JPS Australia

History

Bryan Ferry

Brian Ferry 2

Bryan Ferry has a reputation as a very artistic performer who cares deeply about his music, constantly changing arrangements and songs.

With an outstanding ear for the songs’ musical arrangements, both Bryan’s FOH and monitor mix require constant, active mixing throughout each song at a very detailed level.

Davide

FOH engineer Davide Lombardi has worked with other iconic British singers such as Kate Bush, Ed Sheeran, Gary Barlow, Tom Jones and when the tour finishes, he hits the road with Dido who after 15 years has finally released another album.

This tour has been going for a while but then again, Bryan never really stops,” remarked Davide. “He goes out every year but never for a long time, a maximum of four weeks at one time

The tours utilized an L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA system with SB28s subs and a front face of ARCs and 108s, all controlled by Lake and LA network. At the ICC in Sydney the set up was 12 K1s and four K2s on the main hangs with side hangs of 12 K2s, four subs flown, four ARCs per side as outfills, two ARCs per side as infill and 218s as front fills.

The venue here is very steep so we’ve had to fly quite high in order to cover the very top seats,” said Davide. “We spend a lot of time tuning, making sure that there is a good balance between delays and gain structure in order to get the image back to where Bryan is. Also, Bryan is not a powerful singer so the more coverage there is, the better it is to control his vocal.

Out front Davide was mixing on a DiGiCo SD10 saying the way he mixes is pretty simple with little in the way of routing. He doesn’t use plugins and the only external effect he had was a Bricasti M7 reverb, which he loves, and a tc electronic D2 delay unit especially used for the saxophone to recreate an 80s sound. An SPX 2000 is used for effect in just one moment of one song.

It’s really very simple,” added Davide. “Everything is routed into groups going to the matrix and then out of the matrix into the Lake and then out into the LA Network. I get a lot of precision from stage which is why it is simple. Before making changes on the console, we work a lot with the band adjusting levels with them when we can so we don’t change the sound too much. I try to leave it as natural and organic as possible.

Davide’s biggest challenge is getting Bryan’s vocal above everything else as he is a gentle singer and talker, and can sometimes mumble!

As well as Bryan, there are eight people onstage and with his music being very busy, there is not much space left for his vocal to cut through. However Davide says that is something Bryan seeks as he wants to express himself with his music rather than his voice. The result is a lot going on for Davide with a ‘proper’ live mix.

There are constant changes and we can’t rest for one second,” he said. “There are layers and layers happening all the time.” Bryan uses an Audio Technica 6100 microphone, a dynamic mic that has condenser characteristics according to monitor engineer Tom Howat.

It’s an interesting mic although you could potentially get a lot of spill in it so a lot of what we do is containment,” Tom commented. “It’s a good choice though because it’s not a condenser mic but you still get a quality output from it and Bryan really like it.

Modeling amps are used for the guitars so there are no guitar amps onstage to help keep spill under control with Davide saying it sounds better.

Sax mics are from SD Systems, again they are dynamic but have tripod prongs that clip onto the bell of the horn.

TomThey give you a very nice rich sax tone,” said Tom. “We have DPA’s for the violin and the rest is pretty standard although the Shure SM57 on the washboard is a highlight of the show.

Tom mixed monitors on an Allen and Heath dLive, his console of choice but fessed up to having a history with it as he was part of the development team!

It’s a great sounding console, is very powerful and is good for IEMs,” he added. “We did some orchestra shows last year and I completely maxed it out, used the modularity of the system to expand with it which is all very cool.
Everyone was on IEMS Sennheiser 2050s, with Tom having has 16 transmitters and only the drums were hard wired.

Mixing monitors for Bryan is a very parallel equation to Davide – precision, accuracy, coping with what he’s hearing and wanting to hear,” said Tom. “And also like the FOH mix, you’re riding every solo and readjusting all the time. The band basically get my attention during the soundcheck and I’m pretty much pinned on Bryan through the show. It’s mix, mix, mix and without snapshots I’d be lost on this one. The musicians play different instruments so there’s a fair bit of rotation there. Arrangements are everything with Bryan and I have to mix monitors as if I’m mixing out front, you can’t leave it alone for a minute. With the vocal you’re riding that fader up and down, pulling it back every time he’s not singing – so the finger grips that fader all the time.

