JPS Australia

History

‘Coachella for accountants’ – Xerocon Brisbane 2018

Xero  Con 1

Xerocon was launched by leading accounting software brand Xero back in 2010 and today is the largest accounting technology conference in Australasia.

It brings together more than 3000 accountants, bookkeepers and financial professionals from Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

“Hailed ‘the Coachella for accountants’, Xerocon has achieved an almost cult-like following amongst the best in the business, so it was essential that Xerocon Brisbane 2018 delivered unrivalled heights of engagement and emotion,” said Laura Roberts, Managing Director of brand communications company INVNT and Xerocon’s event agency.

Held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, JPJ Audio were contracted by INVNT and technical directed by Matthew Russell, to supply an audio solution to match the event’s high production values. A solution was required that could cater to the opening act of a high energy DJ to clear crisp intelligible audio to enhance the meaningful and passionate stories told by keynote speakers.

The show was held in the round plenary style and as with most corporate productions, it was imperative that the video screens could be viewed with no obstruction. Fortunately JPJ Audio are very experienced in working PA placement into a video setup and as usual, delivered a successful outcome.

With four massive video screens forming a cube above the round stage, a neat and tidy PA system was required so as not to interfere with the visuals. Eight hangs of nine L-Acoustics dV-Dosc were deployed all in a left/right configuration at each corner.

It was planned to add L-Acoustics dV-SUBs to the PA hangs but weight restrictions on the roof were severe and so the subs were placed under the stage.

Xero Con 2We had twelve SB218 subs in a circle to get a nice wide rumble and big sub feel for when the content had low end in it, just to help get the crowd pumping,” added Matt Morrison of JPJ Audio. “We also had twelve L-Acoustics 108P around the stage for front fill. Originally the client wanted them underneath the stage with the subs so they were hidden but a solid fascia was added to the set which meant you couldn’t hear them! We redesigned the system by placing them around the video monitors onstage to cover the first few rows. It all looked neat and tidy in the end and of course, sounded great.

Control for the plenary system was on a compact yet powerful Digico SD11 operated by Gary Flemming.
During the day the venue was broken into six theatres, one used the plenary control whilst the others all had their own small control system, three with Soundcraft Si compacts and two with Yamaha O1V96. These all fed The PA People who provided silent-disco PA systems.

The PA People handed FM receivers out to everyone and set up an FM control which we plugged in to and that’s how all of the breakouts could go at the same time,” explained Matt. “Everyone in the crowd had a receiver into which they could punch a pre-set frequency to listen to whichever breakout they wanted. It was a great little system.

With audio, lighting and video all competing for weight allocations, this was no simple project but JPJ’s experience shone through.

JPJ Crew:

Tim Seconi, Will King, Matt Morrison, Daniel Charlton, Matt Debien.

 

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

 


Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Priscilla 1

Ten years on and Michael Waters tells a different story

After winning a glittering array of international awards on Broadway, the West End, Europe and Asia, Simon Phillips’ spectacular production Priscilla Queen of the Desert has returned to Australia for its 10th anniversary celebration tour.

Opening at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, the show is set to tour the country over the coming months with all audio supplied by JPJ Audio.

Sound designer Michael Waters created the original production over a decade ago and since then he says that the evolution of digital technology is clearly the biggest change.

We started with a digital platform of a Yamaha PM5d but since then I’ve moved onto a DiGiCo system which makes everything a lot more flexible,” he commented. “It sounds great and combined with the Aviom system, it makes it all streamlined. The progression of the networked L-Acoustics amplifiers has made a big difference too. Ten years ago we were using Crown 5002 amplifiers which sounded awesome but everything eventually had to move into the digital realm. Having the flexibility of networked processors, coupled with remote control accessibility via my iPad, means I can wander the building and mix off my iPad. We didn’t have that technology at our disposal back then!

The Stealth Core 2 infrastructure with the DiGiCo means there is a lot more processing available on their consoles. With the SD10 that Michael uses, he goes direct from the DiGiCo system, from the SD rack straight into the LA8 amplifiers – basically cutting out a drive system.

A lot of the system processing is done on the console itself, which in turn is controlled by the iPad,” he added. “I have complete flexibility in control of the sound system including the mix itself just from the one app. There is also processing going on with the LA8s and that’s also controlled from the iPad via Network Manager.

Priscilla 8Michael is still using an L-Acoustics dV-Dosc PA system, describing it as fantastic, with the configuration used at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre very similar to the original. The only difference is the addition of a KARA centre cluster and several more delay subs to ensure the disco beats are everywhere and with even coverage in the huge barn that is the Regent.

