UK - Organisers of the annual Leeds Castle Concert, worked tirelessly to reschedule this year’s event, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, following the easing of restrictions - staging it later than normal, on 4 September.
Leeds Castle is amongst the many long-standing clients that have relied upon RG Jones Sound Engineering for decades. In the case of this site, the company has been providing sound systems since the very first show way back in the early 80’s. It’s a tricky site to cover well, and for the highly popular concert fielded a classic system of its own - Martin Audio’s original MLA - to overcome the coverage challenges.
Although this historic Castle site in Kent is isolated, imposing no restrictions on sound levels, the contouring leaves much to be desired from an acoustician’s perspective, with a steep hill on which many of the crowds up to 10,000 congregate to watch the performance. “It measures around 210m from the stage to the top of the hill, and it was important to get enough up-angle on the PA,” reveals RG Jones’ MLA tech Sam Millen, while highly experienced classical music sound engineer Phil Wright, adds, “It’s almost like playing Red Rocks [amphitheatre].”
The sound company’s team had drawn on the optimisations created by Martin Audio’s Robin Dibble for the 2019 event, which featured Martin Audio’s WPL line array. “But due to having different PA towers this time we needed to make a few tweaks,” said Millen. He and fellow MLA tech Graham McGarrick also needed to time-align for the changin
UK - Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is the UK’s only Conservatoire of music and contemporary dance. With two separate faculties for dance and music in southeast London, the establishment today is the result of a 2005 merger between Trinity College of Music and Laban. When the decision was made to upgrade the sound system at the Conservatoire’s Faculty of Dance in London SE8, Trinity Laban turned to Autograph Sound who designed, implemented and commissioned an innovative multi-role sound system from EM Acoustics.
Autograph’s Business Development Lead Euan Mackenzie handled all the project specification and system design for this very focused application with some unusual requirements: “Performers in contemporary dance need to feel that they are part of their audience and experiencing the same auditory stimulus, so the system had to be completely immersive in the unusual sense that the sound field had to seamlessly cover not only the audience area but also the stage,” he explains. “We achieved that by careful placement and time-alignment of the various loudspeakers, so that the acoustic image appears to be behind the dancers, creating what is in effect a single performance space which is shared by the performers and the audience. However, the other part of the brief required that the space should also be able to be used for full musical theatre productions where natural, transparent vocal reproduction is as important as musicality - which led us to think that we’d need a couple of different configurations to achieve what the client
Lithuania - Audiotonas recently won a tender to renew the audio system at the 400-capacity Juozas Miltinis Theatre in Lithuania. Situated in Panevezys, the fifth largest city in the country, the Grand Hall has been upgraded with a Martin Audio Wavefront Precision (WPM) line array.
According to Audiotonas chief audio engineer (and system designer), Vytautas Stasiukaitis, an old-school point source PA system, more than 20 years old, was no longer fit for purpose. “The performance was not acceptable by today’s standards, and so the theatre wanted a high-tech sound system in which performance features could be optimised according to the architecture of the room,” he explains. “As the most cost-efficient system which met all the requirements of the Theatre Wavefront Precision was the way to go.”
It was the facility’s first experience with Martin Audio and the sound engineers of Miltinis Drama Theatre were certainly impressed. “This was particularly the case after we installed and tuned the system with DISPLAY software,” continues Stasiukaitis. “The intelligibility, consistency and frequency response were outstanding throughout the entire audience area. We set the back wall as a ‘Hard Avoid’ area because there was no acoustic treatment on the wall and that helped to maintain excellent audio performance with minimum reflections.”
The Grand Hall itself is single tier with raked seating. “We could see this as a perfect opportunity for a WPM installation,” he observes. “We provided 12 modules per side, which is why we did not nee
USA - When faced with shelter-in-place regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE, like many churches around the world, decided to shift from in-person gatherings on Sundays to recorded services so churchgoers could watch from home.
The initial offerings relied on existing audio and video equipment, which was more than 20 years old. The church’s streaming feed lacked detail, balance and consistent room ambiance, and the lack of intelligibility of the spoken word made it difficult for remote churchgoers to hear the service well.
To help solve this problem last fall, Tony Thurman, Westminster’s director of music, and members of the church’s property committee, initiated talks with Robert Bullington of Front Row Seat Productions, a local AV contractor, to come up with a new sound system. Together, the teams immediately tapped DPA Microphones for its technical expertise and array of headsets, mics and accessories.