Tom reveals that he has to watch Bryan closely taking cues from whatever he is looking at, maybe something has to go up or down depending upon the look on his face. Reading his body language is a key part of Tom’s job.

Davide discovered that the ICC room had specific places that sounded quite different and he was interested to see how it changed once the audience were in the house.

The corridor by the FOH has a cancellation about the low end at 40 – 50 Hz so we’ve been measuring that with Smaart,” he said. “You can see when you move the microphone you see a big scoop coming on 50Hz. We’ve tried to fix it but you can’t, it’s a natural thing but hopefully it will be better when the audience are in.

I always make sure that the mix is not exactly perfect at the FOH, walk around the venue a lot during soundcheck to make sure I find a good balance between everywhere. That takes a long time but it’s worth it.

 

The music comes at them at such a complicated level it pays off to keep the technical elements as simple as possible whilst using the power of technology to simplify the process.

Smaart, snapshots ….. all great examples of using technology to enable us to do what we need to do mix wise because that’s where it is all at for Bryan,” added Tom. “It may sound like it’s straightforward but it’s not, you bury the technology so the actual hands-on bit really counts. Its old school but using high tech.

JPJ Audio supplied the gear and crew with Davide and Tom commenting on how well they work together as a team.

This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine April 2019. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search their archive www.cxnetwork.com.au

 

Maroon 5

Maroon 5 2

Photo: Vince Casamatta and system engineer Mathew McQuaid

Vince Casamatta learnt his trade mixing bands in small, Chicago dives eventually expanding to going on the road. At the same time he had his own studio and truthfully, he always wanted to be a studio mixer.

But this is just what ended up working out!” he said. “I still occasionally mix an EP or album but mainly for indie artists.

On the Maroon 5’s Red Pill Blues tour, Vince is the new guy although he has been with them for nearly a year.

This is one of those camps where people have been around for a really long time,” he added. “I think a lot of people have many opinions on what Maroon 5 should sound like so initially it was challenging to navigate my way through that, but these guys were all very good at giving me space to do my own thing. Although Maroon 5 write a lot of pop-leaning songs, they are very much a rock band and want to be treated as such live.

Maroon 5 7Vince was clearly enjoying mixing for a real rock band that can all play together without any backing tracks, saying these sort of acts were becoming less and less.

It’s very much a rock mix that I want out of the gates to grab you and be surrounded in,” he elaborated. “I don’t want it to be a wall of sound that just hits you for an hour and a half. I don’t think anybody enjoys that. I try to find places to work with the dynamics of the musical arrangements and sometimes accentuate them so you can hit hard for a bit and then pull back. These guys are really aware of those things anyway with their set list choices and live arrangements, I’m just trying to present that the best way I can.

As a fan of DiGiCo consoles, Vince opted for an SD5 favouring its’ work flow and complexity. As well as some outboard gear, he had a Waves SoundGrid server running up on the SD5, with anything that needs to be automated going on the server and anything that is static for the entire show in his outboard rack. The Waves plugins mainly group compression and parallel compression which gave the mix flavor and texture as the DiGiCo is such a neutral surface to begin with, according to Vince.

The API 2500 is a great compressor and the SSL Quad compressor is always good to add parallel compression to drum busses,” added Vince. “I really like the API 560 EQ plugin on the kick and snare buss; as it’s a live drummer his dynamic changes throughout the set, and the API 560 allows me to re-tailor how the drums are sitting in the mix on the fly.

On the road, you don’t know what kind of support you’re going to have so I like to keep things as simple as possible so if things go wrong, you can troubleshoot them easily,” he said.

Maroon 5 6Outboard gear included a Bricasti M7 for Adam’s main effect reverb with Vince using Midi triggers from the snapshots to change patches in the Bricasti. A Tube-Tech CL 2A is used for a compressor on Adam’s vocal and spare vocal, whilst a Neve 5045 primary source enhancer saves Vince a few headaches as most of the show designs feature Adam in front of the PA for nearly the entire set. However in Australia the set was scaled back with a design that kept Adam behind the PA!

