JPS Australia

History

The Wombats

Pete Bartlett

The Wombats are currently celebrating the ten year anniversary of their first album, touring Australia with Groovin’ the Moo and performing a few side shows. For the past five years FOH engineer Pete Bartlett has worked with the band as well as his other main act The Pretenders.

The band members and crew were delighted to play a couple of shows at the Sydney Opera House, performing memorable and joyous shows. Let’s face it, it’s not often you witness six full-grown humans dancing around in wombat suits on stage whilst confetti guns spray over the crowd.

JPJ Audio supplied a control package that included an Avid Profile for FOH and another for monitors. Pete was pleased to get everything he wanted!
I always use an Avid Profile as I have loads of plugins and I’m not a big fan of anything newer,” he remarked. “I’m not a big fan of the new DiGiCo and Midas desks, and the Profile is just more reliable. In fact I’ve stood still for ten years with the Profile but it’s just so easy for me to use, plus you can get them anywhere.

The Wombats 1

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Pete explained that he tries to turn his Profile console as much as possible into an SSL console. The reason why is that he admits to being an eighties kid who learnt all of his tricks from being in bands and sitting in studios behind eighties producers.
I stole all my tricks from eighties producers but hey, a lot of it is all cool again!” he laughed. “Effects-wise, I use a complete mix – TC reverbs, Eventide etc, because the reverbs that come with the Profile are pretty poor.

Pete commented that when he first started mixing for The Wombats, they had ten channels of playback so if they lost the tambourine channel, they’ve lost that instrument. He didn’t like that so he went into their studio for a couple of days to mix everything to left / right.
We mixed the tracks really well, just in stereo, so if you lost the left you’ve still got the right,” he added. “It makes life so much easier. They run quite a complicated keyboard set up so it’s all run from Ableton and their keyboards just Midi into the whole thing, so I keep the keyboards separate. Essentially the band are a simple three piece of guitar, bass and drums … but they all sing and all play keyboards too.

During his time in Australia Pete had a variety of PA systems, including L-Acoustics and d&B audiotechnik, but that didn’t faze him.
Whenever I get a new PA to work with, I’ll first ask the system guys what they have done to it,” he explained. “Maybe they’ll show me a Lake EQ, and I’ll ask them to turn it off, as I like to do it myself. The last gig in Australia at Bunbury was fantastic because they had done very little to the system. Often I go into a venue to find the audio guys have hacked the PA to death. I’d rather they leave it flat so I can pull out whatever I don’t like. I don’t need anyone to EQ it, as long as it’s all time aligned and it’s correct, I’ll EQ it.

The Wombats 2

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Pete has had a deal with Sennheiser for the past eleven years after he used them with Bloc Party, in fact he is still using many of those original microphones as they’re still going strong.
Basically we don’t have many microphones onstage that cost more than $300, they’re all cheap mics,” he said. “A lot of people listen with their eyes and use something funky and expensive. People wander around backstage saying how clever the mic setup looks, but you go out front and they sound terrible.

Pete commented that the JPJ Audio crew were fantastic and gave a brilliant service, saying that they made his job very easy.

Istoria – The Trance Project

Istoria 1

With the express purpose of uniting the Trance scene, creating memorable experiences and spreading the love of Trance, Istoria made its’ debut at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena followed by a night at the Sydney Showground Halls.

JPJ Audio supplied the equipment for both events with a d&b audiotechnik PA used in Melbourne and an L-Acoustics PA in Sydney.

Operating both shows was Josh Barker who stated that nice even coverage, with a little bit more bottom end, is always a good starting point.

Dealing with a dance party, it’s obviously about creating a good level on the dance floor without blowing the windows out when you open the doors!” he added. “Also, you don’t want it too fatiguing for those listening to it for eight hours at a time …… and that includes me!

Istoria 2Josh commented that he prefers the older L-Acoustic boxes for dance parties adding that the V-DOSC works very well having two 15’s in the mid high cabinets.