Bullington worked with Gabriel Antonini, business development manager of DPA, to create a masterplan for upgrading the church’s microphones as part of a re-engineered audio system. The goal was to enable Westminster to livestream choral, organ and piano music at the highest quality, providing listeners with fully balanced stereo sound comparable to attending a live service or concert.
“To capture the shape of the space at Westminster, we deployed a wide array of solutions from DPA Microphones,” says Bullington. “Included among these is a pair of DPA 4006A Omnidi
Vietnam - Dotted throughout Vietnam, the government has built private theatres to host regional and national cultural performances for the country’s military. These 700-seat venues serve government officials and military leaders with regular programmes of choir performances that convey messages of patriotism and national pride by promoting the unique history and culture of the Vietnamese republic.
One such theatre in the capital of Hanoi recently received an upgrade to its sound system, installing the new K3 line source array, integrated by local L-Acoustics Certified Provider Distributor, ProAVL Vietnam.
ProAVL managing director Thang Le has been an L-Acoustics user for over a decade, turning to the manufacturer’s sound systems for their quality and flexibility for projects that spanned installations in civic venues and high-end residential markets, as well as for live events. “L-Acoustics has a long-standing history of innovation. Since our company was involved in a wide range of productions in highly visible public places, I needed to leave a strong impression on customers by introducing high quality, innovatively designed products from L-Acoustics to the local market,” says Le.
Early on, Le nurtured strong partnerships with the military, and ProAVL Vietnam has consistently provided the best solutions in sound for a range of military theatres and productions over the years. “When the director of the Hanoi military theatre expressed his wish to enhance and replace the sound system previously installed, which had begun to degrade in quali
USA - When The Muny, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre, was given the green light to commence its 103rd season, Masque Sound once again returned to the historic venue with a custom audio equipment package. Working directly with sound designers John Shivers and David Patridge, Masque Sound helped the team reboot its outdoor season after presenting an online season in 2020 due to COVID-19.
With the support of the City of St. Louis Health Department, The Muny’s 2021 season operated at full capacity, including the 1,500 free seats available for each performance on a first-come, first-served basis. The five-show season began with Smokey Joe’s Café and was followed by The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, On Your Feet!, and Chicago.
“Masque Sound graciously added equipment that we asked for from previous seasons and we were able to update the system in a number of ways,” says Patridge. “We continued our advancement of using audio over IP to improve upon the extensive upgrades that were made at The Muny in 2019. We upgraded the wireless radio system by moving to the Sennheiser EM3732-II high-end receiver with up to 184 MHz switching bandwidth. That was a nice sonic upgrade and from a software perspective, the EM3732-II’s are so much nimbler.”
The duo also employed software monitoring tools from Wavetool for the first time at The Muny this season. “Most of our workflow was now Dante, so we used the Wavetool software to monitor our digital signal path,” adds Patridge.
USA - In early August, the San Diego Symphony celebrated the grand opening of its new outdoor performance space, The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, after a 13-month delay due to Covid. The centre sits on the edge of the bay in Downtown San Diego, serving as a gathering ground for live performances and public city events. Solotech specified and installed all AV equipment, including a Clear-Com Eclipse HX Digital Matrix system with integrated FreeSpeak II Digital Wireless Intercom, HelixNet Digital Network Partyline and LQ Series of IP Interfaces.
In previous years, the symphony had been hosting outdoor performances, from June through September, weather-permitting, in a temporary manner with a portable stage and AV equipment they would bring to the site with each performance. The goal for this new venue was to create a facility designed specifically for elevated outdoor performances where the San Diego Symphony, as well as other leading touring acts, could perform outdoors year-round. To achieve this, the San Diego Symphony turned to Solotech and Salter acoustics and AV consultants.
“I have been a long-time user of Clear-Com in my background with Cirque, so I understand what is required of a communications system in complex production environments and the value that Eclipse HX can bring to a production in terms of flexibility,” commented Aaron Beck, business development manager & sr. engineer for Solotech.
“At first, there was only a plan for a HelixNet system with 4-channel partyline and a handful of wireless beltpacks, but we quickly recomm
USA - The up-and-coming Miami neighbourhood of Brickell is not only recognised as the financial district of the city, but it is rapidly developing into a much sought-after residential area. And with that comes a demand for bars and restaurants.
