JPS Australia

History

David Byrne’s American Utopia

David Byrne band

The most talked about and critically acclaimed concert this year has to be David Byrne’s American Utopia, which had the critics raving.

Not only was it a visual feast, it also sounded pretty damn good, thanks to FOH engineer Pete Keppler (who has mixed tours for music’s biggest icons, from David Bowie to ZZ Top) and JPJ Audio.

JPJ Audio’s Clair Cohesion system was out with the tour using an almost identical set up to the rest of the world tour.

We’re using all CO-12s here in Australia”, commented Pete, “as opposed to the Co-12/Co-10 rig we were using in the USA. I had never brought Clair on a tour until I worked with Katy Perry starting in 2010, and she was a Clair account. Her production manager told me ‘you can use any sound company you want, as long as it’s Clair!’ And I’ve hardly used any other company since!

When the Cohesion series became available, I was blown away at how well it performs, and how easy a system it is to set up and rig. I myself was one member of a group of engineers invited out to Clair a few years back for some lengthy questioning about line arrays, hardware, electronics and all kinds of stuff, and the information gathered was used to help design and create the Cohesion system.

At Sydney’s ICC Theatre there were 16 x CO-12 per side on the front hangs and 12 x CO-12 per side on the side hangs. Because of the simplicity of the stage setup, Pete was not allowed to have any of the usual front-fill on the downstage edge, so a stack of (4) CO-8s was put on each of the two downstage corners, aimed in at the center 3-5 rows of audience.

I use them as near-fill mostly to cover the very front rows in the center where the main PA doesn’t quite reach,” added Pete. “Also, I have 6 drummers on stage and no other instruments with any acoustic output, so the mix I send to the CO-8s is separate and has very little drums in it, and the CO-8s really cover that space and fill in the rest” And as for far-field coverage. “We’ve found with the CO-12 that the smaller angles (1 and 2 degrees) will exponentially increase the high-frequency throw. We did some outdoor shows where the Co-12s covered 400 feet with no trouble at all. Arrayed properly physically, this PA will save you a lot of work.

In keeping with the clean stage design, the entire show is wireless and Pete says this show would not have been possible without the Shure Axient D, saying it’s hands-down the best RF system he has ever heard. “We did a shoot-out last year against a wired mic and an analogue RF system and I swear I could not tell the difference between this and the wired microphone,” he said.

Pete was running roughly 44 inputs of wireless from drums and vocals, another twenty or so inputs from keyboard interfaces, guitar amp modelers, etc. and the IEMs use 16 outs of Shure PSM1000. It’s an RF challenge for sure, but Clair’s Jamie Nelson ensured smooth sailing. “She’s our secret weapon,” says Pete, “Especially at festivals when the RF coordinator you were promised never shows up!

FOH Pete uses a DiGiCo SD10 console, a surface he says he knows like the back of his hand. His one piece of outboard gear was a Lexicon PCM41 for use on just a few songs. “I’m a minimalist, and I like a small footprint.

To cut down ambience and spill from all the live percussion into the vocal mics, Pete uses the Waves F6 Dynamic EQ plugin.
I’m using the six bands of the F6 to really make the most of all the gain I have available on the vocals,” he explained. “I’m not a fan of permanent EQ on many sound sources, particularly vocals. I have the F6 plugin inserted via MultiRack on all the vocals, and I externally key one band of the F6 to act as a high-frequency downward expander, in addition to using several of the other bands as normal dynamic EQ.

As the musicians rapidly change instruments throughout the show, the microphone systems have to be robust. The vocal mics are all DPA 4088s, DPA 4099 on most of the drums, Audix D6 on bass drums, Shure Beta 98s, Sennheiser e904s and Audio-Technica AE2300 for snares and high hats.

The setup at monitor world is a DiGiCo SD5, and SD rack, an SD Mini Rack, and two Soundcraft real-time rack units, in addition to all the RF transmitters and receivers. In Australia, Dan Matthews ran monitors as the tour’s original monitor engineer, John Chadwick, took a dive off the stage and injured himself.

Pete remarked that the other key piece of gear used was his ears and that he doesn’t look at sound if he can possibly avoid it! “Some folks spend their time focusing on what they’re seeing on metres and other visual indications, but I’m old school that way,” he laughed.

David Byrne Crew

Tony Szabo, Pete Keppler, Tim Jones

To the audience, this show appears to be very simple but no one sees what is behind the success of the show – a very significant amount of technology. Pete commented that JPJ have been great and that his techs, Alex McCormack and Tim Jones, did an amazing job.

