Hollywood Bowl Upgrades With Lake Contour

Jun 24, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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The famous Hollywood Bowl has installed the first eight of a total 18 Lake Contour digital speaker processors in preparation for its summer 2003 concert schedule. The Lake Contour units—which incorporate a set of DSP-based equalization and processing tools, including crossovers, dynamics and delays—are being used to optimize the entire sound reinforcement system at the venue, which seats nearly 18,000 and is one of the world's largest natural amphitheaters.

Lake Contour's Contour Controller software interface provides management of all processor functions remotely via a wireless touchscreen, which, according to newly appointed sound designer Fred Vogler, is especially useful in such a large venue. "The conventional way that you tune a system is that you have somebody on a radio at the processor and somebody maybe at the amplifiers adjusting the gain there, then you're walking the house and communicating via radio to these folks. It's rather slow and cumbersome.

"It's also a less-than-exact science," he continued. "You're not really sure when you say, 'Give me a another click up,' just what a 'click' is. The Lake system is nice because the information you need is all right in front of you: the amount of gain, the amount of equalization. And you're able to make quick changes anywhere in the house and hear them as you're doing it."

The sound system at the Hollywood Bowl comprises a main LCR setup with additional deck-stacked left-right coverage, plus frontfill, distributed infill and delay systems. With the exception of five Ramsa cabinets on the stage-front apron and a number of Meyer Sound subwoofers, the system consists of various combinations of Sound Image four-way V/WG and two-way G1 and G2 cabinets, plus subwoofers, all powered by QSC EX amplifiers. Yamaha PM1D digital consoles handle FOH and monitor duties, with a Yamaha DM2000 supplementing at FOH.

Vogler, an engineer with an extensive live sound and music and film recording background, initially contacted his friend Bruce Jackson, former FOH engineer for Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand, for ideas to improve the performance of the Bowl's sound system. Jackson, who is also VP of R&D at Lake Technology, suggested Lake Contour. ATK AudioTek Corporation's VP of engineering, Scott Harmala, and senior engineer Patrick Baltzell are typically brought in to tune the sound system at the Bowl each year. "For a systems tech or engineer, there's nothing more liberating than being able to walk around a venue and have complete control of the system at your fingertips," said Harmala. "It's the best way to fine-tune a system. The fact that the GUI is really functional, plus the wireless mobility, is a great combination."

For more on Lake Contour, visit www.lake.com. View the Hollywood Bowl's summer season lineup at www.hollywoodbowl.org.

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