8Street Brickell is a boutique bar owned and operated by Mark Meram with a capacity to host VIP parties and DJ sets whilst also offering an intimate hangout for locals, as well as international and national tourists visiting the city.
Mark’s vision was to create a sophisticated modern twist on a classic Speakeasy style, with the interior of this venue creating an homage to the style and design ethos of the 1920s. Including wood and button tuft upholstery and a soaring and undulating ceiling enhanced with LED lighting.
8Street Brickell was designed by Callin Fortis and his team at Bigtime Design Studios as part of a new condo complex. “From the offset, we knew this venue was going to be something special,” explains Fortis. “Equally it was going to demand a high-level audio installation which would complement, not detract, from the overall look and feel of the bar. In particular because of the complex LED-mapped ceiling grid we were designing as a focal point of the bar’s architecture. It was a natural fit for us to work with high-end integrator Paul van Puffelen and his team at Southern Technical Support in order to help us realise Mark’s distinct vision of a modern-day speakeasy.”
Mark was clear on what he wanted in terms of the audio specification. “We were looking for a versatile au
UK - The recruitment network for creatives and freelancers Curtain Call has re-launched an improved membership platform to help link up freelancers with employers - and PLASA members benefit from reduced subscription fees.
The network, which is free to join by freelancers, has a search and match algorithm that makes it easy for employers to find skilled available freelance technicians and creatives for project-based or long-term positions.
Businesses looking to recruit need to subscribe to search the database, with PLASA members able to get 15% off for 12 months by signing up through the Pioneers programme. For every PLASA member company that signs up, Curtain Call will donate £15 to #WeMakeEvents, and for every month of membership, the network will plant a tree. Early adopters include the Ambassador Theatre Group, Donmar Warehouse, Sonia Friedman Productions and White Light.
Peter Heath, managing director of PLASA, comments: “Curtain Call is a fantastic platform which brings employers together with skilled workers while also creating accessible pathways for newcomers into our industry. We couldn’t be more pleased to bring this service to our members, particularly after the prolonged period of industry closure and loss of personnel to other sectors. This partnership will certainly help to connect up and regenerate our sector’s workforce.”
Matt Humphrey, founder of Curtain Call, adds: “We are thrilled to partner with PLASA and lau
Italy - Staged in the elegant courtyard of the Palazzo Farnese in Piacenza, the flagship performance of this year’s Notte d’Opera a Palazzo was a stirring representation of Puccini’s Tosca. The natural acoustics of the 16th century architecture were lifted powerfully yet naturally through TiMax spatial audio processing.
Complementing TiMax’s sympathetic spatial amplification and to ensure complete audience immersion, impressive virtual scenography was video-mapped onto the imposing façade of the building.
Federico Bianchi, designed the multichannel d&b sound system, drove the TiMax SoundHub processor and mixed the show on a DiGiCo console. With social-distancing maximised to ensure a Covid-safe environment for performers, musicians and the audience, positioning of the distributed loudspeaker system was inevitably challenged by an unconventional stage set up. This led to comparatively irregular speaker positions which TiMax nevertheless stitched together into a seamless, object-based, immersive soundfield.
Whilst Bianchi concedes that covering the wide audience area was the biggest difficulty, the on-stage spacing was also challenging to the sound design. A 55-piece orchestra was positioned in front of the opera performers on the main stage, whilst a large choir was positioned to the side.
Bianchi said, “The non-traditional, wide spacing of the three musical sources forced me to find solutions to keep each element blended and in perfect timing each other. It would have been impossible without TiMax to guarantee localisati
UK - Following three years of project management and two years of site attendance, Unusual Rigging is delighted to unveil its role on the multi-million-pound refurbishment of Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The beautiful Grade 1 listed Georgian venue has been reimagined as an all-day stylish destination with one of London’s greatest auditoriums at its heart. Unusual Rigging was brought on board by LW Theatres and contracted for the ‘Behind the Iron’ works.
Mike Goodwin, senior project manager at Unusual Rigging explains: “This was a major project for Unusual, which we knew from the outset would require the considerable focus of a dedicated team: from design concepts through approvals with the LW Theatres Project Design Team, decanting 42ndStreet; transitioning The Lane from venue to construction site, co-ordination with the Principal Contractors (Gardner & Theobalds Ltd) and the diverse sub-contractors under their auspices during the construction period, all the way through to handover, then straight into the Frozen production installation; an unrelenting workload spanning three years for some of the URL team.”