 

WWE Super Show-Down

wwe 2018 photo 1

WWE, in partnership with TEG Dainty, returned to Australia with WWE Super Show-Down, an historic event that took place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and featured the largest collection of WWE Superstars and Legends ever to appear in the country.

JPJ Audio provided the audio for this prestigious event including a Clair Global Cohesion 12 Line Array PA that was located in the centre of the MCG firing outwards. Also supplied were a flown monitor system inside the ring, all the RF requirements, consoles, patch equipment and of course, an excellent crew.

The design was based on twelve boxes of CO-12 per hang with two hangs at each corner of the stage,” said Alex McCormack, JPJ’s Crew Chief. “However, despite what appears to be a small amount of boxes, the coverage was great all the way to the very back of the grandstands.

wwe 2018 photo 2

For the FOH mix there was a DiGiCo SD10 along with a fully redundant SD9. Monitors also used an SD10, added in case there was a live band thrown in at the last minute. Our experience with WWE is you need to be prepared for last minute additions based on the direction of the live event, this set up allowed us to deal with any such situation.

The entrance stage at southern end of the ground featured a ramp down to the ring for the wrestler and host entries. The stage and ramp housed monitors and wedges but no control gear as they were covered by the monitor system.

A full, cutting edge Shure Axient RF system was positioned at front of house with wireless workbench monitored by the FOH engineer and JPJ RF tech monitoring the spectrum. Despite the MCG having significant challenges with multiple TV channels clashing in the middle of the stadium, it ran very smoothly.
The channel count was kept relatively low compared to what we were prepared for,” added Alex.

WWE’s Lance Vardis did FOH and Clair Global’s Daniel Laveglia executed all of the prep work in consultation with JPJ’s Mats Frankl to ensure a successful event. This was no mean feat as the event was nothing like a typical WWE arena setup.

Despite being held in Melbourne, there was not a single drop of rain during the six days our gear and crew were exposed to the elements!

 

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 Merivales

The Merivales

The Merivales (the Merivale Company’s Internal Awards) brings together some of the leading hospitality personalities in Australia to highlight success within the Merivale business. It’s an evening charged with the electricity of celebration, decadence and communal spirit.

The 2018 Merivales was held this year at Fox Studio’s Stage 7 with JPJ Audio working closely with Bailey Holloway, Group Production Manager for Merivale, to ensure a successful event. The night comprised of speeches, DJs and a traditional Japanese drumming troupe.

Fortunately Stage 7 is a very well treated room – well it is a sound stage after all – which benefited FOH engineer Will Krienke who remarked that the production was fairly simple in terms of time alignment.

It wasn’t like a standard show where you’re mainly taking care of a band,” commented Will. “It was the same amount of priorities but applied to making sure the client was satisfied with the flow. It was seamless from beginning to end with no changeover or down time.

With the back of stage exposed, including dimmer racks, and high bay lights used, the theme was set for an ‘industrial’ feel to the night.

We used an L-Acoustics KARA system which is a smaller box but it worked out perfectly for this job as there was no band and we were throwing on the short end of the building,” said Will. “We had nine KARAs per side over four SB28 subwoofers and ARC outfills. We had also had 108Ps around the stage for front infills. As simple and standard as it was, the main obstacle was making it look good as the client was very concerned with the aesthetics of the room.

At FOH Will ran a DiGiCo SD11, the perfect size console for this job, using solely onboard gear as he only had ten inputs.
Shure radio microphones were used for the speeches with DPA d:vote 4099 added specifically for the drummers.

They’re just more musical as far as wireless is concerned,” said Will. “They’re full range and great for drums and all sorts of percussion.

The entrance to the event featured a small L-Acoustics 112P PA which was driven wirelessly with a Sennheiser in ear unit.

JPJ Crew:

Joel Larsson, Chris Robinson

The Presets

The Presets 1

Legendary Australian electronic duo The Presets have been back on the road promoting their Hi Viz album and JPJ Audio were with them all the way.

Having used an Avid Profile console for many years, FOH engineer Craig Gordon was keen to take an Avid Venue S6L console, with Waves card, on this tour and now he doesn’t want anything else!

I love the Venue S6L and will find it hard to go back to a Profile,” he admitted. “I did a show last night with The Presets using a Profile and it was definitely not as good! The S6L certainly sounds better and there are way more options to customise the surface to how you want to use it. You can move all the groups and channels to wherever you want and set layouts, which you couldn’t do on the old console. You have outputs and auxes all on the same page, wherever you want to put them – and I really missed that last night on the Profile.

