from the UK’s capital, but
away from the hectic city life.
The new facility expanded the growing global network of Harman
Professional Solutions Experience Centres, which already includes
locations in Los Angeles, Singapore and Shanghai, and this will serve as
the new headquarters for the EMEA region.
Designed to showcase how Harman solutions uniquely address
customer needs across a variety of entertainment and enterprise market
applications, the 25,800 sq ft multi-functional facility including EMEA
headquarter offices, demonstrates the integration of brands including JBL
Professional, AKG Acoustics, AMX, BSS Audio, Crown International, dbx
Professional, DigiTech, Lexicon Pro, Martin, Soundcraft and Studer.
“The opening of the experience centre in London represents a major
investment in the EMEA region, enabling us to deepen relationships with
our customers and greatly expand our presence across critical markets,”
said Chris Smith, Vice President, EMEA, Harman Professional Solutions.
“Not only will the facility offer customers the opportunity to experience
Harman innovation firsthand, it provides our staff with a state-of-the-art
headquarters that will allow us to pursue new opportunities with greater
speed and efficiency.”
The Harman Experience Centre - London is comprised of several
dedicated spaces along with the EMEA office space and meeting rooms.
The Product Showroom is filled with Harman solutions including Harman’s
Connected Retail Experience, Huddle Space, Connected Hotel Room,
Home Recording, Networked AVoIP, and much more. The Foyer, Boardroom
and Auditorium are not only practical-use spaces, but also areas that
demonstrate Harman solutions for restaurant, corporate, education,
corporate, and theatre environments. In addition, individuals have the
opportunity to converse with the finest experts the company has to offer,
giving customers a deeper insight into the world of Harman.
“By opening this Harman Experience Centre, we expanding our robust
global network of experience centres and enabling our customers around
the world to experience the One Harman Solution proposition firsthand,”
commented Mohit Parasher, Executive Vice President and President,
Harman Professional Solutions. “From JBL Professional sound and Martin
lighting to AMX controllers and Samsung displays, the entire facility is a
brilliant demonstration of what Harman products can do when deployed
seamlessly together in enterprise and entertainment environments.”
Helen Badger, Marketing Director EMEA, concluded: “We are delighted
to open the London Experience Centre in EMEA, this immersive space
showcases the innovative and ground-breaking technologies that Harman
Professional Solutions offer through the professional lens of audio, video,
lighting, and control. This space is open for customers and influencers
to view the product in an environment that demonstrates how Harman
solutions uniquely address customers’ needs across multiple vertical
markets. We are looking forward to see how this space is going to evolve.”
w w w . r o b e . c z
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Marking the beginning of the 2018 festival season, PK Sound touched down for its third year in a row
at Insomniac’s 3-day, massive outdoor festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Mexico.
Headlining DJ’s from around the globe gathered at Autodromo
Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in the thumping, colourful
community that is Insomniac’s EDC experience. World-class acts like
Above & Beyond, Borgore, Deadmau5, Ghastly, Dillon Francis, Rezz,
Slushii, Tiesto, and many more flew down to join in on the fun for 2 nights
of music that left fans wanting more.
For this exciting event, PK Sound assembled a skillful team who were
up to the challenge of providing the audio, setup, and engineering for EDC
Mexico’s main stage, which was aptly named kineticFIELD. This massive
stage required an equally robust deployment from the team, sourcing
from both its headquarters in Calgary and its warehouse location in San
Francisco. In total there were 88 Trinity line arrays, 108 CX800 subwoofers,
12 Gravity 30 subwoofers, 40 VX10 compact arrays, and 8 VX12 VIP fills
deployed in order to provide a balanced sound in such a substantial area.
Add all that gear in with award-winning acts playing their music on a
mainstage that featured a gorgeous 2-story tall Gaia figure flanked by larger
than life owls, fire features, water features, fireworks, and lasers, and you’ve
got yourself one impressive show!
Improving on success from previous EDC Mexico deployments, PK
Sound added to the depth of sound coverage by setting up a total of 12
audio hangs on stage and throughout the main event area. On stage, 2
main hangs and 2 lateral hangs each supported 14 Trinity line arrays per
hang. Approximately 200ft from the stage hangs, mid-field coverage was
accomplished with 4 additional hangs, each with 8 Trinity line arrays.
Taking it even further, approximately 410ft from the stage was another set
of 4 hangs, each with 10 VX10 compact line arrays.
Now, it isn’t enough to just throw a tonne of speakers on a field and
press play. Careful audio engineering and sculpting of sound is required
from PK Sound’s team to create the perfect listening environment for
Insomniac’s headliners.“We focussed the top 3 Trinity boxes in all 8
Trinity hangs to a narrow dispersion, which increased the high frequency
sensitivity and allowed each hang to cover a great distance,” explained
Arlen Cormack, VP of Production at PK Sound.
Patrons of EDC Mexico who opted for the VIP Headliner ticket packages
were privy to a special intimate audio experience. This meant yet another
layer of decision-making for FOH engineers working at EDC Mexico. To
accomplish this, engineers used PK Sound’s control software to steer the
highs and mids away from the VIP section to eliminate the possibility of
sound overlap originating from different distances.
“The 2 main Trinity hangs had to have the side closest to the VIP
section focused inward to ensure the VIP attendees were only hearing the
ground-stacked VX12 boxes in conjunction with closest stage right lateral
extension” continued Cormack.
For the VIP area itself, 2 ground stacks with 6 CX800’s and 4 VX12’s
each were placed in locations within the section. These provided a direct
sound field and washed out any other sound sources to carefully curate the
experience for VIP guests who wanted that little something extra. Isolating
the sound sources in VIP proved to be worth the extra effort as both VIP
Headliners and EDC patrons got to enjoy quality sound regardless of where
they were situated.
Moving from top to bottom, PK Sound is renowned for its deep,
distortion-free bass, so of course the production team delivered low-end
frequencies on a silver platter. This year’s EDC Mexico was the first time
PK Sound brought 12 of its new Gravity 30 subwoofers to Mexico. These
new subwoofers were complementary to the main CX800 sub wall, which
consisted of 36 stacks of 3 subwoofers each. Gravity 30s were placed
underneath the mid-field Trinity hangs.
The result of adding Gravity 30 subwoofers to this deployment was
phenomenal; they provided significant warmth and energy to the field over
500ft away from the stage, and with efficiency and low distortion, too. Music
fans enjoyed deep, clear bass throughout the day and well into the night.
As another festival season rolls by, the PK Sound team proved that it
had what it takes to deal with the constant pressure and challenges, and
in doing so had a blast working at EDC Mexico with the Insomniac crew.
Collaborating with so many talented acts and experienced crew at one
of the biggest shows of the year in South America is something that PK
Sound is well known for, be sure to catch them for future deployments with
Insomniac and its talented team.
Photos: PK Sound
The eclectic artist returned with a stage clad in top secret
material and a deceptively hefty audio setup. TPi’s Ste Durham visited
Liverpool’s Echo Arena to meet the crew.
Having burst back into the charts - following self-imposed maternity
leave - with an album as well crafted as The Architect, the socially
conscious pop songstress needed an equally classy production to
accompany her to some of the UK’s biggest indoor venues. The result
was a refreshingly traditional take on a modern pop show - eschewing
LED walls and eyeball searing lighting rigs in favour of an innovative and
symbolically rich stage set.
and Lighting Crew Chief George Doherty as being key to the flow of load ins
and outs. He said: “We have floor fixtures and spares on the video trucks
and they come out first of all. We like to think it makes a lot of sense and
helps how everything runs. None of the trucks have anything crazy when
you open the doors, and even the motor and steel package is small.”
After acting as a point of contact throughout the day, Ladkin then
suited up - quite literally - to call the show. “Of course, we’re all wearing
crew-specific boiler suits at Paloma’s request,” he smiled, “although the
tour before us had to wear tuxedos so I think we got off lightly! It’s actually
quite nice, as the show is the only part of the day where everyone comes
together. It’s still kind of exciting when we all suit up and get in the zone!”
The show itself is fairly organic from a show calling point of view, with
the exception of a few key set pieces. Ladkin explained: “At the start of the
show I shuffle Paloma round the back of the stage and into the understage
lift, where we have a different photo gag taped up waiting for her! It’s
becoming hard to top each day, and I’ve been in some precarious positions
to say the least…
“Then it all kicks off with a kabuki drop and, other than a few other little
things like chucking mic stands on stage, we just have the walk-around to
worry about.”
In this section of the show - during Picking Up the Pieces - Faith heads
out into the crowd, wending her way through the aisles, dishing out highfives and generally causing hysteria at every turn. “Me and Mark have to
follow behind her and clear in front of her, respectively, while she goes on a
wander. It’s certainly amusing to see how people react and it’s even funnier
when she decides to stich Mark up and run off in a different direction!”
Christie Lites supplied all of the lighting kit for the tour, while VER
provided video, Adlib provided audio, and LS-Live provided the allimportant set that was built on house stages. Phoenix Bussing and Fly By
Nite took care of crew and gear transportation, respectively.
Production also made use of Fly By Nite’s rehearsal facilities in Redditch
to prepare for the tour, as Production Director at 24/7, Andrew Thornton,
Much like the majority of the crew, this was Stage Manager Duncan Ladkin’s
first full tour with Faith, having been involved with a handful of one-off
projects with her through his relationship with Production Management
specialist, 24/7 Productions. Ladkin - last seen in TPi for his work on the
Shawn Mendes tour - began: “This tour was produced by 24/7’s Andrew
Thornton and Production Managed by 24/7 owner John Pryer. Production
Coordinator Mark Pickard and myself run the show between us. I’ve
basically been dealing with everything stage-based, like getting the show
built every day - by which I mean standing in the middle of a room pointing
while other people do the work,” he laughed.
Although Ladkin was keen to point out the relative simplicity of this
7-truck tour, the show design itself was centred on an ornate set piece
that was as delicate as it was intricate. He continued: “We were a little
bit worried about the set originally because there’s so much of it, but we
decided to leave the build until last, after lighting, video and sound, which
has worked well. We also have the advantage that our guys are incredibly
capable and the product is great.”
“Our main focus is keeping it pristine, and our carps Rafa [Rodriguez]
and Darren [Clark] are fantastic at that, despite me moaning at them all the
time! The carts from LS-Live are great, so all the fascia just slot in and we
strap them down. The fact that it’s the last thing on stage after backline and
first one off means there’s less chance of accidents.”
Ladkin also acknowledged a pre-existing relationship between himself
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explained: “This was my second visit to FBN Studios and I loved it as much
as the first. The space itself is the perfect blank canvas for large-scale
production rehearsals and rigging is a breeze; I actually cut back on the
rigging call due to the simplicity of hanging points. The hotel rooms onsite
are very handy to keep key team members close by as well. Scottie always
provides a great welcome!”
Ladkin added: “It’s our first time with Fly By Nite for trucking and their
drivers are great. It’s also Bite Tour Catering’s first tour ever, though we
knew we were in good hands, as industry veterans Dan Jones and Emily
Cribley run it. The food is amazing and hopefully this is the start of big
things for them.”
omnipresent ‘voice of God’ that introduces the album and plays at the start
of the show. It also had visual connotations of the symbol of the ‘Mother’;
casting its maternal energy over the entire space. This, of course, was very
relevant to Paloma as a working mother herself.”
This iconic centrepiece was fashioned and provided, along with the
rest of the staging elements required, by LS-Live. Shipton commented:
“Working with Vince [Foster, LD] and Bullet from LS-Live was a vital part of
the process, especially to discover the way the different mirror products
would react under light. The tests that Bullet did on developing the
sculpted jagged finish also really helped bring the mirror product to life and
define the iconic look for the set.”
Bullet paid a brief visit to the Echo Arena to explain the finer points of
the show-stealing set: “We originally had some flying elements and blinds,
which were eventually cut, but we decided to add the upstage circle on
Paloma’s request. She wanted something behind her at the top of the stairs
to complete the look, so we just used an off-the-shelf 3m circle and cladded
it like the rest of the set.”
Although it could be seen all over the set, this top secret cladding’s
ability to absorb and manipulate light was demonstrated to great effect
on the circle itself, where Foster’s intricately subtle cues made it appear
to twinkle and pulse under the lights. Think a smaller, disco version of the
Stargate and you might get the picture.
Shipton added: “Vince and I worked really closely throughout the
rehearsal process to develop the lighting looks to ensure that they really
added colour and texture to the set design and connected with the music.
Paloma also joined us in that process, taking the time from her busy
schedule to join us for a lighting session and give her critique on our first
So key was this set piece to both the lighting design and the overall
look of the stage that finding the best possible material was of the utmost
importance for Bullet.
He explained: “We’ve not used the material on anything before, though
we did use a similar thing for a one-off Katy Perry performance on The X
Factor. Originally we used a kind of tin foil but it ended up looking a bit like
a scrunched up KitKat wrapper and didn’t even absorb the light! Everyone
fell in love with the alternative and we went from there.
“I knew it was going to be impressive either way because of the shape,
it kind of reminds me of the ice cave off Superman! Underneath the solid
wood backing, there’s hard polystyrene, then plastic cones with the vinyl
bonded to it. Any exposed edges have padded coating on them, for safety,
Show Designer Dan Shipton was initially introduced to Faith on a
recommendation from Pryer and Thornton, who knew him separately and
anticipated the potential for a fruitful and creative working relationship.
“I’m pleased to say, they were absolutely right,” began Shipton. “I’m sure
it’s no surprise to hear that Paloma definitely knows what she wants.
For the tour, she initially provided lots of references and inspiration that
I then developed into a design that could work in reality, with her input
throughout the process.”
He continued: “In the beginning, Paloma sent over a picture of a black
mirror, which had been smashed into fragments. This texture became a
central reference point during the development process. She was also
really specific that she didn’t want any screens and that she wanted a
different arrangement for the band that moved away from tradition.
“For me, the image of the smashed mirror reminded me of shards of
black onyx and I started to imagine what it would look like if the shards
pushed up out of the earth like a mountain. This, of course, then developed
into the pyramid structure that made the final cut.
“In the first round of designs I also played with the idea of mirror and
what happens if it reflects itself. This led me down the path of forced
perspective with the shape of the pyramid being ‘mirrored’ as a flown set
piece above and then 2 side installations that drove the audience’s view
back to the top of the pyramid where, of course, Paloma was revealed on
her lift at the start of the show.”
The team was forced to cut the forced perspective idea during the
development process and replace it with a mirror-like circle at the apex of
the pyramid. As Shipton eloquently put it: “The structure drew on primeval
notions of the sun and the earth but also indirectly references to the
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Above: System Technician, James Coghlan, and FOH Engineer, Andrew Williamson; Video Director, Wannes Vandendriessche; Monitor Engineer,
James Neale; Production Coordinator, Mark Pickard.
while the riser package is made up of our rental stock, and custom fitted
the Sceptrons instead of just LED tape.
“I’d say 90% of the staging is made up from our rental package, with the
custom step units and a standard rental lift upstage. All of the sharktooth
gauze, kabuki and flooring are stock as well. This has meant we can do the
show to a good budget, as well as making sure that the 20% of our kit that
the audience can see, looks really striking.”
He continued: “The Claypaky A. Leda B-EYE K20 is a good, fat wash light
that I love, while also allowing you to create gobo effects and animation
that we needed. The Martin by Harman MAC Axiom Hybrid was another
great addition that could give us a solid spot and a cutting beam in one
fixture. The multifunctional nature of these fixtures was key to the look of
the show for sure. We also installed some Martin by Harman Sceptrons in
the stairs that we could chase Paloma with when she was going up and
down them.”
To control this multipurpose arsenal, which was pre rigged by Christie
Lites to speed up load ins and outs, Foster opted for a High End Systems
Hog 4. “I’ve been mates with the guys that invented the desk for a long time,
and have always been involved in their development,” he said. “We did all
of our R&D in front of rave crowds during the ‘90s and the Hog 4 is a direct
descendent of that time. I spent many an hour programming raves on these
desks and feeding back to manufacturers, so it feels like second nature for
me to operate a show on one.”
As well as making sure that the set was lit appropriately, the LD also
had to remain conscious of the prominent IMAG aspect of the show. “I’m
always aware that it’s being filmed,” he said. “But until rehearsals I had
no idea where she was going to go! In these arena gigs it’s important for
the cameras to display the nuances of the artist’s performance, and that
is particularly the case with Paloma. Fortunately, every costume that she
wears lights up like a Christmas tree and the band are all in white or silver,
so it’s like having a load of extra fixtures on stage!”
Foster concluded: “It’s been a relatively easy show to operate as I had
the whole thing pre-programmed. It needs to be the same every night
because she’s so good at hitting her marks. The only things I take care
of by hand are strobe hits and so on. I could never go the whole way and
use timecode as I’m simply not a fan of it - some of my greatest mistakes
Aforementioned Lighting Director, Vince Foster, joined the tour at the
beginning of 2018, and was another who cited a long relationship with
24/7’s John Pryer as a reason for his call up. He said: “I wasn’t too familiar
with Paloma, other than seeing her on The Voice and some other TV
appearances, but I was really pleasantly surprised by just how good her
music was. She has a catalogue of great pop tunes and she can certainly
belt them out. It was a delight to be able to light her on this run.”
While the lighting design was heavily influenced by Shipton’s initial
vision, Foster was very much involved with the refinement of the look and
the selection of the fixtures themselves. “I pointed out that the original
black mirror finish would only cause reflections at one angle; not to
mention the fact that it could also look like a black blob when there were
no beams on it. Dan and Paloma then came up with the idea we have now,
and I chose the fixtures accordingly.
“First and foremost, Paloma wanted flat floods of one colour, as well
as pixelated looks that brought everything to life; and you can do both
very effectively with the GLP JDC1. I also use its strobe function near the
beginning for a big, open white look, and a ‘ravey’ song towards the end
that’s pretty in your face. They also do a good job of creating the front light
we needed for such an imposing set.”
are some of my best discoveries! There have been a lot of changes since
rehearsals - not to mention the fact that you polish the show every day - but
it’s always that last 10% of a show that’s the hardest bit to get perfect.”