With the design process ongoing, and in conjunction with Dorothea Restorations and David Willmore of Theatre Research we commenced site works with the removal of the historic stage machinery, a project with national significance. The theatre is listed by Historic England as grade I, with the stage machinery being a key part of that listing, and as such the project had to carefully planned and executed in a manner that satisfied all concern
USA - When the time came for Colorado’s St Andrew United Methodist Church to evaluate the effectiveness of its installed sound system, it encountered a problem that will be familiar to houses of worship all over the world.
While the style of worship practised at the church had changed over the years to fully embrace musical celebration including live performances and playback, the aging sound system was no longer fit for purpose, having been originally designed for more traditional spoken word sermons. Determined to transform not just the sound quality but the overall experience of the congregation, the church’s leadership began the search for a solution.
The new system needed to deliver audio quality and flexibility without requiring any major construction changes to the church itself - a challenge that was given to regional systems integrator Equalized Productions where manager and project engineer Chris Malmgren opted for TW AUDiO ELLA.
“The church’s goal was to bring their ageing system forward to meet modern worship standards as well as improve on the quality of all aspects of worship production,” explains Mick Whelan of TW AUDiO USA. “Meanwhile, the architectural design of St Andrew UMC is inspirational, and it was essential that nothing in the sanctuary distract from the impact of that visual experience. A custom acoustical cloud is suspended above the altar and the audio system must blend with this structure as effortlessly as possible, evolving, not standing away from it. Colour matching was essential.”
Working closely w
France - Audio developer and manufacturer Amadeus has installed an immersive sound system for Le Préau, the National Drama Centre in Normandy-Vire. The newly-designed solution utilises a three-speaker ‘antenna’ system, controlled by the company’s Holophonix spatial sound processor, and offers much higher accuracy of sound localization for the audience in the theatre environment.
Le Préau has a mission of artistic creation, dissemination of these creations in regional and national territories, and artist-in-residence programsme. The Centre has been directed by Lucie Berelowitsch since 1 January 2019.
In France, National Drama Centers (NDCs) are emblematic institutions of the dramatic decentralization policy pursued by the State for 70 years - the first five centres were created between 1946 and 1952.
“Le Préau is a place of creation and sharing, with a strong artistic permanence, to ensure a contemporary creation articulated around awareness and transmission, capable of covering its territory and opening up to the national level and ultimately to the European and international levels,” says Lucie Berelowitsch.
The Main Hall at Le Préau has a capacity of 590 seats, installed over a 22m depth and 18m width.
The electro-acoustic sound reinforcement system designed for the National Drama Centre of Normandy-Vire by Amadeus - in accordance with technical director Alexandre de Monte and director Lucie Berelowitsch – offers high accuracy of sound localisation for the audience as well as high audiovisual correlation.
Czech Republic - AudioMaster CZ recently upgraded the historic Reduta Theatre in Brno with a Soundcraft Vi2000 digital mixing console to complement the existing Vi3000 mixing system.
Originally constructed during the Renaissance, the Reduta Theatre is the oldest theatre building in Central Europe and has continuously hosted concerts and productions since 1620. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Béla Bartók and Thomas Adès are just a few names in the rich history of concerts that have been performed in the Reduta Theatre.
In addition to dramatic performances and concerts ranging from jazz and classical to modern pop and rock, the Reduta Theatre hosts a wide range of events, such as TEDx conferences, Opera Europa conventions and corporate events.
In 2016, the Reduta Theatre found itself in need of a new front-of-house console literally overnight when their previous analogue console caught on fire in the middle of a show. In order to replace the console in time for the next performance, director of stage operations Jan Vrbka and the theatre’s two audio engineers - Jirka Pochvalovsky and Standa Mitana - tested a Soundcraft Vi3000 digital mixing system against two consoles from other brands. The engineers ultimately selected the Soundcraft Vi3000 console for its user-friendly mixing interface and manoeuvrability.