Craig says that mixing for The Presets is fairly straightforward, as they have good backing tracks and decent sound coming to him.

The Presets 2
We had to do a few little things with Kim’s toms because he has really dead sounding disco toms but we figured it out with a few plugins,” added Craig.

Julian had his own effects for his vocal onstage to which Craig sometimes added some distortion or reverb just to beef up what he is already being sent. The majority of the effects were Midi timecoded so through the songs they change to different presets which is all done onstage.

I mainly use the dynamic stuff in the rack and a few plugins onboard like a C6 but not too many,” said Craig. The outboard rack is pretty good with Alan Smart Research C2 stereo comps and Puigchild compressors. I still like to have the knobs and visual more than the plugins.”

The tour utilised inhouse PA systems but carried extra d&b B22 subs to reinforce the low end which worked well and was particularly useful in the smaller venues. The exception was Melbourne’s Forum Theatre where JPJ provided an L-Acoustics V-DOSC system.

Microphones were a Shure package as the band have been Shure endorsees for a long time. Vocals were Shure BETA 58s on UR radios, a standard Shure drum package of BETA 52s, KSM overheads and KSM 32s.

Cam Elias ran monitors on an Avid Profile using Shure PSM1000 IEMs.

JPJ Crew: Stacey Handley, Tim Lonergan

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.

 

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

 

Paul McCartney 2017

Paul McCartney 2017

Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 21-time Grammy Award winner and recipient of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Sir Paul McCartney brought his acclaimed long-running One On One Tour to Australia this December, his first Australian tour since 1993’s The New World Tour more than 24 years ago.

The show featured nearly three hours’ worth of the greatest moments from the last 50 years of music, dozens of songs that have formed the soundtracks of our lives. FOH engineer Paul Boothroyd – known more commonly in the industry as Pab – has been with Sir Paul for a fair portion of this journey.

I first started working for him in 1989,” said Pab. “As well as being on stage for three hours, he also does a one hour sound check every day. With line checks and system checks as well, I’m probably behind the console twiddling knobs for five hours so it’s quite an extensive day technically.

That FOH console was an Avid Venue S6L which Pab has used ever since it was released and he describes it as one of the best consoles on the market. Pab’s S6L carries dialed-in snapshots for more than 100 songs.

It’s very powerful and has massive capability,” remarked Pab. “My vocal chain for Paul is fairly straightforward; I’m using a Sonnox Oxford EQ and Avid Pro compressor. For effects there are some general reverbs (short, medium and large), a little bit of delay ADT and that’s it. There’s no playback or inputs from anywhere else, it’s all live.

Plug-ins that are used sparingly include Smack!, ReVibe II, ReVibe I on drums and Mod Delay III.

JPJ Audio supplied the crew and gear for the tour including their Clair Brothers’ Cohesion Series for PA. At the Sydney show indoors at Qudos Bank Arena, Pab had sixteen CO12 L+R, fourteen CO12 LL+RR, twelve CO12 LLL+RRR, six CP218 Subs flown per side, three CP218 Subs per side ground stacked and twelve CO8 for front fill.

It’s absolutely the PA of choice for me,” said Pab. “I find it very flexible, light, and simple to manage. It delivers great results and is very accurate.

The stage is fairly loud with only Wixy (musical director/multi-instrumentalist Paul “Wix” Wickens) wearing IEMs. The rest of the band opts for Clair R4 sidefills with ML18 subs and SRM wedges. Monitor engineer John “Grubby” Callis uses an analog Midas Heritage H3000.

It’s very old-school rock and roll,” says Pab. “It’s loud sidefills and wedges up there because he likes to rock out.

Microphones were a mixed bag with Pabs never swayed by fashion or freebies preferring to apply the correct microphone to suit the job.

I like Audix on the drums and Shure for the vocals,” he added. “Paul’s very happy with the SM58A because he’s used to it – there may be a better microphone to suit his vocals these days but he is very used to what he has had for the past thirty years. So why change?

Having not toured Australia for a good few years, Pab says he was very pleased to be greeted with such a professional JPJ team, a very happy team who just dealt with anything that was asked.

Thanks JPJ for the fun and hard work, greatly appreciated,” he added.

One On One Tour Crew

Paul McCartney crew
Back row: Joel Larson, Alex McCormack, Tim Seconi, and Andrew Dowling SE from Clair Global
Front row: Tech Sean Baca, FOH engineer Paul ‘Pab’ Boothroyd, monitor engineer John ‘Grubby’ Callis, and monitors system engineer Paul Swan.

 

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