UK Idols Upgrades Sound System

Dec 19, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors

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Currently undergoing its second season in the UK, Pop Idols is relying on the same live production team, but upgrading its equipment specs. In addition to Midas consoles and Klark Teknik processing, the show has also added a Helix system and the DN1248 Plus microphone splitters.

Pictured from left is Klark-Teknik’s Richard Ferriday, FOH engineer Martin Dineley, Audio Village’s Barry Mizen and monitor engineer Fred Jackson

Barry Mizen of Audio Village was responsible for putting together the team that looks after all of the live sound elements of the Pop Idol production at London’s Fountain Studios. As well as acting as sound coordinator, he also mixes all of the chat and the judges vocals, sharing the desk with engineer Martin Dineley who handles the music numbers. Mizen explained that last year, there was a Heritage 1000 console at front of house with a 24-channel stretch for band week. This year, a 48-channel Heritage 3000 was supplied at FOH for the duration of the show. The crew also has a rack of four DN1248 Plus mic splitters to send feeds off to the broadcast team.

As FOH engineer Martin Dineley pointed out, “It makes far more sense for us to have the Heritage 3000 here permanently because it gives us greater flexibility and more outputs, and when you’re effectively sharing the console, as I am with Barry, the more outputs we have, the easier it is for us both. We had the budget to do it, so it was a no-brainer really.”

Monitor engineer Fred Jackson said this of his system: “In monitor world, I’m still using my trusty H3K as I did last year, but the difference is that I have upgraded my DN360s, which were great, by the way, to 10 channels of Helix. I have to say, I really love this system. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—the amount of space this device saves in your racks is phenomenal. I’ve condensed what used to be two large racks of outboard gear into just six units, and in a TV studio where space is always at a premium, that is a massive plus point.

“From a functionality point of view, I’m also finding Helix a really useful and efficient tool. We have a hugely reflective set here at Pop Idol; the wedges alone are housed underneath four different types of metal grating, which adds some nasty reflections, so you can imagine the fun we’ve been having to make that sound good! The notch filters have really come into their own here to nip out all the nasty frequencies and leave me with a nice curve that I can then work with to best effect. Better still, once you’ve achieved that controlled curve, you can hide all the work you’ve done to achieve it in what I call the back pages of the menu structure and forget about it. Then if you have a visiting engineer coming in, you can leave him with a flat graphic equalizer and a familiar control surface and just let him get on with it, and everyone’s happy. The fact that everything is recallable is also a great boon because it means that each week I can get back to the basics. Being able to recall previous settings saves an enormous amount of time. Another function I like is the auto-solo link between the Heritage 3000 and the Helix system. It’s great to be able to see your input or output EQ on the desk displayed on the master Helix unit at the touch of a button. You can see at a glance exactly how the land lies, and, of course, you have all the functionality of Helix with which to manipulate the signal if you like. I’m all in favor of tools that make my job easier, and Helix has become part of my own main stable of inventory for monitor control.”

For more, visit www.klark-teknik.com.






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