“The main purpose was to create a good working environment for staff and guest sound engineers working in our building,” related Vrbka. “On the day that the Vi3000 was installed, our engineer Standa Mitana was able to mix that evening
USA - When Michael Garrison Associates (MGA) was contracted to upgrade the existing loudspeaker system for Abundant Church’s 3,600-seat main auditorium at its East Campus (AC-East) in El Paso, Texas, president/owner Michael Garrison and his team turned to Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW) and its ADAPTive PA system.
MGA and Abundant Church have a long working history, as they partnered together back in 2004-07 to design and install the original loudspeaker system for the then new AC-East facility. Ten years later, MGA was on the team to develop plans for a new “satellite” campus on the west side of El Paso, featuring an 1,800-seat main auditorium. The Abundant Church leadership wanted to “raise the bar” for this project, so MGA presented an option to employ EAW’s ADAPTive technology in a true “left, center, right” system, where each of the three arrays individually cover the entire fan-shaped seating area.
“The ability of ADAPTive to be hung straight to smoothly cover wide seating areas, plus its stellar sonic performance made it a no brainer for the church to choose this product,” says Garrison. The final design for the West Campus (AC-West) consisted of 26 Anna main modules and eight Otto subwoofers; it was commissioned in May 2017.
“I am impressed with this system’s imagery and coverage throughout the room – it’s beyond anything I’ve heard in a live setting,” says John Buntyn, Abundant Church’s audio director. “The system’s ability to respond to minute adjustments makes it a joy to mix on. I appreciate that the m
The Netherlands - The newest addition to the Dutch based Jules Boules Bites Bar chain of drinking, dining and jeu de boules experience venues has opened in the city of Rotterdam. Its exclusively Amate Audio sound installation prominently features the company’s latest G7 loudspeaker.
This, the fifth branch of the themed restaurant chain, encompasses a 12-lane indoor jeu de boules ‘parcours’, together with extensive bar and restaurant facilities. Audio for the entire bar and restaurant area is provided by an installation of 12 ultra-compact G7 loudspeaker cabinets and a pair of N12WP subs - the titanium colour scheme of the G7 cabinets matching the exposed metal work in the ceiling.
A separate installation for the jeu de boules parcours comprises 12 Amate Audio Nítid series S6P 2-way, high power handling birch ply cabinets, together with a pair of N18WP subs.
Power for both installation zones is provided from a rack of seven Amate Audio HD series high efficiency amplifiers, totalling almost 13,000W RMS power. System control is managed with two LMS608 loudspeaker management processors.
Specifications include four analogue and dual channel AES/EBU inputs, and eight analogue XLR outputs, a 64-bit DSP architecture, and a continuous ‘around the clock’ operating capability.
Rotterdam based Imagination AV’s technical sales manager Jason Lupgens states: “In keeping with the ‘high-end’ interior design, we needed to visually blend the loudspeakers, in so far as possible, with the decor. In a meeting with the owner, Peter van Leeu
USA - The Landon Arena at Stormont Vail Events Centre has been the place to see basketball and hockey games in Topeka since it was constructed in the 1980s. The 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena also hosts large events and live music. Avant Acoustics chose Fulcrum Acoustic loudspeakers to upgrade the sound system during the latest renovation.
Avant Acoustics specified Fulcrum’s FH15 Full-Range Coaxial Horn for its broadband pattern control to avoid interferences caused by the room reflections. “We considered a system of distributed line arrays, but that would have been cost prohibitive, as would adding acoustical treatment,” says designer John Hodgson. “We knew that Fulcrum’s FH series would provide the level of audio quality and clarity that was required even in the absence of additional acoustical treatment for the room. We listened to a demo of the new FH loudspeakers and knew they were the best point source option for the project.”
The new video board installation prevented the loudspeakers from being placed in the centre for aesthetic and weight reasons. To work around this, Avant Acoustic designed the FH15s in six separate arrays of three around the arena to cover the stands and to fire back at the arena floor. “Often when we design point source arrays, we struggle to get them in an acoustically appropriate arrangement due to interference,” says Hodgson. “The FH arrays very well due to its pattern control and coaxial design. The intelligibility of the new system is great for such a reverberant space.”
Hodgson chose Fulcrum’s
Poland - Streamed performances have become a routine way of taking the performing arts to audiences on a scale that nobody could have anticipated just 18 months ago. After difficulties with the technical sound production of Opera Wrocławska’s first streamed production, a Yamaha Rivage PM7 digital mixing system has changed everything for its audio department.
