For anyone serious about touring a great sound system on a controlled budget, the sound package provided by RG Jones for Katherine Jenkins’ 2016 tour has to be a serious contender. Small, swift and sonically excellent, the system enabled RG’s to fill every venue on the tour with perfect fidelity. And it can rock too!
RG Jones has been working with KJ since 2010, and the world’s biggest classical singer knows she can trust us when it comes to delivering world class reproduction of her world class vocal chords. December 2016 saw Katherine touring the UK (with a quick sortie to Cork in Southern Ireland) to promote her Celebration album, her 12th No.1 in the UK classical charts - a serious achievement in anyone’s book.
RG’s long-time client Raymond Gubbay, promoting the UK dates, required a space-efficient, budget-efficient sound solution that would deliver in venues as diverse as the acoustically intimate Southend Pavilions, the surprisingly expansive Southampton Mayflower, the unnecessarily reverberant Manchester Bridgewater Hall and the orange grandeur of Birmingham Symphony Hall.
The audio package put together for the tour more than fulfilled the job description. Enter Martin Audio’s extraordinary MLA Mini, the loudspeaker system that never fails to put a smile on your face. 24 of these diminutive powerhouses formed the basis of a highly flexible main system, with its multiple configurations allowing it to fit into any role, and when flown 12 deep with its core MSX power-pack it provides a massive amount of output for such a small, lightweight system. Even in the largest venues on the tour, coverage was full and intimate right to the very back row of the furthest balcony. A complementary set of DD12 and DD6 fills ensured that the sonic footprint was consistent throughout the entire system.
The control package was a fine example of what digital audio technology should be – compact, versatile and designed to deliver the highest quality audio without compromise. At the core was a Yamaha QL-5 with an external Soundgrid server running Waves, which amongst other things enabled FOH engineer Simon Honywill to make the show sound deceptively expensive, aided by a stage full of DPA microphones of course. The QL connected to the stage via Dante over fibre, utilising RG’s new Focusrite RedNet converters, and the entire system was running at 48kHz from the moment the mic signals hit the stage rack. No glitching, no clocking issues, no interface problems, just pure, unadulterated digital audio all the way to the loudspeakers. Monitors were mixed from FOH with the help of Yamaha’s excellent remote software on an iPad, allowing Simon to stand with Katherine during sound checks and respond immediately and personally to her needs in real time rather than guessing from the back of the theatre.
With Matt Sussex running the system, and Ian Threllfall on stage this was a crack team of KJ regulars. Aside from the pursuit of audio excellence, there were other important issues to consider however, namely great coffee, craft beer and good food. Threllfall’s shares in Brewdog certainly look healthier after Birmingham and Manchester, and next time anyone is in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, make sure you visit 92° just over the road for the finest coffee money can buy.