He’s always in a different place with respect to the PA, L-Acoustics being so tonally linear as you walk through it is helpful but the Neve 5045 is super helpful,” explained Vince.

Maroon 5 5PA was an L-Acoustics K1/K2, K1 main and sides with K2 below with the sub configuration often changing depending on the venue.

We are flying K1 for main and side hangs with K2 below, so that we keep the coverage consistent close to the stage,” explained Vince. “Rear hangs are almost always K2 only. K1SB are always flown directly behind the main K1 hang for added low extension and punch. We also use a cardioid sub arc on the floor. All powered by LA12x wherever possible. One of our main concern in design is how to keep low end off the deck so the band aren’t rattling around up there. Mathew McQuaid is responsible for overseeing the entire design process and has done a great job of maximizing FOH coverage while nulling the low end on the deck.

Systems engineer Mathew McQuaid used Soundvision, L-Acoustics’ proprietary acoustic prediction software, and Rational Acoustics Smaart 8 to align the system each night.

There are a lot of good PAs on the market and you can have a great show with many of them,” said Vince. “This is the most vocal forward mix I have ever had and the L-Acoustics has made me feel like I’m not fighting myself as far as where the vocal sits in the mix. I want a really cool, rock-sounding mix but I don’t want to sacrifice the fact the vocals have to be over top, in fact the vocal presence has been pretty easy to dial in.

The band are Shure endorsees with lead singer Adam Levine using the Shure Axient system and singing into a black SM58, a no frills approach that Vince admires and although Adam beats the mic and tosses it into the crowd every show, it always holds up.

It’s the right approach to pick a microphone that is tried and true, meat and potatoes, nothing fancy as he basically uses it for everything but a hammer,” laughed Vince. “With this show, I have been less concerned with microphones than with other acts and I don’t really know why that is. I have the new D12 kick mic, a dynamic microphone that, when supplied with phantom power has a few different EQ curves. I have a 57 on snare top which sounds great, all no frills. If you have a good band with good tones and a great mixing console, a lot of it is just getting out of the way and letting it happen.

The band changed a lot of the guitars to Fractals from Royer Ribbon mics, which Vince says sound way better and sit in the mix well taking up less headroom. With seven people on stage headroom becomes a real challenge quickly.

Monitor engineer Bill Chrysler mixed on an Avid VENUE S6L-32D with the latest version of Waves SoundGrid. Most of the plugins he used were in the console, with the exception of Adam Levine’s vocal reverb, which is a Waves TrueVerb.

Everyone has both IEMs and wedges, except the bass player who has no IEMs and Adam who only has IEMs.

The wedges help to retain a bit of vibe onstage as stages become quieter and more isolated, it’s a way for the band to feel connected,” commented Vince.

JPJ Audio supplied the tour.

Maroon 5 4

This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine April 2019. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search their archive www.cxnetwork.com.au

Cher – Here We Go Again Tour

Cher 2018

The Here We Go Again Tour is the seventh solo concert tour by Cher in support of her twenty-sixth studio album Dancing Queen. The Australasian tour was a brand new production and as Cher shares the same management as Pink, some of Pink’s crew stayed on for the tour.

JPJ Audio supplied an audio package and crew for the tour including an L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA system.

I do like the L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA and although there are many good PAs on the market, I believe it to be the best sounding,” commented Cher’s audio engineer Tony Blanc. “The setup on this tour is pretty generic from the board out, it’s exactly as L-Acoustics recommends; the cable lengths, the hangs and the combination of the K1s, K2s and the KS28 subs. It’s configured off LA Manager and I’m fortunate to have Johnny Keirle with me and he is probably the best system tech in the business. He knows how to tweak the PA. He sets the PA everyday depending on the parameters of the room, the sizes, the elevation of the seats and the throw. I am in the driving seat and it feels like a Ferrari.

Tony reports that the K1/K2 combination allows him to precisely ensure that all the seats have the same energy. Quantities of PA varied a little at each venue depending upon the ceiling height and how far round the seats had been sold. However, the specified system had 24 x K1, 36 x K2, 24 x KS28 and 9 x Kara.

For FOH control Tony ran a DiGiCo SD7 console which he said is worth twice as much as his original house!

