March was a rather busy month here at Grimshaw Audio, with plenty of gigs and some new speakers being built, which will be covered in another blog post.
First up was Glory Days, a Bruce Springsteen tribute act at Henighan's, in Bolton. The main PA speakers were accompanied by a pair of 15" subwoofers and a handful of monitors, with a couple of in-ear monitor systems added in as well. The sound was excellent all night, and the crowd loved it.
Next up was a corporate lunch at Aagrah, Leopold Square, Sheffield. This was to be mostly spoken-word, with some Bollywood dancers later in the afternoon. The main PA system consisted of a pair of the 2x10" speakers, plus a pair of 15" subwoofers. This filled most of the room with excellent sound, with plenty of bass for the dancers. However, the areas immediately to the sides and rear of the stage area needed a little more clarity - the 2x10" tops are designed to throw sound forwards, rather than all-around. So, a pair of newly-finished speakers were brought in to provide a clearer sound to the seats that weren't directly covered by the main speakers.
Phil, the organiser, left this review:
"Hadn't used a sound engineer before and found Chris offered a great service. I chose him because he was local, had excellent references and was reasonably priced. He responded quickly to my initial enquiry and confirmed the booking, contacted me to confirm details a couple of days before and arrived well in advance of the event to set up and test his equipment. The event was a corporate lunch in a restaurant which involved pre-recorded music for a dance troupe and microphone facilities for the guest speaker. The room was an unusual shape with low ceilings and large support pillars. Despite a fairly noisy audience of about 140 people, the equipment did its job without any hitches and Chris was on hand throughout the afternoon. I wouldn't hesitate to use him again."
Later that week, there was an equipment rental at the Night Kitchen in Sheffield. This is more of a DIY venue, where you can bring your own decorations and make the space your own. In this case, the event was a wedding party. To ensure there'd be plenty of volume, the system supplied was a set of four 15" subwoofers, and a pair of large monitors to cover the mid-high range. The system sounded excellent, with a serious amount of bottom-end power.
The following week was a production of Godspell at the Hasland Theatre. I think Joshua's review covers a lot of things well, so I'll briefly discuss the tech side of things. Theatre gigs represent a different set of challenges compared to regular live sound, both in terms of setup and mixing. Cables must be flown to ceiling height if they need to cross the stage, and it's imperative that every actor can be heard - it doesn't matter how good the band sounds if the audience can't hear the lines.
The setup was as follows:
- Pair of 2x10" main speakers as the house speakers. These had the bass reflex port tuning dropped down to 45Hz, so they'd cover the deep bass required without having to add subwoofers. While making the tuning so low does compromise the maximum output available, there was still more than enough volume for this venue.
- 4x 8" coaxial monitors, each on a seperate mix, for the band.
- 2x 6.5" speakers as stage fills so the cast would be able to hear the band while singing as a group.
Joshua's review is below:
"This was my first time using Chris and it was for a musical theatre production of 'Godspell' at the Hasland Theatre. Chris came recommended by a friend of mine (Adam Parrish) after he did the sound engineering for a concert Adam had recently done with Gordon Giltrap. Well what can I say - Chris did an amazing job! He came along for a preliminary meeting with me where we looked around the venue, talked about the requirements for the show which included a live 4 piece band and 10 wireless headset radio mics. Chris then gave a full explanation of what equipment he thought was required to make a great sound within the venue, how much time he would have to dedicate to the project and from that came up with a quote for us. We confirmed it all over email and then it was just a matter of waiting for show week to roll around. This came at the end of March and Chris arrived with all the equipment he needed and got set up ready to go. It was great that the equipment he had was all digital and took up a very small amount of space and that he was able to control it all from his iPad at the back of the theatre, since there was literally no room for him to be anywhere else. Several of the band members commented on how great it was that Chris asked them before every show about their individual monitor mixes, if anything needed changing, if Chris needed to be aware of any issues from previous nights etc and are still talking about it now as something like that which seems really obvious and simple makes a huge difference to those playing and performing. Nothing was too much trouble for Chris even when I had to ask for some additional monitors to be placed on the stage as the actors were struggling to hear the musicians he just turned up with speaker stands and monitors and got them plugged in and ready for the following nights performance. Amazing! It is also important to note Chris's attitude throughout the entire process. Putting on a musical is an exceedingly stressful thing to do and I was having to think about a lot of things throughout the run, but Chris remained calm, level-headed and had a very calming presence which was commented on by several cast members and others within the creative team, which is just what you want in a high stress environment. He was great to work with and lots of laughs were had throughout the week amongst the whole team who he worked well with. A very quick and speedy break down and get out on the Saturday night wrapped everything up nicely. Thanks so much for the time and effort you put into making our show sound amazing and we really cannot wait to be working with you again hopefully in the very near future."
While the final gig technically happened in April, it was on the Sunday of the last weekend in March, so I'm going to tag it along here anyway.
This one was back to Chicago's at Hanley for another big-name act - Tinchy Stryder. The main PA system installed there is more than enough for the job at hand, so the only requirement was a stage monitor system suitable for the act. This was to include a powerful side-fill system as well as a set of monitors across the front of the stage. The venue supplied the DJ monitor and decks at the far left.
A set of wireless handheld mics and the 16-channel digital mixing desk rounded out the system perfectly.
It was great to work with such a big name act, and I look forward to working at Chicago's again in the future.