Musician, writer and producer Tony Moore has been breaking new talent at The Bedford in Balham (UK), where the Shakespearean Globe Theatre is now filled four nights a week. Moore has also inspired a radical overhaul of the performance infrastructure, including the live sound mix.
"We've always tried to work with the best gear that's available at the time," says Moore, "but the shows at The Globe can be quite complex in their lineups." However, the new Soundcraft GB Series, he says, is sufficiently flexible to mix any lineup, from a solo acoustic singer/songwriter to a full-band ensemble.
"We have 32 channels of line or mic inputs, plus four stereo channels, so instead of using channel returns for effects, we can dedicate four stereo channel returns for four stereo effects returns without losing any of the 32-channel inputs."
He continues, "Having that number of channels and subgroups, plus aux sends, gives us the chance to give everyone a great mix, and is simple for any of our three house engineers to operate. It's remarkably efficient for such a small-footprint desk and provides good control level reference even under low-light conditions."
The GB Series is augmented by a generously specified outboard rack, which helps The Bedford achieve its goal of "the ultimate hi-fi sound quality for the vocal and acoustic instruments."
The new system setup includes two 4-channel BSS compressors. "These are brilliantly workman-like. Because we have so many band instruments coming through the mix, it's important to be able to limit and compress the sound without affecting the quality of the performance."
On top of that, a five-way monitor mix has every channel assigned to a BSS graphic. "In that way, we can contour the sound for everyone so that they get the chance to be heard in the correct way."
Moore sums up the characteristics of the 250-seat room. "Sonically, it's pretty straightforward and we have created what we hope is a unique room sound; there are no standing waves because there are no parallel walls, and the combination of the wood, sails on the ceiling and curtains in the windows gives the room quite an absorbed, controllable live sound, although sometimes we have to look out for bass traps."
Moore has a long association with using Soundcraft desks, and also uses a Powerstation 1200 (and BSS graphics) in the upstairs Tavistock Room for acoustic performers.
For more information on Soundcraft, please go to www.soundcraft.com. For more touring news, visit mixonline.com/livesound/tours.