There are quite a lot of L-Acoustics subs in the system – DV-subs on each of the four L/R arrays, SB28’s on the aprons, SB18’s on the Delay Cluster and then spread out in the stalls,” said Michael. “In the dress circle there are Meyer 650P’s and then a pair of L-Acoustics SB118 subs above the mix position in the roof. That way we can keep the vibe jumping along all the way to the back!

Microphones are still DPA 4066, double mic’ed with a DPA 4061 for the three Queens and also the three Divas who fly through the air. All DPA’s are run on Shure UR-4D wireless systems and Shure Micro Belt packs.

I had to go with the DPA 4066 because of the amount of head dresses that all require quick changes,” explained Michael. “If we were to use lapel mics on the forehead, they would just get ripped off. The DPA 4066 also allows for a higher SPL which is good as there are so many disco come rock numbers in the show. The only exception is the young boy who uses a DPA 4061 because his contribution is only in quiet scenes.

Microphones for the band include Shure Beta 52, Beta 91 for the kick, Beta 57 and Beyerdynamic Opus 87 for the toms, and a smattering of Audio Technica AT4050’s, Firefly DI on the bass and a couple of Coles 4038 ribbon mics on trumpet and saxophone, which sound very warm and smooth in the high end.

Gallery

 

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

Icehouse – 40 Years Live

Icehouse 40 1

Photo © Troy Constable

With a career spanning 40 years, iconic Australian band Icehouse has continued to delight millions with their music, well-known and loved by audiences across generations. Icehouse began in 1977 as a Sydney-based pub rock band called Flowers, who were the highest paid unsigned act in Australia at the time.

In 2006, Icehouse was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame, being described as ‘…one of the most successful Australian bands of the 80s and 90s’. Icehouse’s 1987 album Man of Colours remains to this day as the highest-selling album in Australia by an Australian band.

With a history like that, it’s no wonder the band have been selling out their 40 Years Live Tour this year as it travels the country … with more dates just announced!

Touring with an audio package from JPJ Audio, the tour utilized in-house PA systems where available with JPJ supplying speaker systems when required. FOH Engineer Richie Robinson, who has mixed for the band since their return to live shows in 2011, used an Avid Venue S6L saying it is one of the best mixing consoles on the market. He travels with absolutely no extra FOH equipment, which reinforces how good the console sounds on its own.

I had used an Avid Profile since 2007 and always loved working on it,” he remarked. “However, it got to a stage where I thought ‘well that’s the sound of it’ and decided to try some other consoles that had better preamps and a more open sound stage. While I usually liked the sound of them, I didn’t fall in love with their operating systems as much as I did with the Avid Venue gear. When the Venue S6L came along and I tried it out, I was blown away with how good it sounded. It’s a real win for Avid and I think you’re going to see a lot more of them.

Icehouse 40 3

Photo © Troy Constable

When Richie used to mix Icehouse on an Avid Profile, he implemented a combination of Waves plug-ins and outboard reverbs but he’s been happy with the way the onboard fx plugins sound with the new console.

With the combination of the new audio engine in the console running at 96khz and the plug-ins running on the AAX DSP cards, even the Avid reverbs sound a whole lot better to me,” added Richie. “I’ve gone back to using the ReVibe reverb which sounds really good and other than that, I bought a few 3rd party plugins for some other eq, compression and saturation flavors. I miss some of my Waves plug-ins but it’s been cathartic to ditch what you’ve been using for so long and just go ‘wow, that sounds so good just straight out of the console!

One 3rd party plug-in that Richie has used often with Icehouse is the Brainworx bx-console channel strip by Plugin Alliance which he implements over many channels. “There’s a subtle character thing going on with that plug-in that suited this band” said Richie.

Richie uses the Snapshot and Layout features on the console for all the songs – mainly for turning on and off required input channels and for keeping the top fader layer populated with the key input elements for each song. He also found that snapshotting the effects on the Venue S6L was a very handy tool. As Iva Davies wrote and produced so many of Icehouse’s tunes, he can be quite specific with the echoes and delays used on the original recorded versions so Richie decided to snapshot all of the echo effects. That way he doesn’t have to worry about adding the correct tap tempo to each song – when he recalls the snapshot to the next song all of the stored effect parameters are recalled.

Microphones were fairly standard with a selection of Shure wired and radio microphones, a couple of AKG414’s for drum overheads plus Sennheiser and Audio-Technica Australia microphones. “We have a Shure KSM9 for when Iva plays an oboe in Man of Colours and that’s probably the funkiest mic we have.” said Richie. “We’ve tried a few different mics on it but that’s the one we kept coming back to.