Streaming has offered a vital lifeline for the arts during the pandemic, but there has been the question of whether larger scale productions like orchestral concerts and major theatrical shows can stream their performances with the necessary artistic effect? An essential part of achieving this is, of course, how the production sounds.
In 2020, Poland’s Opera Wrocławska embraced live streaming, but it was presented with two key problems: Firstly, of 300 staff, the venue’s sound department comprised just three people - Grzegorz Bieńko, Sebastian Jarus and Jakub Krzysiek - who had no experience of streaming productions. Secondly, the mixing capacity was three Yamaha DM2000 mixing consoles, which were not ideal for adapting to streamed shows.
“The DM2000 is still a great audio consoles for theatrical use but, due to its age and facilities, it was difficult for us to deliver the best quality for a live stream,” says Grzegorz.
Undaunted, when tasked with directing the sound for Opera Wrocławska’s first streamed live concert - an orchestral version of Stanisław Moniuszko's opera Straszny dwór (The Haunted Manor) - Grzegorz, Sebastian and Jakub rose to the challen
Sweden - Improving the sound for the congregation in an ancient church can be a difficult task. But Yamaha’s VXL series slim line array speakers make it much easier, as demonstrated in the medieval church at Säve, near Gothenburg.
“The church’s audio system was at least 20 years old. It was outdated, with a non-standard mixer and speakers/amplifier designed for home use. So it could not possibly deliver sound of acceptable quality,” says Sten E. Ranwald of Gothenburg-based Ljud & Säkerhet.
Sten was asked to improve the 13th century church’s sound but, because of its historic structure and decor, it needed to be done very sensitively. “We could not interfere with the structure of the church or place any equipment that would have a visual impact,” he says.
“After the old system was removed and while the church’s electrical system was being upgraded, the staff were able to rent a Yamaha STAGEPAS 1K all-in-one, portable PA. This system alone almost filled the church with clear, seamless sound and it helped a lot in their choice of manufacturer for a new, permanent solution.”
The Yamaha system which Sten specified and installed comprises two VXL1W-24 slim line array speakers and a DXS12mkII 12” powered subwoofer for the main congregation sound, plus a UniVox induction loop amplifier for the hearing impaired. Two Yamaha VXL1W-8 slim line array speakers were installed as monitors for the clergy and church musicians, with an MSP5 powered studio monitor to relay the sound of the church bell to the clergy and congregation.
Denmark - Situated about 25km north of Copenhagen, Hørsholm is a community with diverse tastes in the performing arts and entertainment, and as such the small city’s principal venue, Kulturhus Trommen, hosts artists that span a broad spectrum of genres. To cater for anything from rock and folk to stand-up comedy, the venue recently invested in a new reinforcement system based on Meyer Sound LINA line array loudspeakers.
When the decision was made to replace the aging prior system, chief technician Thomas Love undertook a thorough evaluation of possible replacements from four other manufacturers before selecting the LINA line arrays. After a long delay imposed by the pandemic, the system finally was put to a grueling test during the reopening series.
“We had a full month of concerts with shows every day,” says Love. “We had everything from acoustic guitar and solo vocals, a Phil Collins musical, a flamenco concert, a power rock trio, and a stand-up comedian. The system lived up to my high expectations, with crystal clarity at all frequencies and colossal headroom. All details are reproduced accurately, in contrast to the old system which often hid errors and resulted in sloppy mixes.”
In addition to the dual arrays of nine-each LINA line array loudspeakers, the new system includes five of the new ULTRA‑X20 loudspeakers for fill systems and, for low-frequency extension, four 750‑LFC and six 900‑LFC low-frequency control elements. The system was designed by Anders Jørgensen of Stouenborg ApS in consultation with Theis Romme of Meyer S
USA - Founded by a group of families committed to doing church differently, Auburn Community Church (ACC) in Alabama is a non-denominational worship centre that hosts both in-person and live-stream services for a diverse congregation. The church recently upgraded to a larger camera system and needed an intercom that could provide a reliable channel of communication between camera operators and the video director. With this newfound requirement, ACC turned to Pliant Technologies’ CrewCom digital wireless intercom system, as well as its SmartBoom headsets.
Although the system was originally purchased with the camera operators and the video director in mind, the church found many additional uses for CrewCom’s communication capabilities. With CrewCom, the church’s producer can communicate with the entire production team, ensuring seamless transitions within the program and keeping everyone on the same page. They also deploy CrewCom to communicate to the band via in-ear monitors, as well as with audio engineers mixing for online content.