It helps keep the kick drum very punchy and all the bottom end detail doesn’t get blurred out,” he said. “I’ve worked with this PA for years so I know it very well. It is always very important to get your subs right otherwise you will be hearing from the noise police on the hour, every hour. Andrew Rogers looked after the EPA consulting in Melbourne and the Sydney show was handled remotely, via SMS. Maintaining that LEQ average and leaving yourself some breathing space for the main act is vital! Otherwise the later it gets, the quieter it gets. These events sometimes run until 6am.

As for mixing a dance party, Josh describes it as almost like remastering the content coming from stage for a big PA in a room or an outdoor setting.

We are well and truly in the digital era as far as the modern DJ/Producer is concerned. Most of the content has been produced and mastered ‘in the box,’ and sometimes it need some warming up on a large system, especially in the large warehouse style venues. I am making adjustments tailored to each track being mixed in by the DJ. I’m really just taming frequencies and making sure there’s a nice healthy level without hurting anybody’s ears. Being dance music, it can get quite nasty at high volume, most of the synth sounds are based heavily around the square and sawtooth VCO’s and they can really poke out when the PA is at battle-speed.

Josh mixed on an Avid Profile console with a Waves Maxx BCL as a left and right insert, a Puigchild and some Midas XL42’s for some analogue pre amps on the front end. On board, he used a Waves C6 multiband dynamic which keeps everything in check when his hands are busy doing something else.

I use the Maxx BCL as the last point in the chain on the output and that’s got a compressor, bass expander and a limiter all in one,” he added. “It’s really good for keeping the level where I need it, especially if the DB limit is undesirable. It allows me to make it sound big at lower levels and maintain the vibe on the dance floor regardless of the restrictions in place. I use the PuigChild over a group to soften things up when I need to without having to bring the level down. I used this mostly during breakdowns/build-ups when things can get very busy and you generally don’t have a lot of bottom end to round it all off.

Istoria 3All Photos: Jimmy James Denouden

A Day On The Green

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Promoters Michael and Anthea Newton of Roundhouse Entertainment began A Day On The Green in Victoria with the first show on Australia Day 2001. Since then it has grown to become firmly established as one of Australia’s most successful and respected outdoor concert events.

A glittering array of International and Australian stars have performed during the past fifteen years providing unforgettable musical memories. A Day On The Green runs in the summer months from October – March with around thirty concerts per season in the all major wine-growing regions around Australia.

This year kicked off at Bimbadgen Estate with the Monster National Tour featuring an all Australian line up including You Am I, Something For Kate and Spiderbait. As in previous years, JPJ Audio supplied crew and gear for the tour.

FOH Systems Tech Ryan Fallis has done ADOTG for the past eight years and has experienced everything that nature can throw at an outdoor show. The Bimbadgen show was no exception with high winds at midday causing the stage to be shut down for over an hour, just when acts were about to sound check. Added to that was a large bushfire nearby that threatened to have the show cancelled.

There’s been some terrible weather at ADOTG shows over the years,” remarked Ryan. “One year at Sirromet Wines in Queensland we had a lightning storm and we had to evacuate the stage – that was pretty dicey! There’s always some sort of weather event around ADOTG, one year the stage was actually under water but they still managed to get the gig going.

As the ADOTG gigs travel the country the PA system is provided through the three JPJ offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne whilst the FOH package is toured. At Bimbadgen an L-Acoustic K1 rig out of Sydney was used comprising of twenty-four K1 boxes in the air for the mains, eight K1-SB in the air, twelve Kara underneath the mains, twenty four SB-28s on the ground, four Kara infills and for the sides ground stacked V-Dosc.

It’s quite a few boxes but that’s needed to cover a field of that size,” added Ryan. “In Queensland we’ll have their V-Dosc system which sounds really good too. It’s a similar system box wise but we add a couple of rings of delays as well to get some extra coverage. In Melbourne we’ll pick up the d&b audiotechnik rig.

At each ADOTG show engineers request the mixing console they require, in this case there were two Avid Profile consoles with JPJ’s Adrian Roche mixing monitors on a Yamaha PM5d.

Gallery – click images to enlarge.