Praise for ArrayProcessing at New York’s Apollo and Carnegie.
When John Mellencamp’s latest tour stopped off at the world famous Carnegie Hall, and Apollo Theater, both venues chose the occasion to experiment with ArrayProcessing, the new software tool for enhancing the tonal balance of d&b line arrays. “The two auditoriums are as different as their history,” said acoustic consultant Tom Clark of Acme Professional Inc. “Carnegie is a purpose built concert hall meant to support acoustic performance, so it’s lively, though there is not a lot of late reverb’. In that respect it is great for the performer. The Apollo is very different, it has much more damping thanks to the plush upholstery, and it’s also not so high or so deep.”
While Eighth Day Sound (EDS) supported the Mellencamp tour and provided the system for Carnegie, Clark had recently specified a d&b V-Series system for The Apollo, a permanent installation universally welcomed by all who have played there since.
Bill Sheppell has mixed front of house for Mellencamp since 2007. “I’ve not done Carnegie before and it was a bit different from what I’m used to doing on this tour because of weight restrictions. We had to use a small truss that is mid/downstage to hang the system, so we flew a small Y-Series rig off it. That’s a new system from d&b I’d not used before, so besides using ArrayProcessing for the first time, using another box was another variable.
“The impact was immediate and easily noticeable on the floor. Because of the truss position and the fact you had to fly the system high to get the coverage over Carnegie’s high balconies, ArrayProcessing didn’t have to shade the lower boxes so much, which added to the consistent coverage. Listening from front to back of the floor, the sound was very even. What impressed me most was when I went up to the top row of the highest balcony during Carlene Carter’s opening set. For the first time ever in all my years of doing this, did the top row sound like the rest of the premium seats down below? Yes. I found her vocal and the sound of her acoustic guitar sounded just like it did at the mix position down below, it was just right there. That’s really impressive.”
But what of the less reverberant Apollo? “We had the same listening opportunities at Apollo and achieved the same results. To me it sounded really good at the console, even though the mix position is under the balcony. So after we’d done the first show I went and spoke with Ollie Cotton, the house sound engineer, and asked him, ‘What do you think of the system now, with ArrayProcessing?’ He seemed very pleased, and any concerns that he may have had concerning changes to the existing, great sounding rig, were pretty much laid to rest.
“A good example of ArrayProcessing getting things in your face and upfront was when John did his acoustic stuff, when he gets really quiet. An old friend FoH engineer once advised me, ‘When it gets quiet, make it really quiet and make the audience lean in and listen.’ That’s what I did and we could hear every nuance. I’m looking forward to when I can take ArrayProcessing out for every show and I’m already talking to EDS about that.”
Tom Clark and Acme partner Pete Cosmos also saw the benefits of the new software feature. “Pete contributed to our design solution for The Apollo install so he’s well placed to judge,” said Clark. “He noted improvements in quality and level over distance, and said it sounded warmer in a good way, especially in the upper reaches of the room. In general I was astonished by the speed taken to implement ArrayProcessing. The Apollo are very proud of the fact they were selected for this experiment; General Manager, Joe Levy and The Apollo audio crew enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to collaborate with d&b and Acme to modify the rig. The reviews of the sound for the Mellencamp shows were just excellent.”