Since her first appearance at a Prince's Trust concert in 1996, Imogen Heap's combination of electronica, alternative pop/rock and Euro-pop has gained critical acclaim and a loyal fan base both from her days with the band Frou Frou and as a solo artist. For her month-long tour of UK venues during September and October, sound rental company ESS employed part of its new Turbosound Aspect system to ensure that none of her musical nuances would be missed.
Gary Brookes is the front-of-house systems engineer for ESS, alongside Mike Benson, Imogen's FOH engineer, and Darren Connor, who handles the monitor position for ESS.
At the Brighton Dome, the system comprised eight TA-890H mid/high cabinets flown two wide by two deep a side, plus five TA-890L vertically ground-stacked with two TSW-718 double-18 subwoofers aside. "We're using the older 718s to emphasize the real low end," explains Brookes. "This is a little out of the ordinary, but Turbosound has seen what we're doing, time-aligned it and is happy for us to do it.
"We're also using TQ-440 three-way 12-inch speakers onstage for the very near-field," he continues. "Because the TA-890H is quite a narrow box, the TQ-440s work very well at padding out the areas that don't get quite as good coverage, like underneath the balcony where the sight line is disturbed, and right at the front where there's a very near-field to the sound stage."
The system is powered by Turbosound MC2 T-45 and T-25 amplifiers, with the T-45s powering the subs, lows and low-mids and, the T-25s on the mid-highs and highs. Processing is from three XTA DP224 digital signal processors: one for left, one for right and one for the subs. "I haven't designed any crossovers on this myself," says Brookes, "but I know the XTAs sound better and don't run out of processing power and they have worked perfectly throughout the tour."
Brookes also notes the Aspect's size: "Small boxes mean happy crew, happy rigging and happy shipping. I find setup really easy. I was a little daunted at the start because there are so many different ways you can do this, but in fact, it goes together rapidly. A lot of local crew are very happy about that because by the time they've looked at it and seen how to do it, I've done it."