Ambition, drive, innovation – all words you’d normally associate with the corporate world, totally “anti” the Glasto ethos, right? Well, what if this description was about a sound system at Glastonbury? Let’s look at this in more detail…
Imagine a place where you could dance the night away, totally enveloped in an ever changing, totally immersive music bubble – different elements of the amazing audio shifting and developing all around you – no need to face a stage, no need to find the front speakers to get the vibe – it’s everywhere. This was the ambitious plan for the Glade at Glastonbury 2017 – a fully featured multi-channel surround sound system that could envelop you no matter where you stood in the area.
If this sounds like an overly-flowery concept, then let’s put some weight behind the word “Innovation” and explain a little more…
Using six discrete channels of audio, the system was designed to work with multi-channel audio files, as well as be able to create six channels of audio from a single stereo feed. It achieved this through clever use of phase inversion, summing and band pass filtering to extract basslines, vocals, reverb effects, instrument bands and backing vocals. Find out more about how the phase reversal technique works (in its crudest but still very effective) from here. Some source material lends itself very well to being treated in this way, and when certain elements are extracted and panned around a six channel system, the results can be mesmerising.
At this point let’s get back to the reality of the set-up and look at how this was achieved at the Glade this year.
Funktion One, those purveyors of the best in dance music systems, worked in conjunction with Sound Services, a leading provider of DJ equipment hire and sound system hire based in London (and of course us) to realise this multi channel audio environment, which also extended to out-fills and a significant sub-bass system, and our all new Delta amplifiers were chosen to power this amazing set-up.
Everything revolved around the six channel concept and consisted of main left and right mid high stacks built from three Evo7T, three Evo7TL-215, and three Evo7TH cabinets. The four other speaker positions were built from three Evo6, and F215 (Mk2), and three F121. System bass was designed around an asymmetric plan using twelve F121 positioned left of the main stage, and four F132 and a pair of F121 stage right. It would be safe to say we’ve covered “Ambition” a this stage!
For a relatively modest stage and dance area, this is arguably a pretty substantial number of speakers to manage, power and control. So let’s consider that final word – “Drive”…
Fully embracing Dante audio networking as the choice of audio transport, be that from source material on a mac, to audio transmission to all the connected amplifiers the new Delta Series handled all speaker processing, including the tricky alignment and phasing that a six point surround system required.
Tony Andrews, Funktion One’s founder, explains. “We had the luxury of a two hour soundcheck, which meant we could maximise our [asymmetric] bass set-up and get the ambisonics surround dialled in nicely.”
Using a combination of the latest AudioCore “Amped Edition” and DeltaDirect on the iPad, the main system crossover settings could be sent to all amps, using AudioCore on a wired Ethernet connection (or wireless if required). It was then a quick switch to wireless control with DeltaDirect to fine tune with the added advantage of moving freely about the entire audience space.
Tony continues “The new Dante enabled Delta amps sound incredible, and it’s made doing the ambisonics the most straightforward it’s ever been. With six positions to deal with, all with multiple individual drive channels, and separate input and crossover set-ups to consider, what could have been a nightmare became very easy. These amps make it very easy – the best it’s ever been in this regard.”
Richard Fleming, Technical Sales for MC² was on hand to assist with the initial system configuration. He just can’t get enough of the powerful combination of “AudioCore + App” as a way of simplifying workflow.
“Both AudioCore and DeltaDirect have a grouping architecture built into their very core, and being able to set up groups to control relative levels, delays and even limiters of different parts of the system, as well as EQ groups and have this all remembered by the amps makes for a much less stressful setup!”
Let’s finish off the “Drive” with the power amp side of things – a combination of Delta amplifiers and XTA’s APA amplifiers were used to control and power the entire system, with Deltas being front and centre as break in to the Dante network and on duty for mid/top of the “front stage” system, with aux outputs on one Delta 80-DSP being used to configure and control the active F132 sub-bass cabs. Additional bass duties and the “remote” four surround stacks were each powered by a local APA, picking up Dante audio from the network.
Richard was working alongside, confusingly, another Rich namely Mr. Rich Cufley – Technical Director at Sound Services – who enthused further about not just the convenience and features of the Delta amps, but also how good they sounded.
“We’ve been long time fans of both MC² amps and XTA processing, so to finally get our hands on a product than combines both with so many new innovations is just brilliant! There’s been no compromise at all, in fact the amps are the best sounding I have heard from the MC stable (sic).”
He continued, “Throw into the mix all the new powerful remote control possibilities of the amp’s processing, the Dante, AND the amazing grouping – they are a huge leap forward for us and the sound just keeps getting better!”
Last word must go to one of the many DJs and performers who felt that this unique system shouldn’t go unappreciated and tweeted shortly after a performance: