JPS Australia

History

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