When Queen Latifah opened this summer’s Jazz at the Bowl series at the Hollywood Bowl, her front-of-house engineer, Rob Treloar (pictured), decided to try out a Manley VOXBOX in rehearsal. He notes that Latifah has “one of those voices most FOH engineers dream of: loud, full, and topped off by excellent microphone technique.”
Treloar says that the VOXBOX “sounded fantastic. So I brought it over to the Bowl, used it there, and it just sounded unbelievable.” Plus, the venue has a brand-new, multimillion-dollar sound system. “It was wonderful to be able to use that device and hear it through that system. It’s probably one of the most expensive systems in the world now.”
Treloar says he knew just what he wanted for Queen Latifah’s voice. “I used to work for a very high-end audio design company, and I was brought up listening to components that were analog and sounded incredible. My ears were spoiled at an early age, and I wanted to hear that kind of sound, that warmth with clarity on Queen Latifah’s voice. The EQ was so smooth. I was able to tailor her voice perfectly and there was absolutely no harshness that many digital EQs introduce.”
The VOXBOX also has a de-essing feature that reduces sibilance without affecting the overall EQ.
“The use of Class-A electronics definitely played a role [in turning to Manley],” Treloar says. “Utilizing the preamp on the VOXBOX, I plugged it directly into her channel on the board. I was immediately floored.
“The VOXBOX made my life a joy at FOH,” Treloar says, noting how Queen Latifah would go from the whisper-quiet of “Poetry Man” to the roar of full-on rap “U.N.I.T.Y.” “I could mix and not have to hover on her channel constantly.”
Noting that although a lot of onboard compressors on digital consoles are good, “if you don’t set them perfectly, you can hear them working, but the VOXBOX was just seamless,” Treloar adds. “You couldn’t hear it working, but it was there, doing its job, which was very impressive.
“This is a piece of quality gear, and you know it when you’re working with it,” Treloar concludes. “You can just feel it. A lot of people don’t really understand what we do as engineers. It’s nice to have a company that works with us, lets us try things and listens. Really friendly people, and very accommodating. It was a great experience.”
For more information, go to www.manley.com/mvbx.php.