Meyer Sound PANTHER Shines on US Tour Debut with Dead & Company
Stadium/Shed System from UltraSound Anchored by 72 PANTHER Loudspeakers
Dead & Company is back on the road for their 2022 Summer Tour which kicked off in mid-June at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. As they carry on the Grateful Dead tradition of using the latest innovations in sound reinforcement, the tour is powered by a system featuring Meyer Sound’s new PANTHER large-format linear line array loudspeaker. The band further augmented its seemingly limitless repertoire of tunes while UltraSound — decades-long audio provider for the Grateful Dead and successor ensembles — assembled the largest system of PANTHER loudspeakers in North America, and the first to roll out on a USA tour.
To cover expansive audience areas in a mix of sports stadiums and larger sheds, UltraSound is carrying a PANTHER inventory that allows reconfiguration for venue size. For stadiums, a typical deployment is four identical arrays — two main front and two side — each comprising fourteen PANTHER loudspeakers, with four PANTHER-W wide coverage versions flown under 12 PANTHER-L long-throw versions.
Mixing the band for PANTHER’s North American touring debut is FOH Engineer Derek Featherstone, who also serves as tour director and UltraSound CEO.
Weighing in at 150 lb (68 kg), the PANTHER loudspeaker nevertheless produces greater than 150 dB peak SPL. The compact size and reduced weight save on transportation costs while the new Class D amplifier dramatically reduces power consumption. PANTHER is the first line array system to offer AVB Milan™ protocol network connection directly to the loudspeaker cabinet.
As tour director, Featherstone appreciates the added flexibility afforded by PANTHER’s power-to-size/weight ratio.
“We’re using the same count of PANTHER as we had for LEO last year, but the reduced size and weight allowed us to carry more subs and deploy them more effectively. Recovered truck space allowed us to bring the VLFCs, while PANTHER’s reduced weight makes it easier to do more end-fire sub-arrays in stadiums within the same total weight limits.”
For larger venue deployments, PANTHER arrays are bolstered in the bass registers by 18 flown 1100‑LFC low-frequency control elements plus 12 700-HP high-power subwoofers on the ground. Ten VLFC very-low-frequency control elements extend response down to a subsonic 13 Hz.
A dozen LEOPARD compact line array loudspeakers are deployed singly for front fill, and a total of eight GALAXY Network Platforms provide system drive and optimization. The stage foldback system comprises 10 MJF‑210 and two MJF-212A stage monitors along with two JM‑1P loudspeakers for side fill and two 1100-LFC elements as drum subs.
“We invested in PANTHER for three reasons,” says Featherstone. “We needed additional inventory, we were confident that the fidelity would be as expected from Meyer Sound, and we would benefit from the added versatility. We are already getting a good deal of interest from other tours and events after Dead & Company wrap up next month.”
In addition to Featherstone, the Dead & Company tour is supported by Michał Kacunel (system engineer), Ross Harris (recording engineer and ground PA tech), Lonnie Quinn, and Ian Dubois (monitor engineers), along with crew members Sean McAdam, Aaron Lauzier, and Reilly Williamson.
The band’s 2022 tour proceeds eastward with 20 shows scheduled in 16 cities, wrapping up at Citi Field in New York on July 16. Of the tour venues, four are Major League Baseball stadiums, one an NFL stadium, and one college football stadium, with the balance at larger sheds.
Dead & Company was formed in 2015 when the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir joined forces with artist and musician John Mayer, Allman Brothers’ bassist Oteil Burbridge, and Fare Thee Well and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, and has quickly become one of the most successful touring bands year over year. Since its formation, the band has completed six tours playing to millions of fans and became a record-breaking stadium act when it broke Wrigley Field’s all-time concert attendance record, which still holds to this day. Having toured consistently since its 2015 debut, the band has grossed $300 million and has sold more than three million tickets across 172 reported shows.
Level 42 level-up with Electro-Voice and Dynacord for UK tour
The recent Level 42 UK tour called on the versatility of Electro-Voice and Dynacord equipment to ensure that every audience had the best possible experience, no matter what kind of venue the band was performing in.
The British jazz-funk band toured with an Electro-Voice X2 system as its main PA, driven by Dynacord TGX amplifiers with control from SONICUE sound system software.
The tour marked the first time that the band’s FOH engineer, Mark Clements, had moved away from Level 42’s usual equipment supplier for 25 years. However, the band had been working with Merlin PA on overseas and festival packages, and it became a natural move to tour the UK with the rental company too.
A further reason for the switch was to move to Electro-Voice’s X2 system, which Clements had heard several times. The solution’s size and form factor made it the perfect choice for a concert hall tour, but the technical qualities of the X2 also made it a strong choice for Level 42.
“The percussive and transient nature of Mark King’s style really shone through with the use of the X2’s 12” driver on the Mid Band Hydra,” explains Merlin PA’s Neal Allen. “That’s what the technology in the MBH allows you to deliver.”