It’s an amazing console,” he said. “Before I started with Cher, I had three or four years on budget tours and I got quite used to Waves as a source. I had it with this console but after a day, I turned it off as it just changed the way the console felt. The only auxiliary gear I have are six channels of Summit DCL200 compressors to warm things up and a Lake EQ inserted on Cher’s vocal subgroup. I also have a couple of Bricasti M7 reverbs.

With a fifty year career, a Cher show covers many different genres of music including ballads, sixties pop, rock and disco, all of which keeps Tony on his toes.

Monitors were run by Martin Pare also on a DiGiCo SD7 console with a TC Electronic M6000 MKII system. All of the band, and Cher herself, wore Shure PSM 1000 IEM systems with L-Acoustic ARC sidefills to give the dancers some audio to dance to.

Cher’s customized, handheld microphones were Sennheiser SKM5200s. Guitars and keyboards are all direct outputs. The kick drum had a syn901, plus the Audix D5, the snare an e905, toms e904 and cymbals ATM450s.

Tony made special mention of the two JPJ crew out on tour with him – Kellie McKee and Joel ‘Cellphone’ Pearson – praising their work effort.
Cher 2018

Stage is covered by Hilario Gonzalez, a Solotech audio crew chief tech who works on the Vegas show, and his main concern being prepping Cher.
Cher 2018

 

The Killers produce a Killer Tour

The Killers 1

FOH Engineer Kenny Kaiser has been working with The Killers since the start of their Battle Born tour, where he started out as a system tech, then moved into the role of FOH mixer towards the end of that tour.

Kenny comments that when mixing The Killers there are many, many elements to consider. As there are so many people, instruments, and inputs on the stage he aims to keep things very simple at FOH saying that he prefers to keep as little failure points as possible!

Out front Kenny was running a Solid State Logic SSL500 console which he says sounds great.

So right off the bat that is the best feature of this console,” he added. “After that it had to do with reliability. By far the biggest thing on this console that does not get much press is the All Pass filter. It’s a game changer to me. I am also a big fan of the delays and reverbs on the L500 followed by the bus comp and the subharmonic tool.

The Killers 1Outboard effects were a couple of Bricasti M7 reverbs; one for lead singer Brandon Flowers and one for the snare. Kenny admits that’s a little over kill but it does sound good on the snare!

For the Australian tour, the show featured an L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA with the mains and sides comprising of K1 with K2 underneath. The amount of K1 for each hang changes per show but it is four K2 for the under hangs. Between the main and side hang at a 45 degree angle are flown K1-SBs.

The PA has been great with even coverage and no complaints so far, from myself or the crowd,” commented Kenny.

Monitor engineer Marty Beath also ran a Solid State Logic SSL500 console with everyone but Brandon utilizing Shure PSM1000 IEMs and Axient AXT400. Brandon used a total of ten M2 wedges with two d&b J8s on top of a single d&b J-Sub for side fills.

For microphones, Brandon favoured a Shure Beta SM-58A, all the mics on the drums are Telefunken M80s and M81s, the cymbals are Heil PR30, guitars are Heil PR30, and all the backing vocals are on Heil PR35.

The service from JPJ Audio had been great and the crew is A-level,” remarked Kenny. “Marty and I came into this run with a little concern about packaging because there are a lot of elements to the show and being able to set everything up in time is a big deal. JPJ Audio were able to make all the carts and dollies we asked for, so every day we were able to have a little time for a coffee before the band showed up …… so my hat is off to JPJ!

JPJ crew were Tim Seconi, Paul Kennedy, Joel Pearson and Kellie McKee.

 

Robbie Williams World Tour 2018

Robie Williams 2018

Global pop phenomenon, Robbie Williams toured his mammoth Heavy Entertainment Show World Tour around the country with JPJ Audio once again supporting audio needs.

JPJ Audio supplied an L-Acoustics K1/K2 PA and amplifiers for the tour as well as PA’s for the A Day On The Green shows.

We have fourteen L-Acoustics K1 with four K2 downs on the main hangs with the same number on the side hangs,” commented Josh Lloyd, system tech for the tour. “We also have twelve K2 to cover anywhere up to 240° upstage as well as flown K1 SBs subs in the air, twelve aside. There’s a ribbon of sixteen SB28’s underneath the stage as an arc. Then there’s an end fire array, left and right, of six SB28’s plus an assortment of Kara and Arc2’s as fill boxes.