“The guys in the pit go for head-to-toe medium shots and general band
shots, as it’s really hard to capture close-ups of Paloma in portrait from that
angle. We get the main close-ups from the FOH, where the angle is much
The images came from Panasonic projectors, which were doubted up on
each side of the stage, and were cut using a Panasonic AV-HS450 switcher.
Vandendriessche continued: “To make everything work in this format,
we have an AJA box between the feed itself and projectors. Usually in
portrait you cut off the sides of the projector, but then you lose two thirds
of the light. Here we put them on their side and put the AJA converter in
between, which means we just take a part of the images. We took a 9:16
image and flipped to 16:9, which made it 1080x920 signal going to the
projectors, rather than sending a full landscape and cutting it off. You get
the same amount of pixels in the end but you get a lot more light through as
a result.”
On the relationship with his Video Director, Shipton commented:
“Working with Wannes was great because he really took time to understand
the creative vision and develop the shots accordingly. As the IMAG screens
were the only ones in the venue, he also brought to the table some ideas for
how we could relate mirrors, prisms and reflections into his live cut. Paloma
also really wanted to reference her now-iconic Brits performance of Only
Love Can Hurt Like This, and so Wannes added a rain effect overlay to the
IMAG to bring this to life.”
He concluded: “Everyone was brilliant and we were really happy with
the final product. It was so great to do a creative that was ‘real’, rather than
relying on screens to create the look. I think that really suited Paloma and
the story she wanted to tell with the show.
“The crew really stepped up to the plate with building something that
had more art direction to it rather than just truss, decking and screens, and
they really took care of it for the run, making sure it looked perfect every
Video Director Wannes Vandendriessche was another Shawn Mendes
veteran that migrated onto the crew for Faith’s latest tour, this time with
the sole duty of capturing and displaying live content for the show. He said:
“Video-wise, this is very different - we just have the 2 portrait IMAG screens
- but I would say it’s more interesting from a camera point of view. They
sent me images of what the set was going to look like, and immediately I
requested a tracking camera that could run along the downstage edge.
With that amount of set you want to show as much of it on screen as you
can. There is so much to work with.”
Once he’d set his preliminary camera positions, Vandendriessche
came to rehearsals with an abundance of units, figuring that it was better
to have too much than too little. “It was a nice starting position for sure.
I then talked to Dan about colours and filters, where to do monochrome
and so on. We have star filters in the camera for some songs, as well as a
physical, prism-like filter that we put in front of the lens, which is a wicked
effect. It picks out those colour nuances in the screen, gives flare, and really
just plays with how shiny and reflective the set is. We tried it at different
angles but we found that it could be used most effectively on the long range
camera at FOH.”
He continued: “Paloma does what she wants to an extent, which is quite
refreshing. The guys on cameras are there to catch her, and she does have
some choreographed dance moves, but she always keeps it interesting
for us! Our job is to make sure the look of the artist is carried over onto the
screens. Before you go messy you should make sure you can do it clean then you can mess it up again. Call it ‘professionally messy’.”
Vandendriessche ended up with 6 cameras to choose from, in total. The
package from VER included 2 manned cameras that were located in the pit,
a Sony HXC 1500 manned at FOH, 2 robo cams placed in with the band on
stage, and the aforementioned tracking camera, operated by Tour Rigger
David Oldham. Vandendriessche explained: “Dave just has foot pedals to
move the camera left and right along the track and a joystick to steer it. He
gets some great, smooth shots and can get that parallax effect to capture
the set and lights in one.
While the look of the show was essential in allowing Faith to fully convey her
artistic vision, the tour’s audio also had to be at the highest level to project
the singer’s powerful vocals. Adlib Audio deployed a CODA AiRAY system
to fit the bill; and for anybody who has seen one flown high in an arena
as cavernous as the Echo, you will understand that TPi’s first impression
Above: LS-Live’s Bullet; Stage Manager, Duncan Ladkin; Backline Techs, Cam Atkinson and Tori Lucion.
was one of disbelief. “Even after a month there’s a psychological thing
that happens when you look up and see it - you immediately think you’ve
messed up because it’s tiny,” joked FOH Engineer Andrew Williamson.
“There’s a tendency to push it, but you have to get over that.”
Each of the boxes weighs in at a respectable 40kg, which meant that the
audio crew could get the system in the venue and flown with time to spare.
The main left and right hangs on the tour consist, in their largest format, of
4 SC2-Fs flown behind 14 AiRAY with 4 ViRAY downfills, and side hangs of 8
AiRAY and 8 ViRAY. There was also an L-C-R subwoofer configuration made
up of 6 SCPs each, with HOPS8’s serving as front and lip fills and some APSs
doing infills and outfills.
The FOH Engineer continued: “I came to the truck after production
rehearsals (which is quite an event in itself), and I had to take a photograph
- you’ve got an arena system complete with amps, rigging, cabling, all the
speakers and subs on dollies on the back of a 45ft truck; flat packed, with
about 6ft spare at the back. That’s when I started panicking!”
Adlib Audio’s System Tech, James Coghlan, gave his appraisal of the
CODA setup: “I’ve been out with the AiRAY on 3 or 4 tours now, doing
everything from an orchestral concert to a full-on rock band and it’s been
pretty damn good on all of them. It copes with hi-fi, quiet music just as
comfortably as it does loud rock ‘n’ roll, and I’d say Paloma and her band
are smack, bang in the middle.”
He continued: “The system sounds right there in your face whether
you’re right on the barrier line or 100m back. We had 12 speakers per side
in the O2, which is ridiculous. With another box the portrait screens would
have been a bit of a squeeze, but the AiRAY has made it so much less of an
issue. Our largest configuration on main hangs weighs 1,040kg, which is
mad. It’s unbelievable.”
The system was driven by 54 of CODA’s proprietary, 2-channel LINUS10
amps. “I’ve got a Lake LM44 and LM26 backbone doing all the processing
along with the Linus Live software, which controls the amps,” Coghlan
“The PA goes in at 10am, I’m fleshing out the system by midday, and I’m
normally tuned by about 1pm to hand to over to Andy. We use EASE Focus
to design the system; they’ve done some really careful measurement of the
boxes so I know that what the software tells me is going to happen in the
room is what really happens. It’s so accurate, which is great from my point
of view as I don’t have to spend loads of time tweaking stuff.”
Williamson added: “The first thing I noticed about the system was
the low end; it’s probably the tightest I’ve ever heard. Paloma’s MD, who
is a Grammy-winning engineer, said the same thing during production
rehearsals. There’s loads of clichés I could use! I’ve taken nothing out of it
system above 4/5 kHz and that’s unheard of at this level.
“It takes a bit of getting used to, as it will shine a spotlight on a bad EQ or
a shoddy mix. There’s no hiding place for you, regardless of what part of the
frequency range you’re in. Luckily, James gives me a great sounding system,
and Paloma’s voice is very strong too. She’s a very dynamic singer; she goes
from loud all the way to very loud! The only thing is that there’s a lot of mids
there that have to be tamed.”
The engineer selected a DiGiCo SD7 to mix the show. “I like the SDs,
mainly because they’re laid out really well,” he said. “I can design my
workflow perfectly so I can be lazy when I’m mixing! The Waves integration
is great too.”
The SD7 had 75 channels to contend with, with most of the EQing aimed
at Faith’s voice. To assist with this, Williamson took the advice of MD David
Oldham and deployed a TUBE-TECH compressor.
“That’s the only bit of outboard I have really, then there’s just a comedy
amount of Waves to try and mask my lack of mixing ability,” he laughed.
“There’s a lot of dynamic compression going on, which is partly due to
Paloma and David’s main request - to have the live show sounding better
than the albums.”
Williamson continued: “It’s a really tight sound but there’s a lot of crowd
noise, and a lot going on musically as well. I’ve got triggers on the drum
kit keying all of my gates so I can keep them clean and get overheads and
cymbals into the mix without it being an afterthought. I’ve also got noise
suppressors on the BVs to back sure the kit doesn’t come ripping through
and on Paloma for when she goes out into the crowd.”
On stage there was also live bass, bass synth, 2 guitars, keys, percussion,
an abundance of Ableton track running un-reproducible sound effects, 3
backing vocalists and Faith herself.
Monitor Engineer, James Neale, was something of a rarity on the Paloma
Faith crew, having joined the fold in 2014, and was well accustomed to
the artist’s exacting standards. He said: “She’s very specific about what
she wants - in a bit of a peculiar way, actually - but that’s the lead singer’s
prerogative. If you were just dialling it in from scratch you might not
instantly think that’s how it should be; it’s only after working with her for a
while that I realised what she’s after.
“It’s a busy stage and she wants to hear it all, though I am constantly
lifting and dropping things to help her with pitch and timing. I have
snapshots for every song in her repertoire - 66 in total - but I have to mix on
the fly within them, and the big global things can change day to day.”
When it came to selecting microphones for this busy stage, the audio
crew specified DPA for the live drums and a Sennheiser 6000 series with a
DPA capsule for lead vocal, while the backing vocalists used Sennheiser
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2000’s with an e 965 capsule, and the belowstage guitar amps were handled by a mixture
of Shure KSM32’s and 57’s.
Other than the amps, the only other stage
noise came from the live drums, as Faith and
her band all made use of a Sennheiser 2000
IEM system and Jerry Harvey Audio moulds the latter of which was purchased fresh by the
singer for her band each tour.
Neale went on to discuss some of the
challenges he faced: “Although it looks
amazing, the stage is very reflective in terms of
RF. The big circle has the antennae attached,
pointing down; as that’s the only way we could
get it to work. I spoke to Tim Sherratt from
Sennheiser and that’s their best advice, for
something like this, particularly when the lights
in the stairs and down the side are spitting out
RF as well. It’s not perfect but we’ve overcome
the problem to a good standard and it’s
definitely one to remember for the future.”
The engineer opted for a DiGiCo SD5 at
monitors, which has been his desk of choice
since 2010. “I’ve need to get around quickly
for 75 inputs, and the 5 is really well laid out
for that,” he said. “I have control groups and
can adjust them to fight against noisy rooms
or adding more click. Even in the first song I
still have to alter the mix a bit but it’s almost
second nature by now.”
Backline Tech, Tori Lucion, talked through
the intricate setup used by the band and how
it was distributed around the complex stage
structure. He said: “I’m one of 3, and my world
is keys, piano and playback. The Ableton setup
isn’t too involved; we have a couple of MIDI
controllers on stage, which is all fired by the
MD, and I’ve got a little Roland SPD-SX to trigger
tracks when he walks out to the front of stage
with Paloma for one song.
“He’s got an Akai on the end to do Abelton
triggers, while the stage left guitarist, Sam,
has a couple of amplifiers under the stage. At
stage right we have a couple of Kemper amp
modellers and a keys rack.”
While the current setup sees patch changes
triggered manually on stage, the crew aims to
have them written into Ableton as playback in
time for a busy summer of shows.
“At the moment the Kempers send MIDI
commands to a leadless MIDI switcher,” said
Lucion. “This runs 3 guitar lines all of which are
wireless. All the MD has to do is hit the right
patch on the Kemper remote and it chooses
the right guitar line.”
Backline Tech Cam Atkinson elaborated:
“There’s 5 settings throughout the show; an
acoustic channel; a dirty tone for his solo
section, an Eb guitar setting and 2 relatively
crunchy but clean ‘production’ overdrives.
The main difference between this and a
more traditional amp setup is the fact that
no speakers on stage makes the sound more
consistent at FOH and makes for shorter
“There’s a bit of hesitance from musicians
to have everything MIDI, but during the section
where he duets with Paloma downstage, he
might forget to change the patch. The only
option so far is for me to change it manually,
but having it built in will avert the need for
To account for the redundancy, the crew
selected a Kenton MIDI merge box in the back
of the Kemper rack that took MIDI from both
units, ensuring that all of the changes happen
regardless of which system is being used.
Elsewhere, all of the track BVs were on the
playback system, while the SPD-SXs were used
to trigger percussion and drum samples.
Lucion concluded: “We were building up
until end of production rehearsals, so it was
seat-of-the-pants stuff, but it’s been pretty
much flawless. There’s been no problems that
haven’t been solved by redundancy, which is
ultimately the important bit - that’s why you
have redundancy in the first place. Things will
go wrong, but it’s our job to pre-empt them. In
10 years I think this is the smoothest tour I’ve
worked on. Touch wood!”
Photos: Sarah Womack and TPi
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British Comedian Michael McIntyre was back in UK arenas for his fourth sell out tour
since 2009. The record-breaking comic personality brought his Big World Tour to the
stage with a little help from Off The Kerb Productions and some familiar crew faces...
After smashing a world record in 2009 - for his first sell-out comedy tour
undertaking the most dates in UK arenas - Michael McIntyre went on to
become one of Britain’s most popular TV comedians, and his rise to fame
soon went global. Almost a decade on from his initial foray into arena
performances, McIntyre’s crew remains largely the same. After all, with
stats like that, there seems to be little worth changing. At the helm of the
production itself, Production Manager Neil McDonald retains his title. He
told TPi: “My first tour with Michael was in 2009, and over the last decade
I have been extremely fortunate to have been employed as a Comedy
Production Manager(!) on a regular basis. With tours comprising 50-60
arena shows across several months, the rise of comedy on this scale has
been a very welcome phenomenon for the live production industry in
general - long may the laughter last…” he smiled.
“While it’s obvious that nothing within the production itself is there to
distract from the jokes, the promoter - Off The Kerb - insists on maintaining
high production values and presenting a show that will keep audiences
returning year on year. It appears to be working. This is Michael’s fourth
arena tour, and will see him perform in front of half a million people,
including 10 in his London base: 7 shows at London’s O2 Arena and a further
3 at Wembley.”
McIntyre’s popularity is impressive, and so is the elegance of his stage
set: a theatrical design fit for audiences in the tens of thousands. McDonald
continued: “There are several elements whose importance is a given; every
seat must have perfect audio clarity, and the LED screens must be of a size
and quality to allow an intimacy to the experience, as far as is possible in
these venues. The promoter insists on having large LED screens of the best
spec possible.Further to this, the show design is a matter of creative intent.
“I have personally worked on arena comedy tours varying from 2-9
trucks... in the same venues. The brief for this tour was initially wide open
and several ambitious and bold designs were considered. In the end, it
was decided to concentrate on delivering an immaculate but simple look.
Perhaps ‘classic’ is an appropriate description but in essence, it’s a very
simple-looking show which has fit into 5 trucks.”
McDonald’s choice of suppliers are: Capital Sound for audio, CoNi
Lighting, Creative Technology (CT), UK Rigging, The Appointment Group
(TAG), KB Event and Eat To The Beat for catering.
He continued: “The trickiest thing we had to do for this design was to
find a way of concealing the set piece, which is literally his name in lights,
during the support act, comic Andrew Bird. This is hidden behind the
upstage and revealed using a pair of All Access Staging & Productions stage
lifts during Michael’s initial entrance.
“To some extent, the design is a collaborative effort also involving the
promoter and most importantly, the artist. For example Michael decided
on the colour for the backdrop, given several options presented to him,”
continued McDonald, who worked closely with Nick Jevons (LD) and Mike
Parker (Set Designer) & John Gallimore (Production Designer).”
All of the suppliers on the 2018 tour have been mainstays for Off The
Kerb’s arena tours over the last 10 years. McDonald noted: “The promoter
has an admirable sense of loyalty and has rewarded its regular contractors
with consistent and extensive employment.”
This is also true of the PM himself, whose company Clockwork has
been kept busy with McIntyre and a host of other top tier comics as well as
festivals and bands over the last 20 years. “There’s never a dull moment. I’m
a lucky man!” he concluded.
Steve Nicholson, MD of the hire side of Leeds-based lighting supplier CoNi,
has worked with Off The Kerb for many years on its arena & theatre comedy
shows, and was again the Account Manager for the tour. The show was
designed by Nick Jevons and handed over to Donal ‘D’ Reilly for operation
during the live shows. Reilly told TPi: “The lighting team has a long-standing
relationship with Nick, John and Neil. As a PM, he’s put a really lovely team
together on this and again, the results really work.
“This is a very theatrical show, which has been brought into an arena
“We’re primarily working with the Robe’s Spiider fixtures, which were
recommended by Steve at CoNi. They have been perfect for what we need.
Our red velvet, velour drapes are amazing to light too; that material has
a very clever way of picking up light. And our set piece, which is Michael’s
name, looks so beautiful on camera. It is a very simple show, but the key
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details are stunning when you look at them individually.
“The show is classic but that becomes a challenge in itself: to make
it look like it’s easy to replicate. Michael’s brief was to create something
classic and theatrical, and I think we’ve achieved that.”
Lighting Crew Chief, Richard Hutton, talked TPi through the 2018 rig:
“We’ve got 3 main overhead lighting trusses, 60ft long, plus a rear scenic
truss, which has a 60ft centre section for the red drape, plus return curves
on the ends with black legs, to mask our upstage production areas
seamlessly. In keeping with the theatrical feel of the show, all the trusses
are bordered, even though it’s all black truss, because even that small detail
matters to the overall look of this show.”
Like all of the tech departments, the lighting team worked closely with
Harry Box from UK Rigging to ensure that cable management was neat &
couldn’t impact the look of the set for the audince or the cameras.
The fixtures from CoNi included 24 Robe Spiiders (8 per truss), 12 Robe
Pointes (6 on each mid & back truss), 12 4-cell molefays (4 per truss), 40
GLP impression X4 Bar 20’s (20 flown to light the drape & 20 on the floor,
uplighting the drape), 4 Super Trouper 2kw Xenon followspots - a main & a
backup each side.
Hutton continued: “Each of the 4 show treads has 2 runs of RGB LED
tape, driven by TLS DMX-controlled LED drivers. The second run on each
tread is purely for backup, which we haven’t needed so far. We’ve had no
issues, so hopefully the backup will only come on when we test it each day!”
The set lettering has individual bulbs which are individual 25W frosted
tungsten bulbs. Critically, they have all derived from one production batch,
so they all match in colour and brightness. Reilly furthered: “The tiniest
imperfection will stand out if the shades don’t match, you couldn’t use LEDs
for a job like this sign.”
