Live Sound

Sound for Jazzfest 2011

The 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, also known as Jazzfest, recently wrapped up another successful run with 12 stages cranking out music for an estimated 400,000 fans. Chris Brown, whose c 8/02/2011 9:47 AM Eastern

The 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, also known as Jazzfest, recently wrapped up another successful run with 12 stages cranking out music for an estimated 400,000 fans. Chris Brown, whose company, New Orleans–based SOUNd CHeK, handled sound for the Fais Do Do stage. Two APB-DynaSonics Spectra Ti consoles, one for FOH and one for monitors, were brought into service, with Mike Montero handling the FOH board and Brown taking on monitors.

In addition to setting up, tearing down and often mixing six bands per day, the crew of HBO’s hit show Treme was at the stage with four cameras shooting footage for future episodes. A submixed 2-track feed was provided by SOUNd CHeK via the APB console at FOH.

Brown, who has a 32-year history at Jazzfest, says, “This stage is not that big and many of the acts have lots of players, instrumentation and gear. Getting the previous band off the stage quickly is the challenge. There is no soundcheck and the person mixing has half-a-song to get it right. In these conditions with this variety of acts, digital consoles can actually slow things down. Also, the dynamics run from quiet acoustic performances to full-on Zydeco, which can be deafening at times. Visiting sound mixers appreciated being able to quickly and easily see what was going on with faders and knobs.”

Handing sound for two other stages was The Sound Source (Metairie, La.). Company owner/lead audio engineer Tim Kilbride brought in a JBL VerTec VR4886 subcompact line array for the event. For each of the stages, five JBL VR4886 loudspeakers were hung per side, with VRX932LA Constant Curvature Series loudspeakers for front-fills and out-fills, as well as SRX712M speakers for onstage monitoring.

“This is our third year using VerTec loudspeakers at Jazzfest,” says Kilbride. “We’ve been extremely happy with their performance. The quality of the sound VerTec produces is extremely accurate. In fact, the VerTec arrays provided exceptional sound even under less-than-ideal circumstances. The Lagniappe Stage, one of the stages where we worked, is in a very non-acoustical-friendly area, and the P.A. also shoots directly into a large tent that is located about 40 feet from the front edge of the stage. Ordinarily, this would be a sonic nightmare, but we were able to supplement the main system with some VRX cabinets on a delay line at the front inside edge of the tent, which greatly improved intelligibility. We also used additional SRX712M speakers as out-fills for the outer seating areas, which further improved the sound.” Other gear brought in by The Sound Source were Soundcraft Vi1 and Si compact digital mixing consoles, BSS Audio BCS-960 EQs and dbx 160A comp/limiters.