JPS Australia

History

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.
Hans Zimmer 4

Istoria – The Trance Project

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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

Don Henley 2017 Tour

Don Henley Tour

Eagles co-founder, vocalist and drummer Don Henley returned to Australia this month for a run of indoor and A Day on the Green outdoor shows. Don was joined on stage by his fifteen-piece band for a show that has had critics raving.

FOH engineer Tom Evans has mixed for a wide variety of acts in the past including Snow Patrol and Gwen Stefani. He describes working for Don Henley as a pleasure to mix and says the band are all incredibly talented.

The material I am being given to mix is absolutely first rate,” Tom stated. “The band consists of five horns, three backing vocalists (although all the band sing backing vocals too), two keyboard players, two guitars, bass player, drums and one member who plays a variety of instruments including pedal steel.

JPJ Audio provided crew and gear for the tour including an L-Acoustics PA consisting of K1 over K2 cabinets and V-Dosc for outfills. The amount varies from show to show, as they are playing small and large, indoor and outdoor gigs. The maximum carried are twelve K1’s per side with K2’s underneath.

Don Henley has great attention to detail which is both inspiring and motivating for Tom, who mixed the show on an SSL Live L500 Plus console with no outboard effects.

In the beginning I used a DiGiCo SD5 with Waves external but I find it’s really one more thing to go wrong,” he said. “Often, simpler is better. I’m pretty much using everything available with the console and have maxed out the DSP on it. I have eight Reverbs running, a couple of Delays, a couple of Doublers, some Multiband compressors, Dynamic EQs and De-essers, the SSL Stereo Bus Compressor and Transient Shaper. The standard Dynamics and EQ on the channels are great too.

Each musician plays several different instruments which keeps Tom on his toes using snapshots and set lists to ensure the right instruments are open and muted at the correct times.

Microphones are sourced from a variety of manufacturers with Shure 58, Telefunken M81 and DPA De:Factos on vocals.

Monitors were mixed by Raza Sufi on a DiGiCo SD9 console with a combination of wedges and IEM’s used onstage. All of the band, except for one, are on IEMs although some of them also have wedges.

The Australian tour was great,” added Tom. “The local crew and the crowds are great, and we always have a good time.

 

Australia Day 2017 at the Opera House

Australia Day 2017 1

Directed by the highly-awarded John Foreman, Australia Day 2017 – Live at the Sydney Opera House brought together a collection of Australia’s best talent, including Tina Arena, Guy Sebastian, Human Nature and Dami Im. The concert was hosted by Grant Denyer and Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

JPJ Audio provided audio production with Will King in charge of the design and running front of house. It has been well publicized that the forecourt of the Opera House is a tricky venue due to its’ strict noise control limit. Added to that was the fact that the show was broadcast live and the television producers wanted the Harbour Bridge as a backdrop.“This meant that the stage wasn’t orientated in a way that was helpful in achieving that sound level,” commented Will. “The sound was directed towards the Botanical Gardens and in places, could hit the sandstone wall. We had to do our best to deliver a sound system that would shoot down enough to not hit the wall, only the audience.

The PA system comprised of L-Acoustics K1, ten a side, with a side hangs of KARA enclosures to cover the steps of the Opera House, as well as SB28 subs. A single mono delay hang of eight deep KUDO enclosures was also utilized. A large number of Clair 12am wedges covered the stage and the thrust that jutted out into the audience. Usually a thrust allowing performers in front of the PA can cause problems but not in this case due to the concert’s strict noise limits.

Australia Day 2017 2That was probably the only good thing about having a strict noise limit!” laughed Will. “I used a DiGiCo SD10 for control and it was the first time I didn’t have a single channel to plug anything into. The entire console was full – if anyone else had turned up I don’t know what we would have done!

It was important that Will remembered the larger audience was at home watching the concert on the television and he had to be careful not to do anything that would affect the broadcast.