Hutton added: “The set is wired as a single circuit per letter, so we’ve got
24 channels of dimming to deal with that,” he continued. The lighting rig is completed by Avolites ART 2000 power distros and 2
Martin by Harman Ether2DMX8 Artnet nodes - main & backup. “The touring
rig takes up 7 DMX universes, so the 8-way nodes mean we still have a spare
universe available to pick up house light control, in the venues where that’s
an option for us,” Hutton added.
Controlling the light show is a ChamSys MagicQ MQ 100 console. Reilly,
who also programmed the show, commented on his desk of choice: “The
MagicQ is my favourite console for shows like his. I love working with it;
it’s the perfect desk for comedy as I find it to be very intuitive and able to
handle everything we need easily.”
The lighting crew from CoNi is completed by Jason Braim, Lead Spot
Operator & Rachael MacDonald, Lighting Tech & Spot Operator.
Set Carpenter, Ben Holdsworth is the man putting Production Designer
John Gallimore’s vision into physical form each day, with some help from
local crew at each venue. “As you now know, it’s a very simple set, but it
takes a bit of work to make it look as clean and smooth as it does; we skim
the stage so that the marlin flooring is even. Michael likes everything to be
perfectly flat as he walks around so much during his routine. You might not
think it, but little details like the smoothness of a stage floor is important
to a comedy show. We lay 2-tonnes of chip wood prior to that laying the
“The only other stage task we have is when the letters - which sit on a
truss - rise at the start of the show on hydraulic, direct control lifts. The main
job after stage safety is staying on top of everything on stage so that it looks
pristine throughout the day.”
Like CoNi, Capital Sound also returned to the Michael McIntyre fold as a
trusted tour vendor. Toby Donovan, Martin Audio MLA System Designer,
Steve Carr, FOH mixer & PA Tech, supported by PA Tech, Finbar Neenan and
David Preston, Delay Tech, made up the sound crew.
Sat besides his DiGiCo SD11, Carr, who had never worked with a
comedian before McIntyre, told of how he was “really excited” to have
become involved with such a high-profile comedy act. “I first met Michael
and his tour manager to suss out what he needed from me before we
started touring with the full production for some promo shows, which
was really helpful for me!” he laughed. “Essentially, it’s one man and his
microphone, so I didn’t want to over-think and over-complicate the set-up.
“Getting to learn the different sounds Michael does on stage, and
understand what he wants to get out of the microphone, was a fun learning
curve. Every day is a school day in touring, and this was no exception!
Michael does some really interesting sounds with his voice; he’s able to
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The lighting crew from CoNi; Set Carpenter, Ben Holdsworth; FOH Engineer, Steve Carr; System Designer, Toby Donovan; ETTB’s Mandy Ledster.
make words pop in such an animated way. Consistency is ultimately the key
here. Everywhere we go, those sounds have to been heard the same way in
each venue.”
The microphone for the job in hand is a DPA d:fine headset. “I inherited
the mic choice, but I must admit, it really suits his voice perfectly - I wouldn’t
suggest using anything else but this DPA model. The trickiest aspect of
dealing with a comedian, I’ve found, is the changes in the voice due to
moisture, which requires tuning on the fly,” he added.
For the vital mix, the DiGiCo SD11’s tiny footprint may not seem like a
typical arena desk, but for Carr, it’s “the perfect tool for a show like this; it
has everything I need for a one-man show with no compromising on sound
quality that you might expect with a smaller desk.” Carr also runs monitors
from FOH and there’s a second SD11 in the monitor position as backup
should an audio crewmember be needed.
Donovan, who has worked with other top comedians including Alan Carr
& Kevin Bridges, joined the conversation: “One thing that we have changed
on this tour for Michael is the Martin Audio side fill clusters. Previously,
that was accomplished with a flying cluster on each side, but we felt that
as there’s some new speakers on the market that would do a good job,
we didn’t need them. Plus there was a real desire from the production
designers to have a clean & streamlined set, so the less boxes that were in
view, the better.”
With no in-ears in use, McIntyre uses the Martin Audio DD12 mini
speakers for side fill / stage monitors. “That’s enough for him to feel
comfortable with the sound during the show,” stated Donovan.
The main flown loudspeaker system comprises 28 boxes of Martin
Audio MLA, 4 Martin Audio MLD downfill cabinets, 24 Martin MLAC compact
cabinets for side hangs, 6 new Martin Audio SX218 subs, 8 Martin Audio DD6
Speakers for infill and a delay system comprising 3 hangs of 6 Martin Audio
W8LM, powered by Powersoft X8 amplifiers. The system is running Dante
over fibre, it then breaks out into a Focusrite RedNet D16 AES.
All rigging, motors and controllers for the audio dept - supplied by
UK Rigging - included CM Lodestar 2-tonne motors, CM Lodestar 1-tonne
motors, CM Lodestar 0.5-tonne motors, Global LV12 12-way Motor
Controllers, an Outboard Electronics CM6 Motor Controller and 6 8ft Section
James Thomas Engineering 30.5cm black box truss.
Also continuing its long relationship with Off The Kerb, Creative Technology
- CT - once again supplied an arena video package for McIntyre. It included
Infiled ER5 LED screens in tourframes - 8m x 4.5m for the upstage screen
and L-R IMAG measuring in at 5m x 5m. Interestingly, the aspect ratio of the
main screen is 16:9, and so the IMAG appears to be unusually square.
The camera package comprised a Panasonic AVHS 450 vision mixer, 2
Sony HSC300 camera channels with Canon XJ95 lenses at FOH stationed
on new Cartoni tripods and a Playback Pro for content playback. CT also
provided comms for the crew, utilising Riedel Communications’ Riedel Artist
digital matrix.
The video crew is led by Giles Conte, Crew Chief and Senior LED Tech,
Stuart Rowsell, Vision Engineer, Robin Toye, LED / Camera Operator, Matt
Brown, Camera Operator and Ray ‘Moose’ Shaw, Vision Director. Moose
took up the story: “Although the simplicity of filming one man on a stage
for an entire show like this may seem easy, it comes with its challenges.
There’s just 1 head-toe shot for the upstage / centre screen, so the other
cameras have to find the mid shot for the side screens, and it has to match
up exactly.”
There are some instrumental gags that rely on the screens; McIntyre
stands in front of the giant tungsten-lit letters to spell out certain words.
During the show he even declared: “This joke has never worked until we had
these screens!”
Moose continued: “We need a wide shot for those scenes, but you
also need to see the expression on his face too, sometimes that’s half the
joke - watching his performance in detail. In a way, comedy takes more
concentration than a rock ‘n’ roll show as there’s no slip-ups allowed with
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comedic timing.”
Video Crew Chief, Giles Conte, added: “I think this show looks splendid.
I’ve been doing these particular kind of shows with Michael for almost 10
years, and as the technology marches on, the video screens we’ve been
able to bring on tour with us have gotten better in every way; the picture
quality has improved dramatically, the screens are lighter, and they use far
less power. The LED screens we have with us now are brilliant. Our rigging
has also benefitted with this design, and we’ve been able to make the
screen seem as if it’s floating, so the rigging points go through the curtain
and the audience can’t see any of the cables. It’s allowed the video to have a
great impact on the clarity of the show, while also being seamless within the
set itself.”
UK Rigging provided a complete rigging service for the duration of
McIntyre’s Big World Tour, including pre-event planning, tour riggers,
production riggers and the hiring of rigging equipment.
Paul Tilbury, Hire and Operations Manager for UK Rigging told TPi: “This
extremely popular tour provides us with another excellent opportunity to
supply all rigging equipment including some of our latest stock EXE-Rise
alongside colleague Cristina Broz. Needham commented: “This is where
our expertise enabled us to react immediately, to ensure the travel
arrangements for the shows affected were taken care of and rearranged at
minimal cost and with ease.
Having to make unexpected last minute flight changes and hotel
cancellations can be challenging, however having a team of experts onhand meant we were able to respond instantly to relieve the team at Off The
Kerb of any worries and the shows were successfully re-arranged.
“We have a great relationship with Off the Kerb and I thoroughly enjoy
working with them on all of their comedy projects. It’s a long-standing
relationship which we hope to further strengthen and continue for many
years to come.”
Mandy Ledster, is yet another returning face to the McIntyre camp, having
cooked on his last tour. “I suppose if you get asked back, it’s a good
thing!” she smiled, as she talked TPi through the day’s Eat To The Beat
menu. It included options such as cheddar scones with pickled celery and
parmesan, red pepper soup, various ‘unusual’ salads, tofu & veg pad thai,
pork saltimbocca, Bakewell tarts, cheese boards and freshly cut fruit. “I’m
a baker by trade,” said Ledster, who had recently returned from cooking
up a storm at the PyeongChang 2018. “We create the menus based on the
judgment of each road crew; we learn what they like and what sets them up
for the day. Michael himself is really easy to look after; his only requests are
healthy ones such as avocado, chicken and salmon, plus fresh fruit for his
With just 2 ETTB staff on the tour, plus a local runner who is shared with
the production office staff, Ledster stated that comedy productions are
her favoured kind of touring work. “It’s the new rock ‘n’ roll”, she joked. “It’s
a really nice paced tour, and after 20 years on the road, it’s nice to relax a
little!” The 24 people being fed by ETTB team certainly seem satisfied with
the culinary creations on offer. McIntyre’s Big World Tour continues in the
UK, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Photos: Andrew Benge
Favourite Travel Company award winner at the TPi Awards 2018, The
Appointment Group (TAG) was the chosen Travel Management Company
for the tour’s travel arrangements. Its involvement with the McIntyre
camp began last summer when the company was asked to source hotels
in July 2017. “During this time we worked closely with Flo Howard and
Managing Director Joe Norris from Off The Kerb to ensure all aspects of the
touring travel needs were taken care of with ease,” stated Rachel Gosling,
Operations Manager at TAG.
“The Appointment Group was tasked with arranging all aspects of travel
for both the artist and crew parties. The artist party consists of 4 people;
including Michael McIntyre himself, and the crew party totals 24 persons
with 34 varying hotel stays.
“As the tour was starting just 8 months from the time we received the
brief, time was of the essence to ensure the very best hotels, at the very best
rates were sourced as some of the cities on the tour route were already busy
due to other large over the same period. It’s at times like these our strong
relationships with our preferred hotel suppliers comes into play, meaning
we’re able to source great rates even in the toughest of situations during
busy, peak times.”
The tour didn’t come without its challenges, however. The snowfall
across the UK at the beginning of March caused some last minute,
unexpected changes to the schedule (of the theatre section of the tour)
resulting in the cancellation of several shows for the safety of the public.
Penny Needham from TAG handled all aspects of the travel for this tour
Mav•er•ick | ˈmav(ə)rik | n: Someone who refuses to play by the rules. NONCONFORMIST.
As a singer, actor, director and rapper, Ben Drew never fails to surprise, switching style
and medium to suit whatever stories he needs to tell. After a 5-year absence, the artist
recently returned to the road with a 7-date underplay tour designed to showcase
a fresh message and a new, expanded sound. TPi reports...
Plan B is clearly an artist who follows his heart. Having achieved massive
critical and commercial success with his 2010 album The Defamation
of Strickland Banks, the singer fearlessly took a darker, more hip-hop
heavy turn with 2012’s Ill Manors - a soundtrack to his feature film
directorial debut of the same name. Along the way he has attracted the
avid appreciation of new fans while totally wrong-footing others, but
with each new step Plan B (real name Ben Drew) has been sure to make
the music he wants to make. Unsurprisingly then, his latest album again
delivers something a bit different: a mix of musical flavours, from soul
to hip-hop to reggae to dance, all sitting side by side - the culmination of
Drew’s 5 years away from the spotlight.
Aside from a pair of one-off appearances in 2017 - at Radio 1’s Big
Weekend in Hull and at London’s Globe theatre - this 2018 tour was Plan
B’s first proper outing in some time. When TPi met up with the crew in
Manchester it was on the first night of a 7-date underplay run that would
introduce this new set of sounds to an expectant audience; a tour lasting
just 9 days, straddling the new album’s official launch - set to coincide with
an appearance at the O2 Academy Brixton.
On this tour, the music took centre stage. Technically and logistically
things were kept simple: absent were the video and pyro that have formed
a key element of previous tours. Instead the focus was on delivering the
perfect sound, and achieving rich visuals using a pared down lighting
For this underplay run, however, he took on full design duties, absorbing
conceptual elements from those pre-tour dates and using them as the
starting point for a completely fresh show, developing and evolving them to
create visuals that properly reflected the multi-style set list.
Thematically both album and tour are inflected with a ‘neo-verse’
identity - a post-apocalyptic undercurrent that would of course have
been more easily conjured if video content had been available. Instead,
Crowther relied solely on lighting fixtures, a challenge he embraced with
relish. “I initially aimed to keep things relatively simplistic, taking the ‘less
is more’ approach, which enabled me to create subtle yet powerful looks
throughout the show,” he said. “We’re certainly pushing to get the most out
of the kit, using individual fixtures for a multitude of effects, ensuring we’re
able to keep up with the dynamic of the show.”
A full lighting package of flown rig and floor package was supplied
by Liteup, the company’s first time working with Plan B. A pair of parallel
trusses loaded with 14 Claypaky Mythos 2’s and 12 Solaris Flares were
used where venue size allowed. Rigging comprised Litec EXE Rise hoists (6
1,000kg and 3,500kg hoists), a Kinesys Digihoist 16-way Controller Kit, 7 3m
Litec pre-rig truss units and 3 3m Prolyte H30V truss units.
On the floor, 11 more Mythos 2’s sat around the back and side of the
stage, interspersed with Flares and SGM Q-7’s. The stage was flanked by 48
Martin by Harman VDO Sceptron 10 strips, arranged into 12 4m towers. As
Liteup’s Dan Bunn explained, these were specially constructed for the tour.
“Dan was keen that we kept the slim profile of the Sceptron, so rather than
using tank traps and pipe to create the towers, we manufactured some
custom metalwork to encase the Sceptron strips,” he said. As well as having
casing that was no bigger than the profile of the Sceptron itself, Liteup
also fabricated custom bases to ensure that the towers were entirely self
Achieving more with less was Lighting Designer & Director Dan Crowther.
Crowther initially joined the Plan B team for the singer’s 2 comeback shows
in 2017, working as a programmer alongside Lighting Designer Matt Pitman.
supporting, plus a custom Sceptron dolly that allowed the towers to travel
The Solaris Flares were another fixture Crowther was particularly
in 2m sections, significantly speeding up the load in.
insistent on having. “I’d been offered a lot of alternatives, but for me
The Sceptron towers effectively frame the stage. Indeed they are a
the Flares really are a must-have,” he commented. “I see each Flare as
translation of a concept used on the Big Weekend event. On that occasion,
essentially 2 units in 1; I can run a cellular effect and then, over the top
horizontal lintels of Sceptron were used to create a series of portals on
of that, control the strobe element.” True enough, the Flares can be seen
stage. While this new, simplified version did away with those horizontal
multitasking throughout the show, beating out intense strobe effects and
sections, the final effect was similar, with the Sceptron’s well-documented
sparkling along to the tinkle of chimes with equal success.
multi-functionality providing a rich palette of options for Crowther to play
Liteup brought in the Flares especially for the tour, just one example
with. “The Sceptron product is great,” said the LD.
of how the supplier went the extra mile, noted
“Even though we only have vertical strips framing
the LD: “It’s the first time I’ve used Liteup and
the stage, there’s a lot that can be done with them.
they’ve been amazing.” When Crowther needed a
The LED products work harmoniously together
facility to hang the flown rig and set up the entire
to create a stark and artificial feel, contributing
floor package for 3 days of programming, Liteup
towards the theme.”
happily offered up space at their new 15,000 sq ft
As well as lending the stage an architectural
production facility in Segensworth, UK. “They were
solidity, the Sceptrons were able to deliver a series
very accommodating, it’s been great working with
of neat effects: used with the Flares to engulf the
them,” Crowther said.
stage in pulses of red during Heartbeats, or to
It’s a view reciprocated by the Liteup
“I think I sped up the strobing
produce flickering, laser-green shards during the
team. “Working with the guys has been great,”
a little too much and
dance-infused Mercy. Perhaps the most arresting
commented Bunn. “They’ve been really easy to
application was during Lost My Way: as all the
work with, always open to ideas and suggestions,
suddenly this weird fuzzy look
fixtures hit a frenzy of sync strobing, the Sceptrons
and very happy to work with us, especially when it
happened. It’s purely a trick
appear to fuzz and blur, like the distortion of oncame to developing the custom fabrication for the
screen camera-shake made real. “It’s something
of the mind, but as soon as I
I discovered completely by accident,” said
For Bunn, Liteup’s ability to deliver is down to
saw it I thought, ‘Woah. Okay.
Crowther. “I think I sped up the strobing a little
everyone working behind the scenes. “Producing
too much and suddenly this weird fuzzy look
a show like this, from a rental house perspective,
That’s staying!’”
happened. It’s purely a trick of the mind, but as
is very much a team effort,” he said. “As much as
Lighting Designer and Director,
soon as I saw it I thought, ‘Woah. Okay. That’s
I may ‘win the gig’ as the account handler, there’s
Dan Crowther
then a whole team of people that make it happen
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Lighting Designer & Director, Dan Crowther; Tour Manager Chris Markland and Promoter Rep, Simon Gallacher; Production Manager, Dave Shepherd; System Tech, Nick Boulton.
past that point. From our Warehouse Manager, Amanda, making sure the kit
is impeccably prepped, to our operations coordinator James, who makes
sure the trucks are where they need to be when they need to be there,
and looks after incoming LD’s and productions whilst they’re with us, we
couldn’t produce these shows without them.”
This knowledge proved invaluable from a transport point of view. With
the flown rig only used on a few of the shows, it was trucked independently.
Consequently, the Liteup team worked hard to ensure the floor package
was packed as tightly as possible, and so would take up minimal space on
the main production truck.