The whole system is run on the new LA12X amplifiers which Josh says have made an improvement in how the system sounds, as well as providing the incredibly helpful Load Checker feature that measures the attached loudspeakers to help make sure that everything is working correctly.

With the LA12X we use the load check function which verifies the cabinets and checks the drivers are intact,” he added. “In terms of aligning and tuning the system, I use Smaart with a wireless control so I can walk the arena. We do all the control inside LA Manager, although we have Lakes we don’t use them for that but for transmitting the audio over the network with Dante as an audio over IP.
FOH engineer Simon Hodge isn’t fazed dealing with Robbie spending much of his time out front of the PA.

We have a great PA which makes it about as good as it can be in terms of gain before feedback,” he said. “We’re very happy with the system and the way it is lined up makes a big difference. Also, we did a shootout between lots of vocal mics and we recorded the results of him singing with them. The Sennheiser Diigital 6000 system with the MD9235-J capsule gave the greatest rejection of background noise and therefore feedback.

The continuing reduction in RF spectrum also prompted a look at Sennheiser’s new Digital 6000 system which has helped the show as it has so much RF. According to Josh, the vocal sounds a lot more open and natural and the bleed from other sources down the mics is far cleaner and less problematic.

Simon runs a DiGiCo SD7 and with so many people onstage, he uses a lot of channels saying the show is not exactly automated although he does a fair amount of clever stuff running things to time code to make his life easier.

The show is still mostly mixed manually but we still spit out timecode which goes on to lighting and other departments,” he added. “We also multitrack everything at FOH so in rehearsals we can playback multi tracks that then goes off to other departments so they can rehearse without the band but still do all of the show cues.

Out front Simon also had four Bricasti M7’s with a controller which Simon describes as lovely and again it’s all automated in with the timecode cues. He also has a Transient Designer on the drum skins and an old fashioned Klark Tecnik Gate on the kicks and snares.
I find that the Gate in any digital console is not quite up to the standard of an analogue one,” said Simon.

After many years working with Robbie, Simon knows his voice extremely well and knows how it changes through the evening. As a result, there are quite a few tweaks that he does to his voice through the show.

It’s got to the point now that I can feel when he’s about to adlib and anticipate him,” said Simon.

Everyone onstage, including the dancers, use Sennheiser 2050 wireless IEMs with monitor engineer Pete McGlynn also on an SD7.

We’re gain sharing significantly which a lot of people don’t do but we know each other well enough to trust each other on the gains,” explained Simon. “So we’re acting as though we are one console so we’re connected together by fibre but there’s only one set of inputs.

Both SD7s use Gain Tracking and are on an optical loop, with two SD-Racks handling all the inputs from stage, an SD-Mini Rack handles all the Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless microphones, which are fed in via AES/EBU, and a second SD-Mini Rack handles inserts and PA outputs at front of house. The optical loop is used not only to gain share, but to distribute comms and the comprehensive talkback system between front of house and the stage.

Around 96 inputs come from the stage, plus a large amount of inputs for band talkback and comms, which allow the band to communicate with the techs and Pete at monitors,” said Josh. “On top of this, we have triggers on the drums just to key the Gates on the console. Before you know it, the racks are all full.

For outputs, there are 24 channels of Sennheiser 2050 wireless in ear monitors, an Aviom personal mixing system for the drummer, a couple of hard wired mixes, various tech mixes and routing, which mean the monitor desk is also fully loaded.

JPJ provided the following crew for the two A Day On The Green shows headlined by Robbie: Conor Dunne, Lachlan Cresswell, Jesse Mahoney, Kane Phillips, and Stacey Handley. In Sydney Bianca Martin looked after delays.

Russell Peters Qudos Arena Sydney

Russell Peters 1

The audio system JPJ Audio supplied for Russell Peters is amongst the largest we would routinely put in to Qudos Arena. In fact there were more speaker cabinets than we would hang for an average rock concert in the same space!

