Dec 22, 2004

Musicians & Bands


--The growing influence of musician, writer and producer Tony Moore in breaking new talent at The Bedford in Balham — where the Shakespearean Globe Theatre is now packed four nights a week — has led to a radical overhaul of the performance infrastructure, including the live sound mix.

“We’ve always tried to work with the best gear that’s available at the time,” says Tony, “but the shows at The Globe can be quite complex in their line-ups.” However, the new Soundcraft GB Series, he says, is sufficiently flexible to mix any line-up — from a solo acoustic singer-songwriter to a full band ensemble.

“We have 32 channels of line or mic input plus stereo channels, so instead of using channel returns for FX we can these stereo channels and returns for stereo FX returns without losing any of the 32 channel inputs.”

He continues, “Having that number of channels and sub groups — plus aux sends — gives us the chance to give everyone a great mix, and is simple for any of our three house engineers to operate. It’s remarkably efficient for such a small footprint desk and provides good control level reference even under low-light conditions.”

The GB Series is augmented by a generously specified outboard rack which helps them to achieve their goal of “the ultimate hi-fi sound quality for the vocal and acoustic instruments.”

The new system set-up includes two four channel BSS compressors. “These are brilliantly workmanlike; because we have so many band instruments coming through the mix it’s important to be able to limit and compress the sound without affecting the quality of the performance.”

On top of that, a five-way monitor mix has every channel assigned to a BSS graphic. “In that way we can contour the sound for everyone so that they get the chance to be heard in the correct way.”

Tony sums up the characteristics of the 250-seat room. “Sonically it’s pretty straightforward and we have created what we hope is a unique room sound; there’s no standing waves because there’s no parallel walls, and the combination of the wood, sails on the ceiling and curtains in the windows gives the room quite an absorbed, controllable live sound, although sometimes we have to look out for bass traps.”

Tony has a long association with Soundcraft, and also uses a Powerstation 1200 (and BSS graphics) in the upstairs Tavistock Room for acoustic performers, as well as GigRac powered mixers in the smaller rooms.

His endeavours to give emerging bands a platform (and record company A&R men a permanent shop window) was recognised recently when he was inducted into the Music Managers Forum Roll of Honour, with the nomination for an ‘Outstanding Contribution to British Music’ award.

This has led to him being asked to present the Acoustic Stage at MIDEM 2005 in Cannes next month — and some further shows for the BMI and Gibson Guitars.

Meanwhile new talent, like Lucie Silvas continues to perform at The Bedford — although if Tony has one hot tip, it is Beulah Garside. “We put on her first gig at The Bedford before she was signed, and now she has finished her debut album at Air Studios we will also be the first to get her back down here.”

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