Audio team. BCS now owns 4 units, with a strong likelihood it’ll also buy
into the forthcoming line-up of different surface types as they become
available. “We’re not a purely Avid house by any means; we’re all about
servicing the client, so we buy the desks that people want,” Boulton
explained. “But I’ve been particularly happy with these because they don’t
go very wrong very often, they sound good, they’re easy to get around and,
if there is a problem, they’re so modular that you can just rip them to pieces
while the show’s going on and replace bits.”
Operating the S6L at FOH was BCS Audio owner, Dave ‘Shep’ Shepherd.
“It’s a really good console - I really like the sound of it,” he commented,
adding that its flexibility, and the fact the workflow echoes that of a VI6,
also add to the console’s appeal. With a bit of help from a ProTools rig and
a TC Electronics Finalizer 96K over the drum bus, Shepherd was able to
wrangle the busy stage, minimising the effects of spill from the drums being
picked up by the BV and lead vocal mics.
For Monitor Engineer Tim McAdam, it was the S6L’s compatibility with
the old Profile that made it such a welcome addition to this tour. “Scenes
are crucial on this show, which is why I used to like the Profile - because it’s
so easy to set the scenes up and have recall safes for certain things and not
for others,” commented McAdam. “So the fact that it’s the same on the S6L,
but in a much bigger frame with a bigger channel and bus count - that’s
been great.”
With EQs for the singer’s vocals and reverbs constantly shifting
throughout the set, the ability to load up old Profile settings from his
showfile on to the S6L was a huge time saver. “That was the biggest, draw,
to be honest,” said McAdam. “I must admit, the thought of moving on to a
In keeping with the simplicity-is-key approach, the tour used an L-Acoustics
PA supplied by BCS Audio: 12 K2 and 6 KS28 per side, with KARA and ARCS
used as fills. The new LA12’s provided amplification, while the whole set-up
is run down a Dante-based drive system. As System Tech Nick Boulton
explained, it’s the adaptability of the L-Acoustics system that has made it
such a popular choice for tours of all sizes. “It’s really scalable, so we can
put the same stuff - but more of it - into arenas and other big shows, but
also bring it down into smaller theatres by cutting boxes out,” he said. “It’s a
great system. We find it’s very rider-friendly: it flies nicely, it’s safe, it’s quick,
it’s easy and it sounds good.”
A pair of Avid Venue S6L consoles were run for both FOH and monitors.
BCS Audio were among the first suppliers in the UK to buy the new Avid
console – an investment that has been fully justified by the S6L’s ever
increasing popularity, said Boulton, who joined the tour as part of the BCS
different type of console was a bit daunting on the scene side - I’ve got
some songs where there are 3 scenes in a single song - it’s very scene
The increased bus count was another big plus. “I used to have to run
half the mixes in mono, whereas now I can run everything in stereo and it
all sounds so much better,” said McAdam. “It’s got all the benefits of the
Profile, but without all the old drawbacks.”
Completing the onstage sound were the artist’s preferred Shure
Beta87 wireless mics, with Sennheiser used for in-ear monitoring.
d&b audiotechnik M4 wedges were also present, albeit in more of a
supporting role.
As the crew ran through final checks for the tour’s opening night,
backstage at the Manchester Apollo, Tour Manager Chris Markland
considered the 8 days to come - and the 5-year gap since Plan B last took
to the road. “It’s a totally different sound, so it’s going to be interesting to
see what people actually think of it,” said Markland. “Apart from a couple
of singles, nobody’s really heard this before, so tonight is really a baptism
of fire for a lot of songs.” Hence the dialled back setting of a shorter,
tighter underplay run, providing the perfect forum for audiences and
performer to reconnect on new terms. “He loves playing these venues
where the audience are close, so I think it’s going to be good,” Markland
But it wasn’t just the tech and tour dates that had been kept tight;
the crew itself was a streamlined machine with everyone chipping in
where required and some even adopting multiple roles. Crew Chief Dean
Bennetts, for example, as the only lighting tech on the tour, also took
expert care of the lighting package. There were no assistants in sight, no
stage manager and, not content with the dual hats of supplier and FOH
engineer, Shepherd also took on production manager duties - reviving
the role he played on Plan B’s last outing. On that occasion his job was
more PM-focussed, filling in at FOH whenever absences required it. This
time round, the smaller scale of the production (particularly the lack of
video package) meant his main focus was the audio. “Dave’s been with us
from when we did the very first 200-capacity clubs,” noted Markland. “It’s
always been BCS. They supplied us with stuff when we had no money at all
and they’ve never let us down, so we’d be mad to change.”
Certainly, compared to the sell-out O2 Arena shows that Shepherd has
overseen for Plan B in the past, this 7-day theatre tour proved relatively
pain-free proposition. In fact, as business continues to soar for BCS
Audio, the owner’s ability to stay hands-on is actually very useful. “I think
it’s import to be able to work on shows so you don’t get left behind,”
noted Shepherd. “You really get a feel for what the clients want from a PA
company. Plus you can see how your gear’s going together, if it’s going
together quickly, how your guys are working... we’re always trying to
improve what we do, and take it to the next level.”
Shepherd was not the only Plan B veteran on the tour; Tim McAdam has
been on board from the very beginning, as indeed has Markland himself.
“Ben likes to keep the same faces around him,” the TM explained. “He likes
continuity, likes to be able to relax.”
A chopped down kit and crew naturally meant fewer wheels on the
road. Whereas the last tour required three trucks, this time round the Fly By
Nite truck count was down to one (not counting the as-required addition
of the flown rig transport). Similarly, the previous tour’s three busses had
been reduced to two 16-berth double deck Setra buses from Phoenix
Bussing. According to Phoenix’s Sean Gerrard (who took over from the now-
retired Paul Hattin), it’s not just the Phoenix drivers that have made this tour
a smooth ride. “Chris Markland is a top bloke and very easy to deal with.
He has a realistic view of the world and the restrictions placed on drivers
regarding legal working hours,” he commented. “I have to say, it’s been a
very easy transition and I look forward to looking after them long into the
Though swift, the tour took the team through a gamut of theatre
venues, from the smallest at Coulston Hall in Bristol, to the largest at the
O2 Academy Brixton - stopping in along the way at Southend Cliffs Pavilion.
“That’s going to be interesting,” grinned Markand. “But the crowd will be
great there, it’ll be mental - just like the Manchester audience is always
good for us as well.”
A mere 5 hours later, the Manchester verdict was in. “I feel like the
night’s gone well,” ventured Drew from the stage, before launching full
blast in to his final song of the night. With a sustained roar of approval,
the crowd’s opinion on the matter couldn’t have been clearer: they most
definitely agreed.
Photos: Shirlaine Forrest
Perfecting the Art of Live Sound
Official Yamaha Pro Audio Instagram Account
Opposite: The well-attended Absen press call; Adam Hall’s Nikke Blout and Anna-Rosa Zejnullahu; Adamson’s Scott Shields and Marc Weber; Best buds: Jamie Dixon from
mondo*dr and ADJ’s Brian Dowdle; The Allen & Heath booth; PRG’s Festhalle lighting show; The Aura Audio Team; The ArKaos team in action; The Astro Spatial Audio
Booth; Analog Way’s booth.
Over 1,800 companies from 56 countries launched their latest products during the 5 days of
Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound. The Mondiale teams from TPi and sister publication, mondo*dr,
were on the PL+S tradeshow floor checking out the newest innovations from all corners of the live
events industry.
At this year’s ProLight+Sound (PL+S) Absen, showcased its NXTGEN
technology featuring the recently unveiled Polaris and Altair range for the
rental market. Also on show was the company’s new COBALT platform
featuring Absen Chip-on-Board (COB) encapsulation technology and
NanoShield technology alongside its HBB (High Brightness Black) with
Common Cathode LED driver technology solutions. The NXTGEN COBALT
technology has been specifically developed to meet the demands of NPP
LED in live event rental applications. Absen has developed the Polaris
Series with COBALT, providing exceptional product stability as LEDs are
surface bonded and solid-state. Low surface point temperatures and
advanced heat dissipation technology delivers 50% lower pixel failure than
traditional SMD LED.
Adam Hall Group presented its comprehensive range of products from
the pro audio, lighting, stands and stage equipment sectors. This included
the LD Systems CURV 500 TS – Compact Touring Array System with AllRound Capabilities. Equipped with 4 array satellites (2 duplex satellites with
Used gear
used gear
Avid’s Vanessa El Mir and Derk Hagedorn; The team from Av Stumpfl; Koy Neminathan at the Avolites press call; Chain Master’s Alexander Hartung;
The Duratruss stando; The team from console manufacturer, Cadac.
twin-speaker configuration and 2 single satellites), the CURV 500 TS has a
narrower vertical dispersion for projecting a suitably punchy and dynamic
sound, even to the rear of the audience. Other products also on show were
the Cameo ZENIT W600 IP65 outdoor LED washlight and the LD Systems
MAUI P900 Design by Porsche Design Studio along with the LD Systems
MAUI 5 GO, portable battery-powered column PA system.
Adamson Systems Engineering reinforced its focus on its global
education strategy with the formal introduction of its Advanced
Certification training programme at PL+S. The new training initiative builds
on Adamson’s Applied Certification programme, which over the past 8
months has been deployed in over 30 countries and attended by more
than 1,000 technicians. The Advanced Certification course delves deeper
into aspects of design and control as well as discussing electro-acoustic
concepts and applications.
ADJ once again made a serious impact at this year’s PL+ S with 6 new
products. These included the Vizi CMY 16RX, the Entour Faze, PAR Z120. Also
seeing its worldwide debut of a new range of weatherproof ADJ LED Par
fixtures; the 7P HEX IP, 12P HEX IP and 18P HEX IP. All feature a distinctive
metallic casing design with an IP65 rating, making them suitable for use
both indoors and outdoors regardless of the weather conditions. Also on
display were ADJ’s brand new Design Series video panels which comprise
of 4 modular panels of different shapes that can be combined together to
create video screens of almost any conceivable shape.
Allen & Heath and Shure announced a new collaboration to enable
native monitoring and control of Shure’s ULX-D and QLX-D wireless
systems from Allen & Heath’s flagship dLive digital mixing systems. With the
upcoming release of dLive V1.7 firmware, engineers can monitor supported
Shure wireless systems without leaving the mix position. All essential
wireless information, including mutes, signal level and battery bars, is
visible from bank screens, allowing simultaneous monitoring of multiple
Alcons Audio once again ventured to PL+S, deploying a LR28 larger format
line array system for PRG’s demonstrations in Messe Frankfurt’s Festhalle.
The system comprised 20 Alcons LR28/80, 4 LR28/110 wide dispersion
modules and 18 BC543 very high output cardioid subwoofers. The company
also demonstrated the LR28 in Hall 3.1 as well as launching the VR5 ultracompact versatile monitor also attracted a very positive response.
Analog Way showcased it’s range of premium media servers and highend video processing solutions at PL+S. Throughout the show the company
organised demos showing how Analog Way portfolio of video processors
and media servers helps create mission critical high-performance
presentations and large-scale digital signage projects. The stand highlights
included several models from the Picturall Serises, the high performance
heavy-duty media servers and LiveCore series, its 4K multi-output
seamless switchers and video wall processor.
ArKaos revealed its innovative new An-Ki scheduling system. An-Ki
is a new tool for scheduling and monitoring the ArKaos MediaMaster
platform, enabling mapped video or LED installations to be maintained
from anywhere in the world via the potential of the ArKaos cloud. Working
over the internet, An-Ki enables digital content appearing as projections,
or creative media on any LED mappable surfaces or devices to be updated,
synched and tweaked in just a couple of clicks.
Astro Spatial Audio (ASA) brought its brand agnostic approach to true
object-based immersive audio at this years show. Throughout the show the
company highlighted the deep integration between ASA’s SARA II Premium
Rendering Engine and third-party systems including TTA’s Stagetracker
II next-generation performer tracking, Alcons Audio loudspeakers, and
QLab playback automation software. In addition, ASA debuted the new
v4.0 software, incorporating substantial improvements in loudspeaker
management, matrixing and show control.
Audinate introduced Dante AVIO, a family of cost-effective endpoint
adapters that enable audio professionals to easily connect legacy analogue
and digital audio equipment to Dante networks. The Dante AVIO series
features 6 new adapters including line-in and line-out analogue adapters,
a bi-directional AES3/EBU adapter and a bi-directional stereo USB adapter.
Each Dante AVIO adapter acts as a completely independent Dante network
device, allowing legacy gear to enjoy the benefits of networked audio.
Audio-Technica added the ATH-M60x On-Ear Professional monitor
headphones to critically acclaimed M-Series Line at this year’s PL+S.
Designed for studio, broadcast and mobile applications, the ATH-M60x is
a low-profile, on-ear professional headphone model that utilises the
same proprietary 45mm large-aperture drivers found in the ATH-M50x
delivering exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range
with accurate bass response.
Aura Audio was delighted to introduce A28C, a continuum to the
revolutionary A28 Subwoofer at PL+S 2018. Featuring 2 18-inch drivers
and patented Passive End Fire Technology in half the enclosure size this
subwoofer sets a benchmark for compact cardioid subwoofers in the
high power category.
Avid was at this years PL+S to show off its latest live sound and
studio solutions, including the VENUE S6L, the company’s modular
and scalable live sound system that offers unprecedented processing
capabilities—with over 300 processing channels. Also on show was Pro
Tools S6 systems, as well as the Pro Tools MTRX interface.
AV Stumpfl will present its new projection screen system leg, the
T-32 Shift, alongside a broad line-up of innovative projection. The T-32
projection screen makes it possible for just one person to easily adjust
a mobile projection screen’s height, without having to disassemble it
first, taking less than 5 minutes to assemble and adjust an AV Stumpfl
mobile projection screen system. The company also showcased
several of its high-performance media servers such as the new Wings
Vioso RX 2.2 as well as the Wings Engine STAGE media server and the
Wings Engine RAW 8K.
This year Avolites were pleased to announce its new compact
media server, the Q3 along with its light and video integration feature
set, Synergy. “The response from the international team was excellent,”
said Sales Director, Koy Neminathan. Key features of the Synergy
platform include the ability for users to connect and configure its Ai
media server from the Titan interface. The Lightmap feature allows
users to stream Ai video colour data through any fixture group to
instantly integrate them into a larger video canvas. “The Avolites
Academy was also an area of key importance as we are now rolling out
Chauvet Professional’s Michael Brooksbank and Albert Chauvet.
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TPI.indd 1
02/02/2018 18:22
Claypaky showing the Axcor Profile 900; The Clear-Com Stand ; The CLF Lighting crew; Cosmic Truss’ famous ‘Skully’; d&b audiotechnik’s soundscape demo; Data
Strategy’s Iain Roche.
certified Avolites training via our global distribution network,” concluded
Ayrton premiered the Mistral TC and MiniBurst at PL+S. The 300W white
LED Mistral TC spot fixture is the latest, much-anticipated new development
in Ayrton’s Automated Luminaires range, with the MiniBurst graphic strobe
is the next luminaire to undergo the miniaturisation treatment of Ayrton’s
highly successful Creative Solutions range.
This year BroadWeigh debuted several new pieces of kit including
TwistLink, updated Wind Speed Sensor and a new advanced handheld.
The TwistLink, which will be available to customers in Quarter 2, is a smart
piece of kit that allows a 4.75 tonne BroadWeigh shackle to be connected
to a 3.25 tonne or 4.75 tonne shackle without having to mess around with
the pin, nut and clip. Meanwhile the new Advanced Handheld (BW-HA) will
bring additional functionality to the BroadWeigh system by expanding its
standalone monitoring capabilities.
Cadac celebrated its 50th anniversary with the launch of the latest
model in its CDC digital console series. CDC offers a compact mix solution
of unparalleled quality and power for small-to-medium sized production
companies, freelance mix engineers and fixed installations. Also being
shown was the CDC seven-s, the company’s new flagship CDC console. Also
shown during the week was Cadac’s new medium format I/O stage box and
the NetCOMMS programmable PC control software for the CDC MC Router.
CAST BlackTrax announced Version 2.3 of its unique BlackTrax real-time
tracking system that can help bring new levels of creativity to designers of
impactful, complex and memorable events. “The new features bring even
greater accuracy, flexibility, and reliability to a system that has been at the
heart of over 8,000 shows around the world, and they allow designers to
achieve even more spectacular outcomes,” said Marty Cochrane, BlackTrax
Product Manager.
Celestion has added 2 new additions to its CF range of cast-aluminium,
ferrite-magnet drivers for tour sound and fixed install applications. The
500Wrms, 12-inch CF1230F has a nominal sensitivity of 98dB (1W, 1m). With
a 3-inch, copper-clad aluminium voice coil it is particularly suited to bass
applications in 2 and 3–way systems.
During this year’s show ChamSys announced the new QuickQ console.
The new consoles is designed to put more powerful lighting control in the
hands of students, theatre/house of worship volunteers, and programmers,
regardless of experience level or budget. Available in 3 models, QuickQ
consoles feature an intuitive smart-phone-like interface, and a conveniently
large 9.7inch touchscreen. Helpful prompts and videos accelerate the
learning process, making it easy even for inexperienced users to set up,
programme and operate the console. Among the console’s user-friendly
features are easy-to-understand buttons and faders, simple colour
selection menu, readily accessible intensity control tools, and fingertip
controlled zooming and scrolling.
This year Chauvet Professional, gave visitors to its booth a first hand
look at the new Maverick Storm 1 Wash, an IP65-rated LED moving fixture,
the STRIKE P38, an IP65-rated compact warm white LED blinder/strobe
and the COLORado Solo Batten, an IP65 RGBAW LED fixture that produces
a seamless and unique edge-to-edge homogenised appearance without
visible round ‘eyes’ or pixels. “The new fixtures allow us to offer more
versatility in 3 very important series of products that designers have come
to depend on,” said Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet.
Chain Master showcased the Jumbo lift, which is capable of lifting
12,000lbs. Also showcased were load monitoring, variable speed hoists,
controllers and wireless control devices for operating hoists.
