Corporate Audio Visual Services provided support for the Jazz Foundation of America's sixth Annual "A Great Night in Harlem" gala fundraiser.SIA Acoustics recently worked with the Madison Square Park Conservancy to produce the park's Summer Concert Series, a free weekly show featuring some amazing performers. While SIA is generally known for its acoustics and architectural work, occasionally the company likes to step out and work with new products in order to gain a better understanding of what's out there.
Steve Sockey, FOH engineer and crew chief for the concert series, worked closely with the Conservancy to put together a show on the park's budget. "The staging was interesting because it was a low budget affair. They wanted to maintain the intimate feeling of the park, so they stayed away from big truss structures. The park just wanted to be able to do their signage and keep the intimacy. On our side we wanted to keep the sound clear and impacting. We had two different needs for stage, something small and straight-ahead, but something substantial enough to support the weight of a line array safely."
SIA has an architectural division that works with engineers, so when they began putting together plans for the concert series, they were able to run the design by McLaren Engineering Group, a well known structure engineering firm it often works with. Sockey recalled, "They were able to look at our design and tell us how much weight we could use, and the windloads, just to make sure it's safe. We were able to make it out of schedule 40 pipe, which is extremely low cost, compact, and not that complex to setup. It allowed us to suspend the system at 16 feet."
With the support of Mask Sound's inventory, SIA chose Meyer's M'elodie self powered loudspeakers that sat on an Aviom Pro 64 digital network. Sockey explained, "In general, digital networks are something that will continue to grow for the pro audio industry, and we think there is a lot of growth potential. So we looked at the Pro 64 products as they were just being released. It allowed us to put 128 channels on a network. Even though we were doing a small compact event, it's amazing how many channels you can eat up."
Sockey's team used the Pro 64 to send feeds around the park. "We had remote control mic pre's at the stage, and great quality mics preamps adjacent to the stage. Out of the mic pre's, we went to the Aviom network, and it showed up at the house and monitor consoles, which were Yamaha DM-1000s. They got into the consoles via an Aviom card that fits into the desks. Then we went back out the consoles to Dolby Lake processors, which did all our speaker alignment and system optimization. We went out of that to an Aviom AVPT pare pickers, two channel output devices. The network aspect was a big part of what we were doing. Basically we ran power and Cat-5 between all the traditional locations, and it handled audio in both directions. This allowed us to send multiple channels to multiple locations."
Sockey explained the choice of the loudspeakers for such an intimate setting. "The thing about line arrays is it's not just the product, but what kind of prediction tools you have available, like MAP, which we used. The idea was to keep it straight ahead; six boxes hung and delay towers of M1D's. We used EM Acoustics subwoofers, which were powered by Powersoft amplifiers. We used them for their cardiod array. With each of the four subs, we wanted to match the bandwidth horizontally with what was going on with our loudspeakers vertically, so we had cancellation to the left and right of the stage to minimize the disturbance in the community. On stage we wanted to minimize the low frequency energy back on stage because of all the acoustic instruments that were being played. We're always interested in new products, technology, and companies, like EM Acoustics. We want to understand the pros and cons of what's out there in order to advise our clients firsthand."
Along with Sockey, the SIA crew for the concert series was: Adam Shulman, monitor engineer; Michal Kacunel, audio technician; Tomasz Gajewski, technician; and Peter Czeczetkowicz, technician. Sockey often pushes events like the concert series because his crew gets to works with new equipment in a low stress, fun environment. "The reason that SIA was involved, as opposed to a traditional rental and staging company is, we like to work with emerging technologies and get an opportunity to play with new ideas. So instead of sitting behind the desk all the time and getting detached, there's a lot of value in people that design facilities having experience doing events, and vice versa. People seem to think mixing is easy, particularly with acoustic music.
But if you get a situation where you have a great sounding system, with amazing musicians on stage, and enthusiastic fans, really have to pay attention to the mix. In the case of the Regina Carter show, who plays jazz violin, the challenge was to come up with a system that's easily packaged, since we had to set it up each week, and something with the sophisticated control of a powerful system that can handle mixing something as complex as jazz violin." For more information visit www.siaacoustics.com.
1 @cap:Regina Carter performs at the Madison Square Park Summer Concert Series in New York City. SIA Acoustics provided support.
2 @cap:SIA used Aviom's Pro 64 digital network system for the concert series.
3 @cap:SIA's FOH engineer and crew chief Steve Sockey with monitor engineer Adam Shulman during the concert series.