Icehouse 40 2

Photo © Troy Constable

Onstage, the band are all on Shure PSM1000 IEM’s with most of them using the Shure SE846 ear buds. In addition, Iva has a couple of d&b audiotechnik M4 wedges in front of him as he occasionally removes one of his IEMs. Sidefills are L-Acoustics Arcs with dv-Subs and the drum sub is a pair of d&b Q-subs. Monitor Engineers for the tour were Paul Kennedy (now out with Midnight Oil) and Matt Debien who both used a Yamaha PM5D with an Apogee Big Ben word clock.

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

Click to enlarge.

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

Click to enlarge.

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.

Hans Zimmer Revealed

Hans Zimmer 1

Legendary German film score composer and record producer Hans Zimmer brought his Revealed Tour to Australia with JPJ Audio tasked with supplying gear and crew for this complex production.

Since the 1980s, Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films including The Lion King, for which he won Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1995, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Thin Red Line, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar.

FOH engineer Colin Pink has worked with Hans for three years with this tour starting in April, firstly doing some dates on the West Coast of the States, before coming to New Zealand and Australia for five shows. The tour then heads off to Europe for twenty-six shows before returning to the States for another twenty-five shows finishing on the 18th August.

Nathaniel Kunkel is the Sound Designer for the tour and being based in L.A, Colin says he was the right person to do all the pre-production creation and programming for the show.

Being more of a studio based engineer, he had the ability to refine the detail of the show before we got into rehearsals,” commented Colin. “Once I came on board for rehearsals and the tour itself, we worked very well together using my skills in the live sector, to adapt our work into a touring format.
Hans Zimmer 2The show is a massive challenge from an audio point of view. There is a core band of twenty-two people, including six keyboard players who all double on other instruments. On top of this there is a choir of sixteen and an ‘orchestra section’ consisting of twelve string players and nine brass players. The total input channel count is 260 and there are 63 monitor mixes.

To control all of this we have a Digico SD7 at FOH and monitors, plus an SD11 to sub mix the orchestra and choir,” explained Colin. “The main reason for choosing the Digico consoles was their high channel count coupled with their flexibility and ability to ‘copy audio’ over the fiberoptic network. Even with the high channel count of the SD7, I was creating ‘stems’ of the playback and certain sections for Gavin Tempany at monitors, since he could not take all the inputs directly as he had a reduced input count due to his high number of monitor outputs.

As far as outboard and effects went, Colin has tried to keep it as simple as possible. At FOH he has a t.c. electronic M6000 doing vocal reverbs and uses an internal Tap Delay and some of the internal ‘Audio Enhancers’ inserted across the keyboards and electric cello. Although the show is quite FX heavy most of these are taken care of by the keyboard on stage and some by the playback rig. The show is performed with a full surround rig and a lot of the FX are presented in a surround format.

I think one of the most difficult – and interesting – parts of mixing for Hans is the way he uses many layers of sound to create interesting textures,” remarked Colin. “There are often thirty or so layers of keyboard tracks which combine to make a fluid texture. In the live environment it’s very hard to achieve the right balance between the component parts and keep track of who is doing which bit!

Hans Zimmer 3Colin stated that P.A systems had been very interesting on the tour so far, and for the first few venues he used ‘in house’ systems.

We started at The Microsoft Theatre in L.A and used their JBL Vertec System,” he said. “Our second show was at the Coachella Festival on their L-Acoustics K1 system. Next stop was San Francisco using the new Clair CO12 system. Then we have a K2 system in Vegas and a D&B J Series system in Auckland!
Once the tour reached Australia JPJ Audio provided their Clair CO12 system for the entire Australian tour and this system will also be used in Europe.

It’s been great to have a few systems on the tour as a means of comparing them,” added Colin. “With the CO12 we ended up with 16 x CO12 a side as the main hangs, and 12 x CO12 as side hangs. As the content of this show has a very extended low end, we flew 6 x subs per side next to the main hangs and had another 12 x subs across the front of the stage. This gave us a very smooth coverage and plenty of headroom. Added to this we have a full surround system, it is soundtracks after all!

The mic setup was fairly standard, although on a large scale. All the strings had ‘clip on’ DPA’s and the rest of the orchestra and band had standard microphones. The important part of the mics on stage was that there were no wedges (with everyone on IEM’s) or guitar cabs. All the guitars are being run through ‘Kemper’ emulators, so the only spill into the orchestral mics was from the drum kit which is heavily screened. This allowed Colin a lot more control over the mix 

JPJ looked after us for the whole of the Australian leg of the tour,” Colin said. “Their service was second to none. The efficiency of the JPJ Sydney crew of Joel and Alex meant I never had to wait for any part of the PA ahead of sound checks.
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