The new Chroma-Q Studio Force II, a high intensity tuneable white wash
light, made its European tradeshow debut at PL+S. The Chroma-Q stand
also displayed award-winning products such as the Color Force II RGBA LED
cyclorama, wash and effects light; the Inspire RGBW colour-mixing house
lighting range; and the Space Force tuneable white LED soft light.
The Claypaky booth concept was based on 3 theme showrooms.
Demos were performed in each one by alternating lighting techniques
with highly evocative visual effects. On show was the Zac-Eye, AXCOR 300
and the HEPIKOS. “We saw enormous interest,” said CEO Pio Nahum and
Marketing Manager Davide Barbetta. “The theme itinerary through the 3
showrooms worked in a continuous cycle, yet there were visitors waiting to
enter at every time of day, and its numbers even increased on the last days.
We think word got round of a highly detailed demo, put together by our
technical team consisting of Claypaky’s lighting designers, Marco Zucchinali
and Giulia Sabeva, and visual design experts.”
One of Clear-Com’s more current innovations being shown at PL+S
is the LQ Series of IP Interfaces. By connecting the LQ interfaces
to the HelixNet digital network partyline intercom system, these
simple yet powerful connectivity devices can increase HelixNet’s
existing 24 channels of input and output ports count by 6-fold,
creating a much higher density system for linking audio and intercom
systems. Additionally, any user on the HelixNet system is now able to
communicate with users on Clear-Com’s Agent-IC mobile apps running
on smart iOS or Android devices over Wi-Fi, as well as users on VoIP
phones via SIP connection.
CLF Lighting introduced 4 new products this year including the P1
DL, P2 Vw, LEDbar PRO and the Hera. P1 DL was especially designed
for car shows and is equipped with 36 high performance LEDs. The P2
Vw, an LED par, features high output and a very precise white control
between 2700K and 6500K. A CRI level of 90 and accurate dimming
control make the Spectrum P2 VW very suitable for any high demanding
application. Meanwhile the CLF LEDbar PRO is a multifunctional linear
outdoor LED batten with the Hera, the LED PAR features high output and
outstanding smooth RGBWAUV colour mixing.
CODA Audio was delighted to announce the launch of 3 new
multi-purpose subwoofers. These are U12 and U12i (a slimline wallmounted version) and the U15 universal subwoofer. The new models
have been developed to further enhance CODA’s range of subwoofers
and offer compact, efficient and cost-effective solutions for almost
any application. Each model is designed with new, long excursion,
ultra-low distortion 4 W woofers, incorporating state-of-the-art carbon
fibre cones. This achieves maximum power and cost efficiency, used in
combination with systems using LINUS5C DSP amplifiers.
d&b audiotechnik revealed the next major step in audio technology
evolution. The show was the official launchpad for the GSL System from
the SL-Series, a new loudspeaker system sitting right at the top of the
company’s product portfolio. Demos and interactive mixing session
using the recently released d&b Soundscape also drew a great deal of
The Dataton stand; disguise’s Nikita Bazalo and Katy Huke;
Team DiGiCo launched the Quantum 7.
The DTS team; Elation Professional’s Eric Loader and Larry Beck; Equipson’s Juan Jose Vila; EXE showcased its latest products; The Follow-Me team; Funktion-One’s Tony
and Ann Andrews with Audio Feed’s Oz Jefferies, winner of a 2018 mondo*dr award; Green Hippo’s Matt Swoboda, Anastasia Nikolaou and James Roth.
attention throughout the show. Exceptional audio performance combines
with maximum efficiency into a package elegantly aligned with the system
design, deployment and control capabilities of the tried and tested d&b
Workflow. The GSL System is a complete solution created specifically for
the largest sound reinforcement applications in significantly sized arenas,
stadiums and festivals, to accurately deliver any performance style or
musical genre.
Data Strategy’s Iain Roche and White Light’s Technical Director Dave
Isherwood shook hands at PL+S on a deal for the first of a planned total
of 4 to 6 QC-Check workstations, incorporating PAT4 and CAB5 PAT and
Cable Test Processors from joint partners, Out Board. QC-Check’s test
database and logging software will be fully integrated into WL’s InspHire
asset management system, which will provide real-time tracked test results
for the company’s entire hire inventory. WL’s Health & Safety and Workforce
Development Director, Chris Nicholls, explained: “The integration side of
QC-Check won us over. We know other companies using QC-Check who
are very happy with the product: it’s built well, made to last and delivers
the goods. The fact that it integrates with our existing asset management
system is what we really wanted.
Along with showcasing it’s WATCHOUT multi-display system on the big
screen, Dataton put the NDI (video-over-IP) feature in WATCHOUT through
its paces demonstrating its smooth projection-mapping workflow. During
the show visitors could preview the real-time motion tracking integration
in WATCHOUT. The demo featured a 6-camera CAST BlackTrax system, a
complex object in motion and mapped content.
At this year’s show DiGiCo unveiled its eagerly anticipated Quantum 7
processing. The company also revealed other exciting new developments
to give visitors another chance to experience the new 4REA4 digital
audio networking system. Quantum 7 has been developed with seventh
generation FPGA devices that further expand audio processing power, and
ultimately allows DiGiCo to provide its users with an unrivalled amount of
flexibility. It expands an SD7 to over 600 channels of processing in 96kHz
operation that can be connected in the outside world to approaching 3000
potential I/Os. “The DiGiCo team are constantly working to create new
products where there is a need in the market and add value to our existing
products, keeping our customers’ investment safe,” said DiGiCo Managing
Director James Gordon.
Digital Projection demonstrated the world’s first 8K laser projector, the
INSIGHT Laser 8K. Set to be the world’s first commercially available DLP
laser 8K projector, the INSIGHT Dual Laser 8K sits in a class of its own when
it comes to performance and provides an ultra-high 8K resolution (7680 X
4320) of 33-million pixels through 25,000 ANSI lumens of solid-state laserphosphor illumination.
This year disguise showcased the upcoming r15 software release, award
winning gx range, the new HDMI 2.0 VFC card and latest server, the solo. The
solo server features options for HDMI and SDI capture, Pro Audio and 10GB
ethernet ports, 2x 4K outputs, fixed storage, 2TB SSD and full redundant
backup capabilities. disguise Sales Director EMEA, Sarah Cox, explained;
“The solo can be used effectively as a powerful standalone server, or in
conjunction with an understudy for smaller shows. The solo enables our
customers to join our community at entry level, without having to sacrifice
on power and performance.”
Doughty’s Lightweight Lighting made its debut at this year PL+S. The
product takes the principles of a Tank Trap but packages them into a
neater, more aesthetically pleasing model. The Three Position Tank Trap
also featured on this year’s stand. This piece of kit enables rigging to be
built close to a wall, in the corner of a room or near to an obstruction. It has
a detachable receiver suitable for 48mm barrel, which may be fitted to any
of the 3 mounting points, which are located in the centre as per a standard
tank trap, at the edge and in the corner. In addition the Tank Trap Trolley
has received its Frankfurt debut.
DTS introduced the SYNERGY 5 PROFILE; its new high-power, LED
moving head.The fixture offers a range of features, including the Dynamove
FX Engine / Virtual Animation Wheel, DMX-selectable CRI: >90 OR >75, a
rotating 4-blade framing system, advanced colour mixing, and total control
and networking.
Elation Professional’s stand - devised by lighting and stage designer
Christian ‘Rocket Chris’ Glatthor - included the first European showing of
its recently acquired M-Series range of entertainment lighting controllers,
as well as the Artiste Picasso, Smarty Hybrid, Dartz 360, Proteus Beam and
3-in-1 Proteus Hybrid.
PL+Sound 2018 was a huge success for ENTTEC. Rob Browne, ENTTEC’s
cue buttons..........5
conformity ......SIL 3
Look at BTT Dresden 2018:
13. - 14.06...... Booth 73
GLP won a mondo*dr award; J&C Joel’s Cassie Irving; K-Array’s Stefano Zaccaria and Andrea Torelli; KV2 Audio’s Ron Pilon and Jan Jares; Le Maitre’s Rick Wilson and Elaine
Frost; JTE exhibited on the Area Four Industries stand.
Business Development Manager explained: “We presented guests
our full ‘end-to-end’ LED pixel solutions. Starting at one end with our
award-winning ELM software, it moved from left to right to the smart
Hyperion Gigabyte switch. Next our range of pixel controllers and pixel
satellites including the new Pixelator Mini DIN, the Pixel Port (with built-in
effects generator) and the new IP66 Plink Injector for outdoor use, and it
culminated with our CV and Pixel strips.”
Equipson’s WORK PRO AUDIO announced 2 product additions to its
innovative LightShark range of lighting consoles: the LS-Wing console
expander unit, which is designed to complement and extend the original
LS-1 console, and the 4-strong range of LS-Nodes, affordable hardware
expanders for the LightShark system that add extra DMX and Ethernet
connectivity without the user interface and physical controls of the LS-1
and LS-Wing units.
Eurotruss experienced one of its busiest tradeshows in recent years
at PL+S, launching the upgraded Eurotruss Decks, which remain 100%
compatible with the existing series. Besides the Stage Decks, Eurotruss
presented an upgraded Lifters series and a brand new Eurotruss
Merchandise line.
Among the main attractions at the ETC stand were several brand new
products – the Element 2 lighting control console from the award-winning
Eos family, ColorSource Pearl variable white-light LED fixtures, and the
Irideon WLZ architectural wash light – all making their European debut.
The Element 2 control desk is designed for venues with modest rigs and
maximum hands-on fader control needs. ColorSource Pearl, a variable
white-light, LED array produces an impressive range of colour temperatures
at an affordable price point. Finally the Irideon WLZ, or Wash Light Zoom
architectural fixture, features exceptional light output and a sleek,
unassuming industrial design that blends in with any space.
PL+S saw the worldwide debut of EXE Technology’s new dynamic stack
tracks rail and trolley system - the EXE-DST66 - which builds on the success
of its popular DST52 system. The company said: “The response to this
system at the EXE Technology stand during the exhibition was absolute
proof that [we] hit the bullseye!”
Fohhn Audio AG demonstrated the latest developments in its new
comprehensive concert sound system at the show, the Focus Venue, which
can be supplemented in the low frequency range by the new Perform-
Series subwoofers: the PS-800 and PS-850. As well as seeing and hearing
the new system components on Fohhn’s stand, show visitors could also
experience a live demonstration of the system in the open air demo area.
Follow-Me used the show to announce a distribution agreement
between the company and A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET), which
demonstrated the remote follow spot control system on its stand. The
range includes both Follow-Me, which is designed for touring and larger
venues, as well as a more compact system - Follow-Me Lite - for smaller
venues or corporate events.
Funktion-One showcased a flown Vero array, F132 and BR132A 32-inch
bass enclosures, a ground-stacked arrangement of the new F124 bass
enclosures with Evo 6E speakers, a PSM318 DJ monitor, and an SB210A/
F81 self-powered compact system. The company also reoccupied its home
in the Live Sound Arena / Open Air Agora, where demos featuring an Evo
configuration with a central position of 6 F124 bass enclosures took place.
Gerriets chose PL+S to display its INVISCREEN - a new, highly
transparent and self-adhering projection screen in its Visual Effect series, as
well as its CARGO heavy duty track system.
Global Truss released its new 5 Chord truss designed for LED screen
applications at this years PL+S. Utilising the existing F44P 400 x 400mm
truss design, the F45 features an additional chord along the central bottom
face of the truss with ladder bracing allowing for LED screens to be easily
mounted. This extra chord prevents having to balance the load by slings or
braces across the two bottom chords that would be necessary on standard
4 chord truss.
GLP gave the impression FR1 its European premiere at the show, as well
as heralding a break from its traditional moving lights with the inclusion
of its new Force 120 fan effect fixture. Designed to create stunning scenic
effects or great air mover (or a combination of both), the Force 120 received
its first outing on the recent Old Dominion tour, where 15 units created an
impressive backdrop for the country rock band.
The Green Hippo stand was equipped with the latest Hippotizer+
Media Servers, enabling guests to experience the world leading solutions
for real-time media playback and 3D mapping. Another key feature was
the opportunity for visitors to gain hands-on experience of Hippotizer’s
seamless integration with Notch.
High End Systems offered hands-on demos of the Hog 4 family of
DAS Audio Group, S.L.
C/ Islas Baleares, 24
46988 Fuente del Jarro
Valencia - Spain
Tel. +34 961 340 860
DAS Audio of America, Inc.
6900 NW 52nd Street
Miami, FL 33166 - U.S.A.
Toll Free: 1 888 DAS 4 USA
DAS Audio Asia PTE. LTD.
3 Temasek Avenue, Centennial Tower #34-36
Singapore 039190
Tel. +65 6549 7760
Photo courtesy Viña Rock
American Airlines Arena, Miami, USA
DAS do Brasil LTDA.
Rua Dos Andradas, 382 SL
Santa Efigênia, São Paulo, BRASIL
CEP: 01208-000
Tel. +55 11 3333-0764
AED’s Glenn Roggeman and Luxibel’s Nils De Laeter; MA Lighting Bjoern Gaentzsch, The Madrix team; MDG’s Martin Michaud and Nicolas Duhamel; Minuit Une’s Eric Labbé;
MILOS latest innovation; Movecat on the show floor once again; the Neutrik squad.
lighting control consoles, including Hog 4, Full Boar 4 and Road Hog 4,
as well as a chance to see the new Hog 4 v.3.8.0 software, featuring a
new desktop colour scheme called ‘stealth,’ Sola Series products, and
added external monitor / touchscreen capability for HedgeHog 4 console
models. The second day of the show also saw the latest instalment of Hog
Factor, recognised as the world’s premier academic lighting programming
HK Audio undertook the largest product launch in its 35+ year history at
the show, which included the COSMO integrative line array system family,
and the company’s new point source flagship - CONTOUR X.
J&C Joel launched several exciting new products on its stand, including
4 new velvets, the widest IFR Canvas on the market, a new addition to the
wool serge range, a new 3D digital print fabric and an exciting new acoustic
system. Andrew Walsh, J&C Joel’s sourcing and product development
Manager, said: “Empress is one of the nicest velvets I’ve seen in my 38 years
in the industry and I am delighted that Joel’s are able to bring it exclusively
to the worldwide market.”
James Thomas Engineering presented its recently launched Conical
series truss for the EMEA region at PL+S. Also on display was the new Sleeve
Block with a unique safety system, as well as their General Purpose truss
and Super Truss.
As well as its sleek line of gold-plated and standard black products,
K-array’s stand featured the newly-launched, all-white Event line, and its
slim line array microphone, Capture, featuring Pure Array Technology.
UK based automation specialist and manufacturer Kinesys had an actionpacked stand that included the latest Apex chain hoist system and an eyecatching motion controlled ‘art-tech’ centrepiece. Other popular Kinesys
products like Elevation 1+, LibraCELL, DigiHoist and the Dimension Pendant
controller were also highlighted.
KLANG:technologies, together with Audio-Technica, Eich Amplification,
Fischer Amps, Hearsafe, Hughes&Kettner, InEar, Kemper Amps & Vision Ears
once again created the Silent Stage at this year’s Musikmesse. The demo
gave an insight into how to achieve the perfect Silent Stage.
KS AUDIO presented the new D MOD2 - a 4-channel loudspeaker
controller slot with digital signal processing for the amplifiers of the KS
series CA4D and TA4D; the T Line B and T SUB B systems; and an extension
for the TA 2D amplifier. The company also organised a free bus transfer
(round trip) from the exhibition centre directly to the production and
development site in Hettenleidelheim.
KV2 Audio boasted a sizable stand in Hall 3.1, where the company
displayed an assortment of its flagship products. As always, the company
also presented one of its PA systems at the Live Sound Arena.
L-Acoustics demonstrated its revolutionary L ISA Immersive Sound Art
technology, which recently embarked on the Lorde Melodrama tour across
North America, as well as its new hardware and software tools - including
the P1 networked digital audio processor, which begins shipping in June that will make it easy for L Acoustics partners to quickly realise optimised
performance for its L-Acoustics systems.
Lavoce Italiana presented a selection of its new low frequency
drivers (including the MAN062.00, the WAF123.02, and the SAF214.50),
as well as 2 new, small format compression drivers - the DN07.10LM
and the DF10.101LM. The company also announced the appointment of
Steinigke Showtechnic as its exclusive distributor for Germany, Austria and
Switzerland, and Dinakord Elektronik as its exclusive distributor for Turkey.
LEDBLADE enjoyed a successful show - having to resupply business
cards by day 2 and receiving a lot of interest regarding the new CRE:ON
Hybrid Drive, which includes Kling-Net protocol next to SPI and ArtNet.
The company’s mini-demo set at the show had just been returned in prime
condition after a 6-month, 24/7 trial period successfully completed in
desert conditions in and around Doha, Qatar.
Le Maitre showed one of its latest flame machines, the Wireless
Salamander Quad Pro. The company also has a lot of interest for its MVS
Smart hazer, the G300 SMART smoke machine and the Freezefog Pro low
smoke system.
LITEC showcased its new MyT Virtue truss line, part of the MyT family
of truss. Offering a compact and strong line of truss designed to provide
support for events that require increased load capacity, decreased
deflection and longer spans. Also on display were the MaxiTower 52HD,
MaxiTower 63 and large selection of its crowd barriers. Also on show was
the company’s Hoist Box Truss.
Luxibel revealed 2 new lighting fixtures, the B P9 and B P9Z. These
new RGBW LED wash fixtures were designed to bring a tidal wave of colour
and output to any stage or building wall. They are completely IP65 rated,
allowing them to be used both indoors and outdoors. The fixtures come
with a rigging bracket, an super-easy design allowing the BP9’s to be
placed in an array. The B P9Z zooms 7° to 58°, while the B P9’s zoom is fixed
at 25°. Each line of 9x 15W LEDs can be controlled individually to create
special effects.
At this year’s show, MA Lighting gave its first live presentation of the
new grandMA3 series. Founded on the legacy of the previous grandMA
consoles, the grandMA3 represents a radical re-think of what’s possible
from a lighting control platform. The elegant new system-architecture
incorporates new fixture, feature and effects-handling at its very heart. The
system features ground-breaking concepts from top industry visionaries,
presented within a refined user interface, and is designed to make practical
tasks more intuitive. The physical design detail of the grandMA3 range is
extraordinary and focused on delivering the best possible user experience,
now and into the future.