The capabilities of the X12-128 dual-18” subwoofers were also an important factor for the performance. “This tour was one of the first where we consistently used a cardioid sub arrangement in almost every venue,” recalls Allen. “Due to the nature of the stage setup, some venues required a super-cardioid sub design, which dramatically cleaned up unwanted resonance onstage for Mark King.”
In addition to the X2 main PA, compact 8” two-way XLE cabinets were called into action to provide further support. “XLE was required to provide extra intelligibility and consistency,” says Allen. “This was particularly important at Sheffield City Hall, which is a notoriously tricky venue to contain with a full house when you need to cover all three floors.”
A further aspect that enhanced the tour was the Dynacord electronics and software that drove every performance. “TGX amplifiers and SONICUE sound system software provided the backbone power to the Electro-Voice system,” notes Allen. “The intuitive nature of SONICUE enabled us to make effortless on-the-fly changes at different locations, while also providing an overall picture of all aspects of the system.”
The sound of Pata Pata
Pata Pata Beer Garden in Johannesburg’s Maboneng precinct has been equipped with a new sound system based on equipment from Electro-Voice and Rane. The solution was designed and installed by Prosound.
Maboneng precinct itself is currently undergoing a transformation into a new cultural hub for the city. Situated in the old diamond district, the area is now home to a variety of arts centres, entertainment venues and retail stores. As part of this process, Pata Pata has set itself out to be a multipurpose entertainment venue for live bands, DJs, sporting events and corporate functions. The venue approached Prosound to design a solution that would meet the various needs of these differing uses while keeping within a specified budget.
The main challenge for the project came from the 500-capacity venue itself. It is a large, hangar-style building with a raised mezzanine level to the rear which combined to create a number of audio issues. To tackle these, Prosound pro audio sales specialist, Lucky Lande, provided a bespoke solution to fit within the client’s budget while also overcoming the acoustic challenges.
The system comprises Electro-Voice EKX passive loudspeakers powered by the German manufacturer’s Q-series amplifiers. Processing is handled by a Rane HAL1. ‘The design provided great flexibility in allowing the client to plug into the system from various positions in the venue,’ said Mr Lande.
The audio system installation ran alongside a general renovation at Pata Pata, which created its own set of challenges. However, according to Mr Lande, ‘the installation was a great success, with the client very happy with the outcome and commenting that this is the best system he’s heard, and worked on, in a long time’.
Article from: www.proavl-mea.com
Audio-Technica ATUC-50 Conference System Launch & Training
On the 21st of February Audio-Technica South Africa, distributed by ApexPro, officially launched the ATUC-50, an innovative new offering from Audio-Technica in the conferencing space. Audio-Technica’s Conference Business Development Manager EMEA, Sandra Kellerman, came all the way from Denmark to officially launch the exciting new ATUC-50 Digital Discussion System and offer in-depth training on its use and features. The event was held at the picturesque Blandford Manor conferencing venue in northern Johannesburg.
This new entry-level system has raised the bar for sound quality and speech intelligibility with its 24-bit/48kHz uncompressed digital audio and is extremely easy to use along with plug and play functionality. With a 5 year warranty the ATUC-50 offers reliable, clear and intelligible communication to significantly increase meeting efficiency and effectiveness.
Aadil Matwadia, National Sales Manager for ApexPro had this to say; “I really found the training to be very informative. It was very useful to see what we are up against in the market place with this system. The ATUC-50’s ease of set up and sound quality were the highlights for me”.
After two very successful training sessions in Johannesburg, Sandra went on to Cape Town where customers were again very enthusiastic about the system. We predict that the ATUC-50 will find many fans in South Africa as an easy to use, highly adaptable and great sounding system in the entry-level tier of conferencing.
First Love Generation Chooses Electro-Voice
Victor Vermaak, Prosound’s church audio specialist, worked closely with First Love Generation in Ruimsig to design an audio system that would fulfill their requirements for their overflow/lecture room. In the end, he met and exceeded their expectations with an Electro-Voice solution incorporating Zxa1 powered speakers.
The system will serve to provide sound for video playback as well as audio from the main church. They went with the EV Zxa1’s to keep the same sonic character of the EV EKX used in their main church.
Other Prosound supplied equipment includes a Midas M32 console, Audio-Technica 3000 series wireless belt pack systems with DPA D-fine headset mics as well as Audio-Technica 3000 series handhelds.
Prosound creates heavenly illumination with ETC at the Market Theatre
A heavenly lighting effect has been created for the current production of The Dying Screams of the Moon at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre. The unusual solution features a series of unique, handcrafted gobos, and ETC Source Four® LED lighting fixtures supplied by Prosound.
Forming part of the venue’s 40th anniversary celebrations, the play runs from 28 July to 21 August. It marks the first time collaboration of theatre legends Zakes Mda and John Kani, and is set to become a part of theatre history.
The play features an all-female crew and creative team, including award-winning specialists in lighting, costume, set design, production management and marketing. This celebration of women coming together is a memorable event that will appropriately play for much of South Africa’s Women’s Month.