This is because comedy relies on high intelligibility in the vocal range. If the audience can’t hear every joke, in every seat, they are not going to enjoy the show. If the audience can’t hear, they won’t laugh at the jokes, and this will impact the comedian’s performance (especially if the front rows can’t hear!!!).

Russell Peters 2This clear audio is achieved through acoustic modelling of the venue prior to arrival, careful placement of the PA hangs, and having enough speaker boxes to achieve the required SPL. This is all sound checked by walking around the edge of every seating block in the venue, with a handheld radio mic and making adjustments to the different PA zones. This verifies that every seat in the house can hear every joke.



Russell Peters 3The main hangs were two hangs of 12 x L-Acoustics K1 and 6 x L-Acoustics K2 with two hangs of 12 x L-Acoustics K2 for side hangs. Frontfill was 6 x single L-Acoustics Kara, outfill was 4 x L-Acoustics Arcs and subs were 12 x L-Acoustics SB28 Subwoofer Enclosures. All powered by L-Acoustics LA-8 and LA-12 amplifiers.

A Dante drive system using Dolby LM44’s was utilized and this involved running a completely digital signal path from the FOH console all the way to the amplifiers via AES and Dante signal processing.

A seamless back-up analogue audio fallback is also in every system using DANTE. Back-up systems and engineer comfort are critical to industry acceptance, so are always at the forefront of all JPJ Audio designed systems.

FOH engineer for the tour was James Kilpatrick on an Avid Profile with Waves 9. James used a C6 multiband compressor to keep the speech clear at low level and cut the horn band back when shouting. He also had a vocal rider live in reverse to keep the mic level low in between pauses in speech to reduce room tone in the microphone.

Russell Peters 4

Crew:

FOH systems engineer: Tim Seconi
FOH systems technician: Bianca Martin
Monitors systems engineer: Kellie McKee
PA technician: Ben Northmore
Special Guest Appearance Multicores and front fill trainee: Mats Frankl

 


SIA Nostalgic for the Present tour

SIA 2017 1

SIA’s Nostalgic for the Present tour delivered three stadium shows: Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.

FOH engineer Jon Lemon has known SIA for most of her life and has been doing gigs for her on and off since 2002. When he wasn’t out on tour with the big name acts he works for, he would do the clubs and small theatres with her. Today SIA is an international music star and Jon is still there at FOH, albeit mixing in a stadium rather than a club.

It’s a very organized show,” said Jon. “The biggest challenge was putting it all together in the first place as it’s mostly playback in terms of the music. The brief I had was to make it feel like it was live but also sound like the record with SIA then singing live on top of it.
I see it a lot with hip hop and rap where it’s just the artist and a DJ with minimum amount of stems and the engineer has just got nowhere to go and nuance it like the record. The environment changes the audio all the time, it might be a gig sucking out all the percussive stuff or over emphasizing the bass and you need control over all of those things.

A DiGiCo guy through and through, Jon was using an SD5 with a couple of Waves Servers on it plus a little bit of outboard; Waves MaxxBass, a few Maag EQ4’s and Smart C2 compressors to keep it all in control and even the sound out. “SIA has a big voice so I use Waves Renaissance compressors as well as their 1176 limiters on her vocals as she is so dynamic,” said Jon. “It’s pretty dialed in and quite simple because we did a lot of the work beforehand, in this modern way of doing things.

Jon has around fifty inputs on his DiGiCo SD5, all split up and presented like it’s a live band playing – with more consistency than usual and less egos!

A lot of people may think it’s complicated but I don’t because I have been so close to the music and the process of it,” elaborated Jon. “I know how she sings and I know how to ride it around to keep it level. As everything is so consistent we have a pretty good result most of the time. A lot of modern music is about the system engineer and how the company sets up the system. When I first started out, I was doing it all but realized a few years back that the complexities of these big venues, with networking, delays, and timing, is best left to someone else so I can concentrate on the art part of it. Of course, I oversee it all and will walk the room …. but on this tour I have one of the best L-Acoustics system engineer and designers in the business which makes my life easier.

 

That system tech is Vic Wagner who, alongside JPJ Audio’s Mats Frankl, ensured the L-Acoustics K1 / K2 PA was tuned, timed and ready for action. Multiple delay towers and rings were required to cover the stadium as much as possible, delivering maximum SPL possible without upsetting the EPA people.