MADRIX used the show to introduce ORION; the next MADRIX hardware
interface made in Germany. Another highlight was the next big update
of the company’s software. MADRIX 5 will not only provide massive
performance increases, but many new features and a new license system
as well. It has been made available from May 2018.
MDG exhibited with its exclusive - and longest serving - German
distributor, cast C. Adolph & RST Distribution. The company also brought
an exciting development to its Me Series of fog generators with the launch
of Me1g, a glycol-based version of its highly successful Me1 fog generator.
Sharing its size and form factor with its oil-based sibling, Me1g has a single
nozzle and 0-100% DMX/RDM control for perfect, powerful output, but with
the benefit of using any of MDG’s glycol-based fluids.
Minuit Une welcomed over 4,000 visitors for its demo shows during
PL+S, with its booth staying crowded from the first to the last hour. The
company commented: “From all over the world, AV professionals have
experienced how IVL Lighting is a game-changer! A large thank you to those
of you who have visited us - we hope you enjoyed the demo show and got
all the answers to your questions.”
MILOS displayed its new steel truss line, which takes the concept of
heavy-duty truss to an entirely new dimension. Also on display was the
high capacity and medium duty aluminium truss, as well as additional new
products such as its flexible hinge, modular hinge, hanging plate and top
Mobiltechlifts showed it’s new MS2-4012 compact lift, which achieves
higher safety factors inspired by the recently established German standard
for windup lifts (DIN 56950-3). It does not need safety pins, is very light, is
discrete due to its matte black finish, is very user-friendly, and is extremely
easy to operate under load.
Movecat brought a wealth of new products to this year’s PL+S, including
the Movecat PROstage+ D8 Plus chain hoist, the EXPERT-T III I-Motion
system controller, the DMX SMART WINCH, and the BSZ-DC Operating Hours
Neutrik showed off its True Outdoor Protection range. The new series
includes the well-known powerCON TRUE1, etherCON and XLR products,
which have been certified in accordance with IEC 61076-2-103, IEC 60320,
UL 1977 and UL 498 and which also meet the requirements for outdoor use
as laid out in UL50E.
NEXO shared its booth-space with parent company, Yamaha, for the
first time at Frankfurt, appropriate, as one of the featured NEXO products
was a joint development – the new NXAMP4x2 MK2 and NXAMP4x1 MK2
amplifier models.
NEXT-proaudio launched its new LAs418Active at PL+S, NEXT-proaudio
added to its Subwoofer range, the LAs418A, a new 2x18” active reflex
Outline showcased its new Superfly compact line-source enclosure,
which the company hope will set new standards in performance for a
watch video
Nexo’s Gareth Collyer and Florian Eustache; Outline’s Michele Noselli; The Philips Entertainment Lighting held a stand party after introducing new members of its team;
Portman’s Dominik Zimakowski and Jakub Domzal; Powersoft’s Sandro Soleri and and Massimo Minardi; Robe’s Pavel Němec; The ROE team.
Powersoft announced its new product, M-force 301P01, the unique and
innovative transducer which has been updated with a series of additional
features to simplify the workload of OEM partners. M-force is now available
as the M-force 01 long throw linear motor for infra sub applications and the
M-force 02 short throw linear motor for high acceleration applications.
PR Lighting displayed all its models in its new AQUA portfolio, many
of them in the specially constructed water display boxes, where they
continued to function perfectly. This included AQUA LED 600 Spot; AQUA
480 BWS (Beam, Wash, Spot); AQUA 480 Beam; AQUA 350 BWS; AQUA 350
Showing its capacity in the design and build of complex truss
structures, Prolyte Group showcased its range of heavy duty truss systems
and also a range of trusses specially designed for LED walls – as well as a
number of new products across its range.
The team at Riedel were proud to showcase its latest product, building
upon the technology that powers Riedel’s SmartPanel App-driven user
interfaces; the new 1200 series RSP-1232HL multifunctional interface
represented a quantum leap forward in workflow flexibility, power, and
Robe’s incredible new MegaPointe ‘all-in-one’ fixture took centre stage,
bringing the whole concept of multipurpose moving lights to new levels.
Other highlights from Robe included the Tarantula, a hugely powerful
LED beam, wash and effects luminaire; the latest developments in the
RoboSpot range of remote follow spotting solutions; two new IP65 rated
ParFect products.
Robert Juliat made its latest Compact range followspots available at
PL+S with its new, exclusive 600W LED models, Alice and Oz, first in line to
ship. Most excitingly, Robert Juliat revealed a new, very powerful, frontof-house LED profile for the first time at the show- a new 600W source and
optical efficiency product.
ROE, introduced its Vanish 18, a transparent LED display panel for inand outdoor use. With its smaller pitch and transparent looks, it’s ready
to fulfil market demands. Together with the Vanish 25, the new Vanish 18
LED panel is part of the Vanish series. A smaller pixel pitch solution, semitransparent panels and lightweight design make it the perfect solution for
projects or installations with a need for large-scale screens.
loudspeaker of these dimensions. Superfly integrates perfectly within
the existing Outline portfolio and can be readily paired with any of its
subwoofer designs.
Out Board introduced its new TiMax 500S software for TiMax Sound
Hub, with enhanced programming and show control workflows for
rendering and control of live, presentation and experiential spatial
reinforcement and immersive audio, including new-look variable day/night
skins optimised for outdoor, rehearsal and show conditions.
Panasonic showcased its live events solutions portfolio at PL+S with
an engaging holographic dance show and a striking dome projection that
used 4K laser projection technology alongside a new wide-angle fisheye
lens. In addition to a wide selection of laser projectors and 4K displays,
Panasonic’s Broadcast and ProAV solutions were also on the stand,
including a range of remote cameras and compact live switchers, perfect
for live entertainment operations.
Philips Entertainment Lighting showed off its new VL800, an LED
effects luminaire offering unique, dynamic looks which appealed to lighting
designers working in show environments of all kinds. It’s the first LED effect
unit from the Philips Vari-Lite brand, it produced a distinctive, collimated,
flat sheet of light in a 3.5° beam with advanced movement, colour control
and pixel-mapping capabilities.
Pioneer DJ launched its flagship club sound system, drawing on
Pioneer’s rich heritage in sound reproduction, deep understanding of the
club industry, and close collaboration with Gary Stewart Audio (GSA) and
Powersoft, this exciting arrival promised to make waves in Ibiza this season.
Pioneer Pro Audio was also on hand to welcome visitors to the
stand throughout the week, as well as hosting aftershow demos on the
Wednesday and Thursday, which allowed guests to hear the company’s
systems in action. Ella Bee demonstrated the XPRS and Lennert Wolfs
demoed the XY-3B series. This year also saw the addition of new hanging
brackets for the XY series speakers and the first appearance for the XY-2,
meaning the stand was decked out from head to toe.
Portman Lighting proudly presented its 3 new products, all hexagon
shaped tungsten look fixtures, the look embodies the European ‘trend’
currently, a warm, attractive halogen look. These are the P1 Retro Lamp, 37
P3 PIX3L and the 10 P2 Hexaline.
Schnick Schnack Systems was back this year to reveal exciting
new products – including a completely new LED series. The LED effect
lighting manufacturer not only presented a new Profile System and a new
generation of white LED products, it also presented its new RGBW Series for
the first time.
The ceiling of the ShowTex stand featured its brand new and extremely
light FeatherSilk fabric, gracefully floating through the air. Visitors at the
ShowTex stand at PL+S got an exclusive preview of the amazing HiSpeed
Reveal, this ultra-fast roll-up system is all about spectacular revelations to
surprise an audience and leave a lasting impression.
Sixty82, made its debut appearance at PL+S this year, pooling over
100 years of experience and expertise from 3 countries to engineer and
manufacture next generation trussing and staging systems.
Solid State Logic was pleased to announce the European premiere of
the 32-fader version of the System T – S300 compact broadcast console,
alongside all of the acclaimed SSL Live console range and a selection of
SSL’s hybrid studio production technology that includes the AWS 948,
Nucleus2 and the Sigma-Delta remote controlled analogue summing
Along with its wide product range, SRS Group introduced its new Flexi
PDU with modular system, Digital ADR cable remote as well as ANGS Art-Net
node and Gigabit switch. The company’s stand remained busy over the 4
days, with Robert Sloboda Jr commenting: “PL+S 2018 indeed turned out to
be an excellent show for SRS Group.”
TMB and Latvia’s Company NA once again partnered for PL+S, while
TMB proudly introduced the ProPlex IQ Tester, the first Ethernet tester for
entertainment production. Several new products could be seen, including
the Flare Q+ Rayzr, the ProPlex DIN Rail FloppyDrives, and the latest
addition to the Solaris Mozart range of ‘perfect pixels’.
TOMCAT enacted its claws this year with its display of the innovative
Nemesis pre-rig truss, a side-loading design that featured a leg stand
option, which allowed one person to load fixtures into the truss during prep.
TW AUDiO introduced 3 new i-series products. The first one was the
B14i, its ‘under-sofa subwoofer,’ which tops out at only 9.5 inches tall, yet
delivers up to 6dB higher SPLs than a traditional 2 x 8inch sub. Ideal to use
under stages or furniture, in ceilings and behind curtains, or to supplement
Void’s display of products included the Node series – Node 2, 2i, 4 and 4i
- a range of passive and self-powered, multi-purpose loudspeakers; and the
single and double 18-inch subwoofers, Arcline 118 and 218, to complete its
popular Arcline 8 medium format array speaker system, which was released
last year.
Visual Productions showcased its full product line set up in different
applications for its audience to see, including the new IoCore2, TimeCore,
CueCore2 and Kiosc App. The CueCore2 and QuadCore hosted the latest
firmware release that included the new TimeSpan feature.
Twelve months on from the launch of its innovative and powerful Delta
Series of digital processing amplifiers, both XTA and MC2 were delighted
to be showing the 120 Amps at this year’s PL+S. The 120 Amps are available
as Delta 120 and DNA120 models from MC2 and XTA respectively, and have
96kHz Dante inputs as an option.
Yamaha’s launch of RIVAGE PM7 was one of its audio highlights at the
ISE show in Amsterdam and the new system was again the focus at PL+S.
Yamaha’s entire range of digital mixing consoles were on display, alongside
other new products, including the updated R series Dante I/O racks, Version
2 firmware for RIVAGE PM1 and the updated DXSmkII subwoofers.
Zero 88 displayed its new FLX S24 and FLX S48 consoles, the original
FLX and ZerOS Wing was demonstrated on the stand, all running the latest
version of console software - ZerOS 7.9.4.
Photos: TPi and mondo*dr
The mondo*dr Awards 2018 went off with a bang thanks to a well-attended
event and celebrations all round. Although it was only the second edition
of the awards - that are solely focussed on celebrating the best fixed
installation projects from around the world - attendees, over 400 in total,
came from far and wide to share the celebrations. Networking flowed, as
did the drinks and nibbles, before guests were welcomed by the opening
lighting and visual introduction that topped the evening bill.
The technical production for the evening was managed by Go To Live the same crew behind the TPi Awards. The ceremony was delivered using
TW AUDiO’s VERA20’s, S32 subs and T20’s and d:facto 4018V microphones
from DPA on the audio front. The lighting was provided by GLP’s impression
X1, GT-1, impression X4 Bar 20 and Wash-One lighting fixtures, which were
controlled via an Avolites Tiger Touch II. There was a Dicolor X-Plus LED
display, too, which used an RGBlink X3 and T-ONE for video processing and
content management.
mondo*dr’s Rachael Rogerson-Thorley and Jamie Dixon hosted the
evening, with special guests from the category sponsors taking to the stage
to present their corresponding awards. mondo*dr would like to take this
opportunity to thank all of the sponsors for their involvement and support.
The team would also like to thank everyone who attended and helped
make the event a success. And, finally, a massive congratulations to all the
2018 winners.
And the winners are…
Bar & Restaurant
St. Giles House
House of Worship
Faith Promise
Corner Club
Concert Hall
Pierre Boulez Salle
Sporting Venues
Little Caesars Arena
La Perle
Integrated Resorts
Terrell Place
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Roger Barrett, Star Events’ Special Projects Director,
looked at causes, solutions and the response from
UK authorities at a seminar at
Prolight + Sound.
There were 45 significant rigging and staging accidents around the
world in 2017, nearly one a week.
As member of the Advisory Group On Temporary Structures
(AGOTS), which Barrett Chaired for 8 years, and a pertinent part of
the HSE Joint Advisory Council for Entertainment, he focused on the
physics first. He simplified, and illustrated, the principles of tension and
compression, which serve rigging and structure builds respectively, in a
typically forthright session.
Detailing Star Events’ assessment system, which, based on
traffic light colour coding, rates structures against four core safety
requirements, the ‘Green’ standard requires:
1) Proper design
2) Built in ‘redundancy’
3) Correct construction
4) Use within the designed capacity
With 47 years literally in the field with the event industry, Barrett
rates the majority of temporary structures around the world as Amber,
which envelopes from 1 to 3 missing core values, making failure/
collapse progressively more likely.
Red represents a structure that’s failed, Barrett explained,
highlighting the Indiana Fair collapse in 2011, which left 7 people dead
and 58 injured and inspired the formation of the Event Safety Alliance.
The investigation found the stage had been poorly designed with
no redundancy, built incorrectly and over-loaded.
“The market is very price driven and people cut corners, using lighting
truss to support structures for example,” Barrett told his audience.
“Reputable manufacturers sell complete stage systems, often to people
who don’t know how to operate them. Many rely on guy wires external
to the structure, which are implicated in so many failures that reputable
stage companies don’t use them.
“Local and national authorities have no control over anyone
becoming an event organiser. Someone with money, front and pzaz but
no knowledge can step up as an event organiser, hiring staging, sound
and light, and there are no controls over who can offer those services
“If you want to be a gas engineer you have to be on the Gas Safe
Register but there’s nothing like that for event structures, despite the
fact that hundreds of thousands of people of all ages go to a vast array
of events in this country.
“There haven’t been any serious incidents in the UK recently, most
of the main contractors here have a level of experience and knowledge.
They design and build their own structures and don’t rely on buying kit
off the shelf. This shows up in the accident statistics, where territories
with lots of off-the-shelf structures clearly have the highest failure
“It’s not as safe as it should be in the UK though, with plenty of
structures maybe unwittingly well into the Amber rating band, but it
will take a serious accident for the authorities to wake up to the risks
and maybe do something about it.”
TPi talks to Amber Etra of Philips Entertainment Lighting about her new
role as the company’s Product Application Specialist for Touring.
Etra Etra is a dynamo, carrying the same positivity and passion for
entertainment lighting through every role in her career to date. As
followspot operator on The Lion King, theatre lighting crew, touring crew,
console trainer for Europe and head of UK and Ireland sales, Etra has
thrived in the industry and with its people.
Her new role at Philips Entertainment Lighting is as Product Application
Specialist for Touring. This latest step in her career will bring her into daily
contact with those at the creative leading edge of the business she loves.
A graduate of Mountview Academy’s Technical Theatre degree course,
Etra had worked in various theatre lighting roles before deciding a different
tack. At a London trade show, she visited the Strand Lighting stand, where
she encountered an unsuspecting Alan Luxford and Bill Richards. “I was
interested to see where their consoles were going at the time,” she recalled.
“They’d just released the Palette series - we had one - I was programming
on it - so I went and shook hands with Bill and Alan and said ‘I’d like a job,
So Etra’s learning curve continued, first as a product assistant to
Richards (“I learned a lot from Bill,” she said), then as console specialist and
Strand Lighting’s European trainer. “I’d go out to Dublin and train 27 people
at a time on the Palette… I did all the technical training throughout Europe.”
A challenging role for a 22-year-old, perhaps, but Etra was too busy
making friends to be daunted. “The industry’s so friendly, I think that’s what
hooks you in, and that’s what it’s always been about for me, the people and
the relationships.”
As part of the Genlyte Group at the time, Strand was already a
stable-mate of Vari-Lite, but operated separately. After Philips acquired
first Genlyte in 2008 and then Selecon the following year, the process of
integration began with the combination of the Selecon and Strand teams.
“I began to learn additional portfolios, and I gained great new colleagues,
people like Ritchie Reid, Michael Goldberg and Jeremy Collins,” said Etra.
Then Vari-Lite came into the fold, the 3 brands forming the core of the
Philips Entertainment Lighting portfolio. Of that process, Etra recalled,
A-list Drummer Derrick Wright
Derrick Wright is a busy man. Whether he is producing a new project, building a new studio or touring
with Adele as her drummer and musical director, Derrick does not have time for second best. His choice
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“We saw people come and go, but there were always those who remained
passionate about the brands, who were strong influences on where we
needed to go as a business and how we needed to serve the customer
base... Everybody on the team has persevered to get us where we are now.”
On a personal level, Etra has been able to grow within the company
as her own circumstances changed, especially when she and husband
Tom started their own family. “When I had a baby and I needed something
different, they adapted to suit me. When I wanted a new challenge, or
more training, or to learn a different department, they have always helped,
and that’s the team ethos. I love the team I work with, they’re what makes
coming into work every day fun.”
For her employer, Etra has been well worth adapting for. A natural
accumulator of knowledge and contacts, she has developed an impressive
expertise and carved out an important role in her team as a connector and
a facilitator, as well as building relationships with key creatives and decision
makers throughout the industry. Her role for the past year in marketing has
further added to that big picture understanding. “If I could send everybody
in our company on a marketing course I would,” she said. “It underpins
every part of what we do as a business.”
This combination of skills makes her new role something of a perfect fit.
The aim, Etra explains, is to work more directly with designers and to make
sure they can get the products, the help and the support that they need.
As a conduit between manufacturer and creative, Etra has much to offer.
“I always enjoyed getting my hands dirty, being part of a lighting team. It
gives you an understanding of why you might do something a certain way,
but it’s also important to understand other people’s perspectives. It’s not
necessarily about how you achieve something, it’s about that end goal.
