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Feeling the Beat at Bay Beats

FOH Staff • News • September 20, 2006

SINGAPORE–After several years hosting the annual Bay Beats festival, a concentrated exposition of local south-east Asian talent featuring five "Indie" bands a day for three days, this year a decision was taken by Singapore's Esplanade Theatres on the Bay to purchase a large format line array to cater for the festival's audio needs. "As the festival's popularity has grown we have experimented with a couple of systems, most recently the Q-Series system from d&b audiotechnik," said Esplanade's Head of Sound, Robin Shuttleworth. "We use d&b loudspeakers extensively throughout the Esplanade complex, C7 and C4 cabinets as well as the Q, but my decision to purchase a new system for Bay Beats was influenced by several considerations, not just the needs of the festival."

Shuttleworth's responsibilities include the Esplanade Concert Hall, Recital Studios, Theatre, Powerhouse and a dedicated outdoor space. "The festival is staged at our Powerhouse venue and though the Q loudspeakers serve us well, I also wanted a system for use in our Theatre venue for the occasional rock concert we stage there. As such it needed to be powerful but not too large as the proscenium is relatively narrow, and it needed to be fast and easy to rig."

Two years earlier Shuttleworth had attended a prototype demonstration of d&b's new J-Series loudspeaker systems at the company's factory in Backnang, Germany. "I was convinced then that this was the system to fulfilL all our needs, but I still wanted some evidence as how best to rig it for our varied productions." Sebastian Song who heads up d&b audiotechnik in Singapore invited Shuttleworth to the UK for the J-Series premier event, The Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in the spring of 2006. "London based service company Entec Sound and Lighting are, like us, confirmed d&b users; for the Albert Hall they hung the J-Series line array with the J-SUBs flown alongside. The Albert Hall is a difficult room but Entec did an excellent job and what I heard really confirmed my decision."

Since delivery the Esplanade's new J-Series loudspeakers have seen action at Bay Beats and in the Theatre for a concert by Scottish rock wizards Mogwai. "The demands of these two were very different," explained Shuttleworth, "and we found that, in fact, stage stacked rather than flown SUBs works best at both locations, which is the configuration we also used later for the Singapore National Day celebrations. Though some low-end power is sacrificed with stage stacked SUBs through not coupling them to the ground, the overall solution is best for even coverage. If extended low-end is needed we can always add B2s."

"The system exhibits d&b audiotechnik's distinctive flat frequency response, and using the ROPE C Remote control software to set the CPL function within the D12 amplifiers, attenuates that difficult low-mid coupling so typical of all line array systems. We have also experimented with CSA mode for the SUBs; a low end pattern control solution that worked incredibly well in removing all bass back lobe'ing from both stages. Over all the results have been extremely pleasing; to be frank I can't wait to try out the J-Series in our show case venue the Concert Hall."

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