Friday, May 23, 2008

Na Setup Day

Friday’s purpose was to get the Na main sound system up-and-running, and we got that mostly done by around 4:30p after a full day of box pushing, cable running, desk tipping, and minor noise making. You can see pictures of the room transformation here.

We are again using what has become the standard Na setup: Two Yamaha PM5D consoles at FOH and monitor world; a stereo JBL Vertec line array speaker system with twelve double-15” subwoofers.

I asked if we could arrange the subwoofers differently this year, using a technique that I learned from some friends at Clark ProMedia. Due to some limitations in space and cabling, we weren't able to do this as purely as I had hoped. However, we are going to try a close alternate. We placed four sub sources (three subs stacked) across the front of the stage at 7.5-foot intervals. I hope we'll find three benefits to this setup:
  • At that distance, the subwoofers combine additively at 80Hz, which is the punchy part of the sub frequency.
  • The group of subs then becomes a type of horizontal line array that also helps steer the sound away from the stage and into the audience just a little.
  • Finally, it spreads the subwoofer energy across the front of the audience, removing the power pockets in front of the pile of six subs on each side.
While we confirmed functionality of all the flown speakers, I haven't actually heard the system in action yet. We'll kick that in around 9:00a tomorrow, and I'm excited to hear the Vertecs again.

I love working on the PM5D. To be honest, the 5D is the only digital console I have experienced, so I’m not trying to make a statement of it’s comparative worth to other digital mixers. I just like it.

I did learn one thing this last year: input assignments for “fader-flip” mixers are important when you are used to mixing on analog mixers. I moved some things around this year to get my most-needed channel sliders on the front 24 channels of the mixer. No more flip-flip-flip-flip-flip all session long.

CTS Audio is the contractor providing the equipment, and I’m always grateful for their help. I'm also inspired by their ingenuity. Covenant Life stole the design of their stage power boxes and adapted it for our purposes. They have some really cool road cases, too.

Mike from CTS was great to work with, and we have a Na newcomer, Daniel, running monitors. Schwartz will arrive tonight and tune up the system in the morning. If you're coming to the conference, don't forget to thank these guys for their contribution.

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