We’re all there to do a job, which is to make something look fantastic.”
It’s clear from the way Etra talks about the people in this business that
they are her first priority. “I’m honest,” she said. “I’m not going to jeopardise
my personal and professional relationships by telling them something that
isn’t true. If a product’s not right for them, I’ll tell them. Giving the wrong
product for the job is not good for anybody involved.”
In her new role, Etra has been given a clear strategy for the company’s
commitment to concert touring and live events. She now spends time
working with the creative teams, helping to spec tours, special events and
TV shows, ensuring that designers get what they need and also that their
feedback and insights are fed back into the product development team.
“We want them to know we’re there for those conversations and to help
with their user experience - from design, to touring and all the backup,
but it’s also about making sure the products we’re bringing to market are
relevant, that there are real reasons for making something.”
Of course, when it comes to product development, an organisation
of Philips Entertainment Lighting’s stature offers many advantages, not
least R&D access to the renowned design campus in Eindhoven. “The
team there are working on things which are completely mind-boggling in
terms of technological advancements,” said Etra. “There are things in the
pipeline which will give a whole new perspective to Philips Entertainment’s
importance to our sector.”
In the meantime, Etra will be making time for her ever-growing number
of colleagues and friends in the business, and ensuring they get the best out
of their dealings with the company and its product ranges. “If somebody
rings up and said ‘Etra, I want to see you for a cup of tea’, then I’m there with
the biscuits!”
Search “TPi Magazine” on the App Store and Google Play.
for more information about the event or to book your stand,
please contact Hannah Eakins:
As he celebrates 2 decades with Martin Audio, Baird talks to TPi about some product development
audio reproduction, following in the footsteps, if not the physical size, of
the legendary nightclub systems of the 70’s and 80’s.
“The first Martin Audio product I was intimately involved in was the
original Blackline range, which brought high quality transducers and
cabinet construction to a more accessible price point. This proved to be
extremely successful for us and surprisingly never more so than in the
burgeoning Chinese entertainment market.”
As the new millennium dawned he and Bill Webb (then R&D Director)
came to the conclusion that they had to produce a line array if they wanted
to remain competitive in the touring market. Thus the W8L was born. “This
started us on a steep learning curve as to how the interaction of splay
angles, EQ and absorption of HF over distance all came together to critically
influence system performance.”
The next turning point was the arrival of Ambrose Thompson, as Baird
confirmed: “He and I immediately set about developing a software tool
(ViewPoint) that allowed the user to derive splay angles automatically, via
geometric analysis of the audience surfaces. It surprises me that this is still
a pretty new feature to some of the market leaders of today.”
Baird remembers that, in the early days of the W8L, it was evident that
driving a line array with the same signal for every cabinet produced a result
that was often too loud at the front and was lacking in comparison at the
back. To overcome this, he came up with the idea of ‘band zoning’, where
the array was split into short, medium and long throw sections, each with
their own EQ. This was an idea they would return to some years later.
2007 saw the launch of O-Line, which was an articulated micro line
array for the installation market. “This was our first foray into configuring a
line array using an accurate acoustic model of array output. This allowed
us to replace our geometric splay calculations with a fundamentally more
accurate simulation of array behaviour.”
Around the same time Martin Audio was asked to propose a system
design for the main stage of an iconic British festival, which was notorious
for its off-site noise issues. “Using the W8L Longbow, we doubled the
amount of processing channels typically used to drive it, in order to have
more control of the sound leakage from beyond the back of the field. The
results were proper gig SPL’s for the crowd, while maintaining control of offsite levels.”
But the R&D Director was keen to apply O-Line’s analytical way of
configuring a line array system to a more ambitious product, and in 2010,
MLA entered the touring market. “Taking what we’d learned from the W8L
series band-zoning technique, MLA was equipped with individual DSP
processing and amplification for each acoustic device in the array. Crucially,
we applied our optimisation algorithms not only to the splay angles but to
the DSP filtering as well. This was achieved using our in-house software,
The results, he said, were compelling. “The system could produce
highly consistent audience coverage, right out of the box, with the ability to
reduce signal level outside of this region simultaneously achievable. This
“When I joined Martin Audio in 1998, the industry was in a very different
place to now,” he began. “Bands were touring just to promote albums,
production company owners were enthusiasts and the audio community
was still in the process of waking up to the modern line array. Likewise,
the general installation market was starting to attach increasing value to
feature has been used to great effect at numerous high-profile outdoor
events, where noise pollution levels had previously compromised audience
experience to an unacceptable extent. Our patented MLA technology is still
unsurpassed in this respect, 8 years on.”
Not content with bringing high levels of coverage consistency to largescale line array applications, Baird wanted to do the same for shorter throw
point source systems. “And so in 2015 we launched the CDD range, which
featured our now patented Coaxial Differential Dispersion transducer
technology. With the assistance of Phil Anthony, a means of mounting the
HF waveguides directly onto the low frequency driver’s cone was perfected.”
The ability to shape the HF waveguides as they wanted to, meant that
the HF beaming typical of the generic coaxial driver could be overcome.
“Furthermore we could create a differential dispersion pattern, which was
wider close to the speaker and progressively narrower in the horizontal
plane as distance increased. For a wall-mounted speaker, this actually gives
a rectangular coverage pattern on the listening plane, which we consider to
be optimum for the majority of applications.”
But Baird’s list of triumphs don’t end there. The most recent addition
to the Martin Audio portfolio, Wavefront Precision, was in recognition that
MLA and its smaller brothers are flagship systems. “As such we wanted to
bring many aspects of their performance to a wider market, via our ‘scalable
resolution’ concept,” he explained.
“Rather than drive each acoustic device in the array individually, like
MLA, scalable resolution operates at a single box or multiple box level.
Display optimises splay angles and DSP filters just as it did for MLA but now
the user can choose the box resolution that the array is divided into, with
the amplification and filtering provided by our iKON electronics.”
For example, in the case of the smaller Wavefront Precision product
(WPM), the user can choose from 1- to 4-box resolution and in the case
of the medium format WPC, 1- to 3-box. “As resolution increases, so does
coverage consistency,” Baird explained. “Although, even at the coarsest
resolution, the results are significantly better than a classic same-signal-toeach-box line array system, driven by an off the shelf factory preset.”
Baird concluded: “In developing the Wavefront Precision range, our goal
was to deliver expected performance requirements of maximising output
vs size as well as speed of deployment, while adding more than a little bit
of the magic of our MLA series, at a compelling price point. The overnight
success of the series is testament to this thinking.”
The story, and evolutionary process, is far from complete. Expect to see
Martin Audio continue to innovate further in the near future.
Robust & versatile projectors, delivering
bright imagery for todays demanding
rental & staging environments
The Visionaries Choice
01/05/2018 09:36
This month TPi speaks to the Guildford School of Acting alumna about her
first year in the industry, and life as a touring theatrical lighting specialist.
Barely a year out of her studies and Meg
Mawhinney has already built-up quite
the résumé within theatrical lighting. TPi
managed to catch-up with the lighting
tech on a day off during the current Evita
tour to discuss how she found her way
into the industry.
“For me it started when I took
up performing arts at GCSE,” began
Mawhinney. “This is where I discovered
my love for the more technical side of
the industry.” Admittedly, during her
formative years, Mawhinney was unsure of
how best to find a way into the industry.
On the advice of a tutor she looked into
what courses were on offer, leading
the budding stagehand to enrol on a
Professional Production Skills Course at
the Guildford School of Acting (GSA). “During the first year of the course I
got to explore all of the various elements
of the live events industry from audio, to
visuals and stage management. Then, for
second and third year, I got to specialise; which for me always was lighting. GSA is incredibly
practical when it comes to the second and third years, which certainly armed me with a lot of
usable skills.”
Having been through the obligatory 3 years of the university, Mawhinney did admit that,
with hindsight, she would have explored other apprenticeships at theatres prior to joining
the course. “I went into it fairly blind, not knowing the difference between a Source Four
and a PAR can. For those wanting to do a similar course, I would suggest getting as much as
experience as possible. That said, my particular university course was great as I was unsure of
what direction of live events to go in, and it gave me a taste of all the elements.”
Before graduating, Mawhinney had already cut her teeth with various touring productions.
This included collaborating with Lighting Designer Aaron J. Dootson and working on
productions including YANK! and Sarah and Duck, not to mention working with the hire
company Storm during the summer. “Following those stints I then got offered a spot on the
Blood Brothers tour from the end of August till December,” stated Mawhinney. “Following the
Blood Brothers tour I then jumped ship to work on Evita, which I’m still on today.”
Moving on, Mawhinney talked about some of the challenges she had face during her
first year in the industry. “The biggest difficulty when joining the ‘real world’ is being at the
bottom of the ladder again,” she began. “During university you get the chance to take the
lead on several projects and personally I quite like doing the paper work and heading up the
organisation. But when you join the industry you start from square one. Even though I had
expected this, it was still a challenging transition and what I have learned in such a short
space of time has been invaluable.”
To close, Mawhinney gave some advice for those who might want to follow in her
footsteps. “Expect to cram in more than you think!” she laughed. “I went in thinking I wanted
to do stage management and came out of university specialising in lighting. If you’re unsure
what you want to do, make sure you sign onto a course that does everything so you get to find
what works for you. Expect to open you eyes to more opportunities - you never know where
you might end up!”
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19.12.2017 12:31:31
TPi’s Ste Durham meets Andy Cooper,
Manager, PA Application Engineering at Yamaha,
to discuss the R&D process behind the company’s
latest digital mixing console.
Can you give some details about the genesis of the RIVAGE PM7?
The RIVAGE PM7 has inherited a great deal from its big brother, the PM10.
The PM10 digital mixing system has a development story that goes back
around 10 years. As the first generation of digital mixers for live sound, the
PM1D and PM5D were increasing in age, there was a strong desire to replace
them with something more scalable and networked. However, there were
some difficult years for the market following the 2007/8 global financial
crisis, and the existing networking technologies were not mature enough
So during that time, Yamaha’s own engineers in Japan invented
TWINLANe. This is the backbone of the RIVAGE PM10 mixing system, and is
optional with PM7. It carries 400 audio channels (plus a lot of control data)
at 96kHz, 32-bit with a latency of only 12 samples, in a redundant ring. Also
during this time, Dante emerged as an ideal IP-based audio network for
smaller channel counts, yet larger numbers of devices.
Yamaha learnt a lot by implementing Dante first in its mid-range mixers
such as CL5 and QL1. Then, when Audinate invented a high-channel Dante
module, we knew the technology was ready for a larger mixing system.
Any user of PM7 and PM10 will recognise similarities in the workflow
to the older PM1D and PM5D consoles, with the large selected channel
area, and the LED rings around the encoders, allowing the operator to mix
without staring at a screen. At the same time, there are many similarities
to the CL5, with the way the channel strips run from the faders up through
the touch-screen, and the menu layouts of the touch-screen itself. We
wanted users of the older Yamaha digital mixers to feel instantly at home.
Yet they will be instantly blown away by the increased amount and quality of
mixing engines, but decided that was too much of a compromise for the end
user to accept. So we had the idea to simplify the system by including the
DSP engine inside the larger control surface (but sacrificing a few channels),
yet keeping almost all the features of the more powerful PM10.
Allowing the use of Dante for the main network helps to reduce cost further,
when compared to the higher capacity TWINLANe options. So much
consultation had been made with sound engineers and system designers
during the development of PM10, we knew the control surface was just
about perfect. So we are very pleased that it didn’t need to be changed to
meet the price point for PM7.
Please can you talk through some of the key features? Are there any new
attributes or is it mainly improvements on previous models?
The key features of RIVAGE PM7 are shared with PM10. We cannot underestimate the importance of Yamaha’s collaboration with Rupert Neve
Designs during the last 8 years. To have SILK available on the mic pre-amps
brings a unique character and depth to the sound, while having 7 different
models of RND plug-in dynamics and EQ processors available provides
the sound engineer with the highest quality of audio tools imaginable. For
the first time, you can practically tour the world with over 100 channels of
Rupert Neve Designs EQs and compressors!
Yamaha’s partnership with Eventide has also borne good fruit, with the
H3000 Live Ultra-Harmonizer also appearing in the plug-in rack. PM7 has
the capacity to run up to 384 plug-ins within the console, with as many as 8
per channel across 2 separate insert points. No other system has this kind of
power, flexibility and quality in its price range.
The “FOLLOW” feature for Mix and Matrix sends is also unique, where
every input channel-to-send cross-point can have a different behaviour. For
example, a vocal mic sending to the singer’s mix can be pre-dynamics and
not affected by DCA fader levels, while the same mic sending to a keyboard
player can be post-dynamics, affected by DCA fader levels, but not by
channel fader levels. Or, you can be sending pre-EQ yet still post-fader at the
same time!
What was the R&D process like? Does the finished product bear much
resemblance to the original specification?
The R&D process for PM7 was reasonably quick, following on from the long
development path of PM10. We wanted a solution with high specification,
but lower cost. We considered the idea of smaller control surfaces, smaller
Below: Yamaha held demo days for the PM7 at Abbey Road in London and Albert Hall in Manchester; The Rio 3224-D.
How closely did you collaborate with engineers / end users to develop the
product? Could you give details of this?
Actually almost no customer saw PM7 before it was launched! But that is
because it was so similar in concept and design to PM10. PM10 had several
rounds of consultation with a small group of key customers and sound
engineers during its development process.
At the same time, several members of Yamaha’s R&D team had previous
experience as professional sound engineers operating in world class
theatres, music festivals and tours. Yamaha’s own staff around the world
are a key asset, able to quickly provide opinions and feedback from many
different markets. For PM10 it began with the sound. We held evaluations
with invited sound engineers to check the mic pre-amps, the EQs, the
dynamics processors. We consulted with system designers about the
network and connection possibilities, and we invited a small range of
monitor, FOH and theatre engineers to test the layout and ergonomics of the
theatre and house of worship installations, and for live broadcast events.
The console has many customisable features, making it suitable for either
FOH or monitor duties, or indeed both at the same time! It can easily cope
with 2 operators handling different sections of the console concurrently.
The networking capabilities of PM7 and PM10 are unprecedented. Multipleconsole systems can cope with thousands of inputs from both TWINLANe
and Dante, operating at 96kHz 32-bit.
Finally, now it’s on the market, where and when can we expect to see the
PM10 in the coming months?
RIVAGE PM10 has most recently been on tour around the world with Foo
Fighters, Nickelback, Jamiroquai, and Tears for Fears. At the same time,
it has been installed in various halls, theatres, churches and TV studios in
places including Singapore, Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and
the US.
PM7 has been an instant hit since its launch in February 2018, and many
have already been delivered to rental company customers throughout
Europe, the US and Japan. Expect to see them at increasing numbers of
tours and festivals throughout the summer of 2018 and beyond. It’s an
exciting time for Yamaha: the factory in Japan can hardly keep up with
demand at the moment!
Where does this console fit, both in Yamaha’s arsenal and the wider
RIVAGE PM7 and PM10 fit at the high end of Yamaha’s professional audio
range of products, with PM10 as the ‘flagship’. They showcase the highest
quality of build, manufacture, sound and design. The RIVAGE PM systems
are designed for use in sound reinforcement for tours and festivals, large
Manchester-based audio specialist tube uk was the first
sound rental and live-production company in the UK to
take delivery of Yamaha’s brand new RIVAGE PM7 digital
mixing system, which received a high profile launch at
2018 ISE expo in Amsterdam in February.
tube’s Melvyn Coote commented: “We’re always excited
to be among the first to utilise new technologies and are
delighted to be the very first company in the UK with a PM7!”
He added that, although it’s a bold move, the console has
“many excellent features, a great quality, a good price point
and is underlined by Yamaha’s rock solid reputation for
The powerful and flexible RIVAGE PM7 fills a gap in the
product range left by the iconic Yamaha PM5D, which was
launched in 2004 and swiftly became a touring industry
standard for digital live mixing and the go-to interface for a
raft of top engineers worldwide.
“We always said that when a PM5D replacement hit the
market we would buy into it because the history of that
product is legendary and we continue to have great results
from other Yamaha products” explained Coote. “We really
believe that the PM7 will prove itself as an equally awesome
Yamaha initially arranged a hands-on demo day in March
for around 60 high end engineers at Abbey Road Studios in
London, where they could use RIVAGE systems in situ and
get a good idea on the functionality and quality on offer.
In April, tube and Yamaha presented a similar hands-on
workshop session at the impressive concert venue in
Manchester, Albert Hall, where tube is the resident audio
systems provider.
“All the feedback we were hearing from both of these
sessions was extremely positive, so these considerations
taken on aggregate added up to it being the right product,
right time and right place!” enthused Coote.
The tube PM7 has been packaged with an RPio622 I/O
stage rack - designed specifically for the RIVAGE family of
digital mixing systems - which is currently loaded with four
16-way input modules, one 16-way output module and a
16-way input / output AES module.
The impressive-sounding Neve Silk input modules
provide a choice of 2 Neve and a Yamaha pre-amp type on
every channel, giving the engineers a great choice of tonal
textures right from the input stage.
“That’s a great range of quality preamp choices,” stated
Coote. The inclusion of the Neves, which recreate the
characteristics of Rupert Neve Designs transformer circuitry
and acclaimed SILK processing through Yamaha’s VCM
digital modelling technology, show that there has been no
compromises in quality.
Cote said: “The 32-bit / 96kHz processing throughout
also makes this a great sounding console”.
He also praised the 120 channel count, which will service
most medium to large productions, together with the 60 mix
buses, 24 matrices, dual stereo mixes, dual cue buses and
processing for up to 192 plug-ins. “With this extensive I/O
count, it’s been designed to be properly multi-purpose and
fit a wide range of audio scenarios.”
The RIVAGE PM7 and PM10 systems use Yamaha’s new
high speed TWINLANe data multicore system to transfer the
high data rates between RPio units and the control surface,
and can also run a new 144-channel Dante card, which will
integrate with tube’s current CL / QL / Rio infrastructure.
tube has purchased numerous Yamaha products over the
years, and Melvyn stressed that the “incredible reliability”
of the brand is a key factor, and essential for any busy rental
and live-sound operation, such as tube.