As the first intercom system to be installed at the Auburn Community Church, it was crucial for the production team to acquire a simple-to-operate solution. “Install and setup is extremely easy with Pliant’s CrewCom system,” says Drew Middlebrooks, production director at Auburn Community Church. “We regularly take CrewCom out on the road for off-site events and we can quickly set it up even in very populated areas, and it provides amazing results. We also love how physically robust the gear is and find the ease
UK - Describing himself as a jack-of-all-trades musician, Jesse Quin plays down his talent as bassist in the band Keane. For the last seven years he’s also run Old Jet, his own recording studio in Suffolk and recently got himself an iD44, calling his new Audient audio interface “a lifesaver”.
He explains: “The iD44 was the solution I was looking for to be able to incorporate people’s laptops into my setup. So I have it on my patch bay and can use fancy outboard EQs and effects, but also just plug a mic straight into the back of it if I want to. It’s like I’d written a list of what I needed it to do, and then Audient made it. Absolutely perfect.”
The most powerful of all of Audient’s audio interfaces, iD44 is 20in / 24out, offering ultimate flexibility in the studio and plenty of options for expansion. The two JFET instrument inputs are ideal for Jesse to record his bass guitar directly. “I love that it’s tactile and there’s no menu diving or using the same encoder for different jobs. The thing you want to adjust is right there. Obviously it sounds really good too.”
Never far from a musical instrument (modular synths are a current favourite) more recently he’s been working on a Mt. Desolation record, as well as finishing one of his own. “I’m also getting into film scoring at the moment; another thing that the iD44 has been useful for. I can jump between working on ideas on my laptop and the studio main computer really easily.”
His recording studio is located in Old Jet Arts Centre in Suffolk which he set up him
UK - Part of University College London (UCL), The Bloomsbury Theatre works with students and researchers to ‘bring ground-breaking discoveries to the stage’. In 2018, 50 years after its first performance, the landmark Brutalist building reopened its doors following a major renovation project to update its main auditorium which now boasts more than 500 luxurious seats.
The final part of the renovation was the installation and commissioning of a significant EM Acoustics HALO-C PA system by theatre specialists, Autograph Sound.
Autograph’s Adam Broom explains: “There’s a bit of a back story here given that we in fact supplied the system before the renovation. As it made no sense to replace a system that had only just been replaced, it went into storage. Julian Brooks was appointed technical manager of The Bloomsbury in 2019 and he soon realised that the system needed some expertise to realise its full potential.”
“The HALO-C system was specified originally for live music and stand-up but the diversity of our programme means we really needed a bit more flexibility,” says Brooks. “Also, post-refurb the room was acoustically different and so I called upon Adam for assistance, to improve the capabilities and tuning of our system to handle musical theatre, commercial productions, student shows (as part of the theatre’s connection with UCL) and pretty much anything else we might be asked to do.”
“It was the perfect opportunity to look at the system design again with fresh eyes based on the programme of events the venue caters fo
USA - When Orlando’s Discovery Church set out to build a new main broadcast campus, the overriding goal was to create a space that was comfortable and inspiring for in-person worship but also technically optimized for streaming of Sunday services and other special events.
Audio was a critical component in achieving the technical goals, and a keystone element of the solution is a reinforcement system based around Meyer Sound Leopard line array loudspeakers.
“We were looking for a major step up from the aging point source system at our old broadcast campus,” says Zack Howes, technical director at the new Sand Lake campus. “We wanted a system with higher output and greater intelligibility, and also rider-friendly. We wanted to up our own game at weekend services but also be ready for high-profile special events.”
Long before “groundbreaking” on the new campus (actually a total renovation of a former sporting goods store), the church tech team linked up with Orlando-based Pro Sound to evaluate possible solutions. As part of the process, a temporary Leopard system was installed at the old campus for A Night of Worship.
“This is an event we have twice a year where we really open it up and pull out the stops beyond regular Sunday services,” says Howes. “The result that night was awesome. Leopard blew away what we already had in that space.”
The new custom-tailored system, designed by Pro Sound lead engineer Craig Compton, is anchored by main arrays of eight-each Leopard line array loudspeakers plus eight UPM‑1XP l