The Dying Screams of the Moon is about two women who meet at church, a place of solace, where they seek inner peace from their troubles of the past. Set in post-apartheid South Africa, it reveals the struggles for land ownership that are still relevant today.
In order to create the majestic stained glass window effect, the church setting called for specific lighting. However, the restricted budget of the play meant that a glass gobo was not an option and it was necessary to devise an alternative solution.
Nomvula Molepo, head of lighting at the Market Theatre, was keen to use ETC Source Four LED luminaires to help realise her vision, and contacted Prosound for assistance. Ian Blair, Prosound’s GM of lighting and structures, offered to supply Nomvula with the fixtures. He also sent Prosound’s lighting specialists, Mac Makhobotloane and Jannie de Jager, to assist with creating the effect that was required.
“The service was awesome! Mac and Jannie brought a variety of fixtures to experiment with in order to achieve the effect I was looking for,” said Nomvula. “We tested the fixtures to see if I could get the desired effect. Then, Mac suggested that I get steel gobos, cut small pieces of gels and paste them onto the gobos. Mac and I tested one fixture and it worked like a dream!
“I’m very grateful to Prosound for supplying the fixtures. And, I’d particularly like to thank Mac and Jannie for all their effort, time and support in assisting me with making the lighting work for the production.”
The ETC Source Four LED fixtures were not only able to capture the look Nomvula wished for, but they were also easy to operate. “I would definitely consider using the fixtures on future productions,” she said.
Thanks to Prosound and ETC, the church scenes in The Dying Screams of the Moon are bathed with the magnificent and divine illumination of stained glass windows.
ColorSource controls The National Arts Festival
The National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown was the first festival in the world to call on ETC’s ColorSource consoles. In addition to this, NAF put to use an extensive line up of lighting gear from the manufacturer across 16 venues.
The 11-day festival which takes place at various venues across the city is described as the biggest celebration of the arts in Africa. Its main and fringe programmes comprise drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fairs, workshops, tours and a childrens arts festival.
‘NAF is a fantastic meeting of technicians from across the continent, it is an honour for ETC to support these talented people with consoles and LED fixtures that will enhance their art and give them a look at the latest equipment available for making theatre,’ said Jeremy Roberts from ETC.
Of the 16 venues to feature ETC equipment, 14 of them have opted for one of the manufacturer’s lighting desks. ColorSource, Element, Eos Ti, Gio and Ion consoles are all in use, with the Eos Ti covering the main theatre. Away from consoles, ETC ColorSource Spot and PAR fixtures have also been called into action.
‘Prosound and Electrosonic are on site to provide support,’ noted Mr Roberts. ‘ETC also provides local support for the larger venues. Benjamin du Plessis from the Fugard Theatre, who is an expert Eos programmer, is on site to support other programmers on the Eos Ti, Gio and Ion consoles.’
Also present were Jannie de Jager and Mac Makhobotloane from Prosound, supporting all the other consoles and LED fixtures that were provided to the relevant venues.
‘The National Arts Festival is a very important event and we are delighted to be part of it,’ said Ian Blair, GM for lighting and structures at Prosound. ‘The festival runs on good quality products that it can trust, so it is telling that there is so much equipment from ETC that has been put to use.’
Bridge Church purchases its second Electro-Voice PA rig from Prosound
In 2012, Crossroads Church in Alberton, Johannesburg, had a change of leadership and with this came new levels of required excellence including the decision to upgrade the PA system for the 400-seater church.
Prosound installed an Electro-Voice SX300 rig with Tour X and SB122 Subs, all powered by Q series amplifiers and processed by a DC-One. This system provided better speech and music reproduction than has ever been experienced at Crossroads.
2015 saw even bigger changes for Crossroads, starting with a name change to Bridge Church, building alterations and upgrades and an additional EV Rig for the Main Auditorium. Due to the existing relationship with Prosound and EV, it made sense to continue building with EV and the new ETX was the chosen loudspeaker series and consists of four flown ETX-15’s at the front of the stage, with ETX-10’s as flown side fills. Two more ETX-10’s have been added as delays about mid-way down the length of the venue. Six S-40 front fills are mounted to a ladder truss at the front edge of the stage to add some HF sizzle for the front couple of rows. Two ETX-18s 18” sub woofers handle the majority of the low end enhancement and are installed in the venue’s sub pits to the left and right of the stage, with two more ETX-15s 15” subwoofers being installed at the front of the stage to provide even bass coverage for the entire audience area.
The system is being processed by the existing DC-One from the original installation, but with the Sub-woofers running off a Mono Aux from the Midas M32 Mixing console. Existing Q series amplifiers were also re-used to power the S40 front fills in the main auditorium. The existing SX300’s and SB122 Sub Woofers have been re-used in other venues on the church premises.
Pastor Trevor Coleman agrees that the EV ETX range has proven to be very well-priced value for money, saying that “we have been pleasantly surprised by the powerful but rich quality sound that could be expected from the more high-end systems at a significantly more reasonable price.”