Jon reports that he had complete faith in his support team of Mats Frankl, JPJ Audio’s Bob Daniels and Vic Wagner commenting that the entire JPJ crew impressed him.

The L-Acoustics K1 is a really reliable PA and sounds great,” added Jon. “We had two main hangs, subs across the front, sides a mixture of K1 and K2 and then four K2 delay towers. It all worked perfectly.

SIA has always used a trusty Shure SM58 microphone and according to Jon, she always will.

I’d like to change it but she is so used to using the SM58 dynamically its part of the way she sings,” he explained. “That’s why I use the Maag EQ4’s as analogue inserts because they have the airband on them which means you can actually make an SM58 sound like an expensive microphone!

Jon remarked that he had a great JPJ crew on the tour and, seeing as he worked for JPJ when it was Jands Production Services many moons ago and he knows so many staff, he sees working with JPJ as a family event …..in fact he wouldn’t even consider using anyone else in Australia.

Jon will be touring Australia with Roger Waters early next year and again he will reunite with JPJ Audio.

Southern Stars 2017

Southern Stars 1

Thousands of performers and spectators converged on the WIN Entertainment Centre last month, as the annual Southern Stars school arena show hit town.

More than 3000 student from primary and high schools in the southern schools region performed with the show also including soloists, a 500 piece choir, and orchestra and an indigenous dance company.

Students came from about 120 public schools as far away as Bourke, and the show was touted as the biggest show so far in Southern Stars’ 17-year history.

Southern Stars 2JPJ Audio provided all things audio with a system designed Bob Daniels and implemented by George Gorga whose biggest challenge was a large orchestra mainly comprising of students!
It takes them a while to get used to being in the arena dealing with headphone monitoring, IEMs and the PA running but there’s a point, usually around dress rehearsal, when it all comes together,” he said. “I’m also dealing with a large number of non-professional vocalists but again, it all comes together in the end. Having said that, the musical standard of these kids is extremely high and during the public shows it’s easy to forget that some of these players and performers are only in primary school.

The stage is set traditionally at one end, albeit a bit bigger than a standard stage, and primarily accommodates the orchestra, whilst the arena floor is the main performance area for soloists and dancers. The choir sit in the seating bank behind the stage.
The PA is a central cluster hung above the floor centre,” explained George. “There are three positions; one facing forward and two straight out to the sides. It looks a bit odd as the centre PA is about two metres behind the side clusters but it works really well and they don’t get in the way of each other. The time alignment is ‘physically’ very close to start with and it’s seamless when you walk around the room.

Jack Richardson, system tech for the event, remarked that this is the best sounding configuration he’s had heard in this venue. George admits he had a bit of an advantage in the fact that he only had to cover the seating from a centrally located PA, but insists a lot of the success was down to Bob Daniels’ design.

Southern Stars 5Of course the L-Acoustics K2 system is amazing too,” George added. “It’s my favourite system at the moment. This is the first time we’ve used the K2 on this event and it was a real leap ahead in quality and impact.
FOH George ran an Avid 96-channel Profile console plus a 48-channel DiGiCo SD11. On the Profile he used just about all of the available effects adding his standard TC Electronics M5000 reverb and a Smart C2 compressor over the mix buss.

I use those pretty much all the time and although I could use a plugin for the C2, I’ve got the real thing and it just holds everything together in the mix,” said George. “In a situation like this show where it can be quite unpredictable, the C2 can be a life saver.

Radio microphones were twenty-six systems of Shure Beta 58 with a couple doubling up as guitar packs and DPA 4088 headset systems. Orchestra microphones were assorted with George favouring dynamic microphones such as Shure 57 and 58’s for brass and woodwind.
In this situation, they’re much easier to deal with when you have kids using them,” said George. “I still get the sound I want without using expensive condenser mics. With the constant turn around, the radio mic tech Bianca Martin and her volunteer student crew are kept very busy!

Monitors were taken care of by Bob Daniels on a DiGiCo SD5 with an Aviom headphone system for the orchestra and lots of Sennheiser IEM systems for the singers.

Gallery – click to enlarge