A Whole Heap Of Aspect For Imogen
Oct 31, 2006 2:43 PM
Since her first appearance at a Prince's Trust concert in 1996, Imogen Heap's combination of electronica, alternative pop/rock and Euro-pop has gained critical acclaim and a loyal fan base both from her days with the band Frou Frou and as a solo artist. For her month-long tour of UK venues during September and October, sound rental company ESS employed part of its new Turbosound Aspect system to ensure that none of her musical nuances would be missed.
Gary Brookes is the front-of-house systems engineer for ESS alongside Mike Benson, Imogen's front-of-house engineer, and Darren Connor who handles the monitor position for ESS.
At the Brighton Dome the system comprises eight TA-890H mid/high cabinets flown two wide by two deep a side, plus five TA-890L vertically ground stacked with two TSW-718 double 18 subwoofers aside. "We're using the older 718s to emphasize the real low-end," explains Brookes. "This is a little out of the ordinary, but Turbosound has seen what we're doing, time aligned it and is happy for us to do it.
"We're also using TQ-440 three-way 12-inch speakers on stage for the very nearfield," he says. "Because the TA-890H is quite a narrow box, the TQ-440s work very well at padding out the areas that don't get quite as good coverage, like underneath the balcony where the sight line is disturbed, and right at the front where there's a very nearfield to the sound stage."
The system is powered by Turbosound-badged MC2 T-45 and T-25 amplifiers, with the T-45s powering the subs, lows and low-mids and the T-25s on the mid-highs and highs. Processing is from three XTA DP224 digital signal processors, one for left, one for right and one for the subs. "I haven't designed any crossovers on this myself," says Brookes. "But I know the XTAs sound better and don't run out of processing power like the leading competitor and they have worked perfectly throughout the tour."
Gary has found the physical size of the Aspect system a distinct advantage. "Small boxes mean happy crew, happy rigging and happy shipping," he smiles. "I find setup really easy. I was a little daunted at the start because there are so many different ways you can do this, but in fact it goes together rapidly. A lot of local crew are very happy about that because by the time they've looked at it and seen how to do it, I've done it."
Although at first glance it looks like a relatively small number of loudspeakers to cover venues such as the Dome in Brighton or Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Brookes has no complaints. "This is all the PA we have on the tour and it's ample. It's half of the first batch of Aspect that ESS had delivered, which they split in half to send out on two tours. It's the minimum quota we need and it works really well. It's never been too quiet. We've done venues like Bridgewater Hall and Colston Hall, as well as The Dome, and the system has worked really well in both those rooms.
"The tight control keeps it off the walls in more reverberant spaces. Bridgewater Hall is a very flat hard surface and you can get to the point where you've turned the PA up too much and it saturates the air. But Aspect did well there. The low boxes work really well in columns and if you stack them vertically, as we have done, you get the widest possible horizontal dispersion. When you're flying the system you are restricted, but that's a good thing because Turbosound has done the math, and on the ground we keep it simple.
For more information, visit www.turbosound.com.