For example, feedback is an absolute no-no on TV,” he elaborated. “If it happens once or twice at a gig, you can get away with it but with television it’s very noticeable in the quiet of your living room as opposed to a noisy gig.
Those who have seen the broadcast of the show will remember what appeared to be a momentous audio fail when Grant Deyner’s microphone didn’t appear to work for what seemed like an age. However, JPJ are relieved to be able to state that the microphone was working perfectly at the gig.

Tristan Farrow ran monitors using a DiGiCo SD5 console.

Photos:

©Troy Constable

A Day On The Green

ADOTG 1

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.


 

Taylor Swift 2012

The Speak Now World Tour is the second concert tour by American country singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift, in support of her third studio album, Speak Now. The tour visited Asia, Europe, North America and Australasia.

Taylor Swift toured Australia with equipment and crew from Sound Image while JPJ Audio provided the ‘stacks and racks’.

Dates

March 2 Burswood Dome Perth
March 4 Entertainment Centre Adelaide
March 6 & 7 Entertainment Centre Brisbane
March 9 & 10 Allphones Arena Sydney
March 12, 13 & 14 Rod Laver Arena Melbourne

Speaker System L-Acoustics
28 x K1 Enclosures
21 x dV-Dosc Element
48 x KUDO Cabinet
12 x SB28 Sublow Cabinet
14 x LA-Rack (3 x LA8))
1 x K1 Drive Rack (Dolby)
Crew  
  Paul Schofield
  Bianca Martin
  Simon Farrell

Miley Cyrus 2011

This tour marked Cyrus’ first visit to Australia since being introduced to local audiences as Hannah Montana in 2006. Miley Cyrus has released ten albums and sold in excess of 500,000 singles in Australia.

Dates June 21 – July 2, 2011
FOH Engineer Paul David Hager
JPJ Audio Crew Tristan Johnson
Simon Farrell
Dave Richardson
Speaker System L-Acoustics
Main Hang 32 x K1 Element
6 x dV-Dosc Elements
12 x K1 Sub Bass
24 x SB28 Sub Bass
Side Hang 18 x V-Dosc Element
6 x dV-Dosc Element
Rear Hang 18 x Kudo Element
6 x dV-Dosc Element
Front Fills 4 x ARCS (outside)
4 x dV-Dosc Element
2 x dV-Sub
Amplifiers and Drive 54 x LA8
1 x K1 Drive Rack (Dolby)
4 x Dolby Lake DLP4D12 Processor
1 x BSS FCS-960 Stereo EQ
1 x Motion 1200 wireless tablet
FOH Control System (Support Act)
1 x Avid SC48
6 x BSS DPR 402 (2 Ch Comp.)
1 x Summit TLA 100A Tube Comp
2 x Drawmer DS201 (2 Ch Gate)
1 x Lexicon PCM90 Reverb
1 x TC Electronics D-Two Delay
2 x Yamaha SPX990 Multi-FX
Monitor Control System
1 x Midas Siena 400 40ch
10 x Clair 12AM Monitor Speaker
5 x Lake Clair iO Controller
8 x Crown MA3600VZ
1 x Clair ML 18 Sub Bass
1 x Crown MA9000i Amplifier
8 x Urei 5547A 1/3 Octave
Wireless Microphones
2 x Shure UR4D-Q5 Dual Receiver
4 x Shure UR1-Q5 Beltpack TX

 

Massive Attack – Sydney Opera House

Massive Attack - Sydney Opera House forecourt

Massive Attack toured Australia in March 2010 off the back of their album `Heligoland`. JPS provided a L-Acoustics K1 system for the tour.

Tour Dates

March 12, Perth, Kings Park
March 15, Sydney, Opera House Forecourt
March 19, Canberra, Royal Theatre
March 20, Melbourne, Myer Music Bowl
March 21, Adelaide, Entertainment Centre
March 23, Brisbane, Riverstage

Speaker System L-Acoustics K1
24 K1 Enclosures
12 dV Dosc
8 x Arcs
16 x SB28 Sub Bass Enclosures
Amplifiers
12 LA Rack
36 L-Acoustics LA8 Amplifiers