A recent concert tour by BT and Thomas Dolby featured live performances presented in 5.1 surround sound via a system headed by EAW NT Series two-way powered (biamplified), DSP-controlled loudspeakers.
The surround concept stemmed from BT’s latest CD, This Binary Universe, recorded in 5.1 surround, which he sought to duplicate in the live realm. As plans commenced, Dolby—best known for the iconic track “She Blinded Me With Science”—also joined the bill. An interesting caveat is that the stage was also supplied with 5.1 surround mixes, with the monitoring system also utilizing NT Series loudspeakers positioned as wedges.
Veteran sound engineer Scott “Goody” Goodwine was tapped to consult on the design of both surround systems as well as to handle house mix duties. The house sound systems at each venue were utilized for left and right main output as well as bass, with 15-inch-loaded NT Series loudspeakers providing the center channel (usually from the front of the stage) as well as up to two rows of left-right surround channels; these were accompanied by dual 12-loaded NTS22 subwoofers to help permeate low-end energy.
“I absolutely love these boxes,” Goody says of the NT Series, which incorporate EAW’s revolutionary Gunness Focusing technology. “They have tremendous throw, particularly for their size. In a lot of venues, we’re easily keeping up with much larger house systems with just a pair of NT Series loudspeakers per side. It’s remarkable.
“The combination of coverage patterns and woofer sizes available with the NT Series came in very handy for our needs with this tour,” he adds. “In some places, we went with 12-inch woofer versions; in others, the optimum choice proved to be 15-inch woofers, while the coverage-pattern options allowed us to maximize coverage at all locations. The various configurations worked perfectly, with the performers loving it.”
The other key system components were dual Mackie TT24 digital consoles, with all stage inputs routed to the TT24 onstage that supplied two discrete surround monitor mixes as well as an additional left-right monitor mix. This TT24 also sent a left-right submix to its partner console at FOH, which Goody then tailored into a cohesive 5.1 mix.