“The PM5D in particular has been absolutely bullet
proof, so we’re expecting the same of the PM7,” Coote
For interested engineers, tube uk is offering hands-on
demo time at its warehouses in Manchester or Slough. To
arrange a session please contact one of the projects team
on: or +44 345 890 9990
Robust & versatile projectors, delivering
bright imagery for todays demanding
rental & staging environments
The Visionaries Choice
01/05/2018 09:36
FOH Engineer, Gatecrasher Classical
start to the day for audio. We were in and had our PA ready to go up on the
grid there nice and early.
Both myself and my System Tech, Craig Burns, always liaise about
system design - it’s crucial with so many instruments on stage. We had
decided on a split system design, flying d&b audiotechnik V boxes including
flown subs for the balcony and having a ground stack of V for the floor,
complemented by J-SUBs and J-INFRAs. This may have been an orchestral
show, but the sub is so important.
At FOH, I had my DiGiCo SD7, Maggie. I named my deskafter The
Simpsons’ character. I was also multi-tracking the show with my MADIface
interface and mac mini, this was our production day (thankfully). It was a
tight squeeze at FOH. Along with my SD7, we had our drive rack, lighting
console and lasers too - I was very busy! It was a seated show, well it was
meant to be, but no one was going to be sat down at this dance show!
The show day was never going to be straightforward. With a sound
curfew in place until 3pm and the orchestra only booked from 3.30-6.30pm,
we had our work cut out. However, we made it clear to the conductor and
the production team that nothing could be done until we had the system
aligned and tuned.
The rest of the crew and I got on with the process of setting up the many
microphones on stage, double miking the strings - DPAs and Schertlers which was necessary for the level I needed for the show. We did our silent
line check and tested all the logic lines from the session. I also had my
Genelec nearfields so could at least have a little listen to the playback
content. Anything to get ahead!
3 o’clock came and within 30 minutes, we were ready to start our sound
check with the orchestra. Both myself and monitors asked the sections to
play first and then run a piece so that the musicians can check their IEM
mixes and click levels. We had no wedges on stage, as we needed to keep it
as clean-looking & neat as possible. By 4.40pm we were running tracks and
bringing vocalists in to do their pieces with all of the musicians on stage.
We hadn’t stopped at any point, but the results were great. I love the
SD7 for laying out a mix for this kind of show. It never feels busy and I can
easily get to my orchestral stems. We all run the consoles on a loop so our
Monitor Engineer, who was using an SD10, could get stems off me, as could
our Logic Tech, who utilised an SD11i.
It was 6.30pm and we had managed to get a full run through, which I
had also multi-tracked. The orchestra was already packing up, but I could
carry on with my checks. We had a show the next day but were in a great
place to start.
By 9pm we were ready to go eat some food and wind down before our
start the next day. Mixing orchestral dance music is a challenging prep day,
but also so fulfilling as an engineer. I’m really happy working on days like
this, especially with the crew we had.
Françoise Le Moignan
Having been in the Industry for nearly 20 years, one of the most
enjoyable things about my job is the diversity of genres you get to work
on. Over the last year, I have done quite a few of the classical / dance
shows that seem to be cropping up. Having spent the last year mixing
FOH for Haçienda Classical, Gatecrasher Classical was a new project.
Although it was a new production, I was working for Wigwam, and
therefore working with some familiar faces and some of my favourite
people with some of my regular crew who look after monitors, Logic, and
patch - plus a great system engineer.
On the prep day, I started by unloading our truck with the rest of the
crew at Sheffield City Hall - the city is the historical home of Gatecrasher.
It was 7am and it was going to be a long day for us - but an enjoyable one.
The house crew were happy to see some familiar faces and it was a smooth
Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash
Last month we were asked if we could let people know about the ALD’s #SaveStageLighting
campaign, we said yes because we’re good like that. Words were rushed out, checked, changed
and submitted, TPi went to press. Then we had a good look at the potential impact of the Eco
Design working plan and it was worse than anyone imagined. A quick straw poll of lighting rental
companies induced palpitations; rack upon rack of fixtures with sources that simply don’t and
probably never will comply with the 85 lumens out for each Watt in requirement of the directive.
That’s LED included. We just had to look a little deeper.
The fact remains that stage lighting needs to be excluded from the
resulting directive. It already excludes projectors, as well as nodding to
professional stage lighting by excluding fixtures with an output of more
than 82,000 lumens. The authors seem to think that this covers stage
lighting, we know full well that it doesn’t.
One glance of the consultation response questionnaire reveals how
our plight is, perhaps, just an unintended consequence of well meaning
regulation. The consultation covers household fridges, household washing
machines, household washer dryers, household dishwashers, computers
and lighting products. Note the lack of ‘household’ suffix there in lighting
products but dig deeper into the directive regarding computers and it
clearly states what is not included: blade system and components, server
appliances, multi-node servers, computer servers with more than four
processor sockets, game consoles and docking stations. When it comes
to lighting products, there is no clear differentiation between household
and entertainment, we are seemingly bundled in with the tertiary sector,
bundling a moving head fixture with lamps in use 24 hours a day in a factory.
One of the main reasons given for the changes are ‘market failure’.
Simply making low energy sources available hasn’t achieved the
desired move towards them; the only option they see is to legislate less
efficient products out of existence. 2020 has been picked as a target
because the perceived life of a lamp is 2-3 years. Of course, the lamp life
doesn’t necessarily equate to the life of the fixture itself; a tiny efficiency
improvement in the lamp is nothing compared to the environmental impact
of binning a fixture and manufacturing a new one.
A warehouse full of LED luminaires uses no electricity whatsoever, the
lights in the warehouse do and they’re relatively easy to upgrade; studies
have shown that stage lighting accounts for just 5% of a theatre’s energy
use, papers relating to the Ecodesign directive suggest a realistic reduction
in use across the tertiary sector as 3-5%, the impact on potential reductions
that will come from excluding stage lighting is tiny.
Lamp efficiency is not the only requirement of the proposed directive,
there’s also the question of standby power, with a maximum set at 0.5
watts. That might be OK for a television but, next time you step into a
hotel room, grab the remote control and turn the TV on from standby.
Then imagine a moving light taking that long to react to an instruction.
The ‘always ready’ status of a light that is standing by for the next
instruction falls a long way short of the requirements. That said,
they’re only in that state just before and during show time; perhaps
spending a lot less of its life in standby than your average hotel telly.
It’s worth pointing out that, wrapped up in the increased
efficiencies demanded by the directive are new labelling requirements.
We’re all familiar with the A – G ratings for domestic appliances; they
enable us to make informed decisions about the products we buy, with
standardised classifications making claims transparent. In the case of
domestic products, efficiency has developed so much that we now see
A++ ratings for some products. For this reason, the goal posts are being
moved and we’ll see products move backwards towards B or C; this is
simply to leave headroom for further developments. Nobody can see
an issue with a transparent, standardised rating system; we’ll get there
when we can.
This is a big issue requiring a big response. Last month’s call
was from the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), forces were
already joining together to open channels of communication, with
PLASA rallying manufacturers to join them for focussed meetings at
both Plugfest and PLASA Focus Leeds; we have briefed and will be
discussing the issue with the UK Live Music Group, aiming to engage
with relevant Government departments and we’ve been in touch with
MEPs locally and those engaged with the relevant EU Commissioners.
Recently, PLASA has confirmed that it will be representing
manufacturers at a meeting in Brussels.
The May 7 deadline for responses to the latest consultation will
have passed by the time you read this, the joint industry effort will have
resulted in a strong showing, in this we’re confident and, here in the
UK, we’ll all be making an effort to have an influence on EU directed
regulation designed with the best of intention that needs the closest
attention to iron out any unintended negative consequences. It may be
the last time we get an opportunity to do that.
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CODA Audio USA appoints Jeff Taylor as Sales Director, KLANG:technologies announces the appointments of Sorinamoo; PSI joins the Adamson Network;
Claude Ostyn joins the ROE Visual R&D team.
Audio-visual solutions provider Audiologic announces the appointment
of Simon Jones to the post of Business Manager. Jones, who joins the
company after a number of years at Sennheiser, has been immersed in every
aspect of audio, from manufacture and servicing to development and sales.
A perfect fit to support Audiologic’s continuing expansion; Jones will take
particular interest in supporting the company’s recent distribution deal with
“We’re genuinely thrilled to have secured the services of such a wellrespected and popular industry figure. Simon not only brings a wealth of
knowledge, expertise and experience of all things audio to the company but
a track record of proven success and an enviable reputation as a principled
and customer-focused operator. Those are precisely the qualities that
Audiologic seeks to promote and I’m confident that he will thrive in our
close-knit environment,” said Andy Lewis, Audiologic Sales and Marketing
CODA Audio USA has appointed Jeff Taylor as its new Sales Director.
Based in Vancouver, Washington, Taylor brings with him a wealth of industry
knowledge, having enjoyed more than 20 years experience working with
notable professional audio brands.
To firmly establish CODA Audio’s next-generation solutions in the
top rank of the US market is central to his new role, something for which
Managing Director, Luke Jenks feels he is very well suited: “Jeff combines
a highly developed business sense with the technical understanding of a
professional audio engineer, a role he continues to play in venues across his
home city and which demonstrates a level of enthusiasm for pro-audio that
is shared throughout the global CODA Audio family. CODA Audio is all about
exceeding expectations with our innovative, customer-focussed solutions
and Jeff has the know-how and strategic experience to meet growing
demand by building a sales organisation that will deliver the highest
possible standard of support and satisfaction.”
KLANG:technologies is pleased to announce the appointment
of Sorinamoo as its distributor for South Korea. Established in 2000,
Sorinamoo is a leading distributor of premium pro audio and video brands.
The company represents Yamaha, Meyer, Inter-M and Harman brands,
including JBL, Crown, DBX and Soundcraft.
Phil Kamp, KLANG:technologies’ Head of Sales, commented: “We are
pleased to welcome Sorinamoo to our expanding network of international
distributors. With a great line of compatible brands, they are technically
experienced and will bring our systems to the market with great
presentation and support. I am confident they will do an excellent job in
representing KLANG:technologies in South Korea.”
Irish technical production company PSI is the latest company to join the
Adamson network as a certified re-seller and rental partner appointed by
Adamson’s UK Distributor The Warehouse. With offices in Belfast and Dublin,
PSI specialises in all aspects of event lighting, rigging and training, and
has recently added an audio department headed up by Adam Lee Collins,
along with Audio Projects Manager, John Hesketh. Collins commented: “We
looked at all of the leading brands of loudspeakers but felt that Adamson
100 • +44 208 986 5002
Below: Triple E has recruited Richard Black as Technical Sales and Marketing role; Marina Prak is ROE Visual’s new Marketing Manager;
Visual Productions’ Vice President Zoe Castle with Robert Izzett of DWR Distribution.
was the perfect fit for our new department. We see the brand growing
steadily in the international market and want to be ahead of the curve, we’re
initially adding a substantial inventory of Adamson S10 systems to support
this. Relationships with like-minded people and companies are key to PSI
values, and together with support from The Warehouse and Adamson I see
a great future ahead!” For more than 18 years, PSI has provided production
solutions for live events, specialising to date in lighting and rigging services
and supply. The decision to open a dedicated audio department comes
from the desire to offer a consistent service in this area, to meet the
high standard already provided by PSI in the other areas. The provision
of leading-edge equipment, and the appointment of the best industry
professionals, highlights PSI’s dedication to providing exemplary service to
all clients.
With the appointment of no less than 4 industry veterans, in both
product management as well as marketing, LED display solutions provider
ROE Visual has strengthened its team to execute their ambitious growth
plans for 2018 and beyond.
Tony van Moorleghem has over 25 years of experience in global
operations, customer service and product marketing and comes to ROE
Visual as Director of Product Management.
Joining Tony is Dries Vermeulen who has almost 20 years experience in
LED display technology and will be assisting ROE Visual to further develop
the products that high-profile users demand.
Claude Ostyn has been in the R&D trenches for more than 20 years and
has spent most of his career designing, developing and managing products
for the entertainment industry in general and for LED display technology
in particular. He will join the product management team to support the
development of new products.
Marina Prak who has over 35 years of experience in the entertainment
industry, of which nearly 20 years in marketing, joins ROE Visuals as
Marketing Manager and will be responsible for supporting and growing the
ROE Visual brand in Europe and the Middle East. A fully-fledged marketing
professional Prak is experienced in developing and implementing marketing
and sales strategies, customer support, PR, organising events, product
launches and off and online marketing.
Jason Lu, General Manager of ROE Visual, welcomes van Moorleghem,
Vermeulen, Ostyn with confidence: “Tony, Dries and Claude bring
knowledge and exuberance to their new roles, which demonstrates both
our leadership in the industry and commitment to serving the evolving
Roelof Bouwman, Managing Director of ROE Visual Europe adds:
“We’re really excited to be able to add Prak to our team. With her wealth of
marketing experience Prak will be able to execute and develop ambitious
plans to drive our brand.”
Richard Black has joined stage track and engineering specialist Triple
E in a newly created Technical Sales and Marketing role. Previously the
Projects Manager at Flint Hire and Supply, Black’s new job will utilise his 10
years’ experience in scenic construction and rigging with a focus on client
relationships, training and marketing Triple E’s expanding portfolio. David
Edelstein, Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to have Richard on
board. He’s familiar with our products and ambitions and fully equipped to
communicate the company’s product solutions.”
Further news comes from Visual Productions and DWR Distribution
as the companies announce a partnership. After meeting with DWR Sales
Director, Robert Izzett at the recent Prolight+Sound show, Zoë Castle
spotted the opportunity: “DWR is excellently structured to facilitate growing
the knowledge and sales of our solid-state controllers across the region.
DWR work within markets including Architectural, TV, Retail and Venues
where our products are a perfect fit!” Castle concluded that “we all at
Visual Productions are excited to be working with such an established
101 • +44 208 986 5002
Larry Italia joins d&b audiotechnik as Americas Territory Manager; Simon Jones, Audiologic.
and renowned company, safe in the knowledge that DWR’s commitment,
technical expertise and enthusiasm for the lighting controllers that we
make, will bring their market presence to a much deserved level.”
Larry Italia has joined d&b audiotechnik as the company’s Territory
Manager Americas and President and CEO of d&b audiotechnik USA. In his
latest post, Italia will be responsible for all d&b audiotechnik business in
North, Central and Soutwh America.
Stephan Greiner, d&b audiotechnik Chief Sales Officer, commented:
“I am very excited that we managed to win Larry for the d&b team. With
the perfect mix of industry experience and a great personality, Larry is
the addition we needed to lead our d&b network in the Americas to new
heights. We have been very successful in the Americas over the last twenty
years, but this hasn’t lowered our ambitions. We will continue to work with
our partners to strengthen our leading position in the Rental Markets, and
seize our great momentum in the Installation segments. Larry’s expertise
and experience will drive the business and inspire the team as we continue
to position d&b as the partner of choice for audio technology and solutions.”
Trussing and staging systems manufacturer Sixty82has appointed A.C.
Entertainment Technologies and Axente have been named as the new,
exclusive distributors for the UK and France respectively, whilst Pan-Pro of
Germany and Set2Stage of Portugal have been appointed as distribution
partners in their own countries.
“We chose A.C. Entertainment Technologies and Axente as the first in our
international network as they represent the strongest importing distributors
in their territories, with an historical strength in the trussing and staging
marketplace,” said Sixty82 CEO Fokko Smeding. “Similarly, Pan-Pro and
Set2Stage are both well-established companies with well-respected teams
and ideally placed for distribution partnership.”
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TRUCKINGBY Brian Yeardley
Yamaha Commercial Audio
The Senior Project Manager at Capital Sound is celebrating 25 years with the company.
Could you describe your early days
with Capital Sound?
I worked as a freelancer for the company
prior to officially joining in 1993. In those
days there were only 4 people working
full time. Even then we ran recognisable
brands including Martin Audio, Yamaha,
Crown amplifiers and Midas desks. So
productions and tour managers used to
approach us because they recognised the
What are some of favourite memories
from your time at Capital Sound?
Take That’s Circus shows were remarkable
and certainly stick in the mind, as do some
of the runs we did with Stereophonics and
Status Quo; who we still service today.
Those big stadium tours that we picked
up over the years really stood us in
good stead for other jobs such as British
Summer Time, BBC Proms and Radio 2
Live in Hyde Park.
How did you first get into professional audio?
It all started with my brother, who was always the musical
one in the family. I went to see some of my brothers friends
in Kent who were in a band when I was 18 for a weekend
that somehow turned into 6 months! During that time the
band bought themselves a PA to use for gigs. When they
weren’t using it, we used to advertise it in Melody Maker for
people to hire out for £50 a night - this was my introduction
into the hire industry.
What shows are you looking forward to this year?
Stereophonics’ upcoming Cardiff City Stadium show is
going to be great. Seeing them in their home country
really is a unique experience. Other highlights will be Roger
Waters with the surround sound system we are deploying.
Finally Sam Smith, who has already finished his fantastic
UK run, is set to play Madison Square Garden. It’s not just
the big shows though. We have some great smaller scale
performances such as Rochester Castle Concerts, which
we have been doing for 25 years.
What were some of your highlights for the early days
of your career?
While hiring our PA I was introduced to a company called
ESE (Eric Snowball Electronics). At the time they had
the Country and Motown market sewn up. I remember
working shows in the Royal Albert Hall with Marvin Gaye
and Barry White. This was long before the days of wireless
microphones but, even so, Barry used to walk out into
the crowd. There is footage of a BBC tech feeding the mic
cable out to him while still smoking his pipe - oh how times
have changed! Other highlights from back in the day
include some of the early quadraphonic shows with John
Martyn and not forgetting tours with AC/DC and 1985’s
Live Aid. Truly great memories.
What can TPi readers find you doing when you’re away
from your desk?
Well it’s not often enough, I can tell you that! But if any
readers need a workout and some fresh air, my wife and I
would welcome some help on our allotment in Kent where
I’m always out with the dogs.
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