The famous Hollywood Bowl has installed the first eight of a total18 Lake Contour digital speaker processors in preparation for itssummer 2003 concert schedule. The Lake Contour units—whichincorporate a set of DSP-based equalization and processing tools,including crossovers, dynamics and delays—are being used tooptimize the entire sound reinforcement system at the venue, whichseats nearly 18,000 and is one of the world's largest naturalamphitheaters.
Lake Contour's Contour Controller software interface providesmanagement of all processor functions remotely via a wirelesstouchscreen, which, according to newly appointed sound designer FredVogler, is especially useful in such a large venue. "The conventionalway that you tune a system is that you have somebody on a radio at theprocessor and somebody maybe at the amplifiers adjusting the gainthere, then you're walking the house and communicating via radio tothese folks. It's rather slow and cumbersome.
"It's also a less-than-exact science," he continued. "You're notreally sure when you say, 'Give me a another click up,' just what a'click' is. The Lake system is nice because the information you need isall right in front of you: the amount of gain, the amount ofequalization. And you're able to make quick changes anywhere in thehouse and hear them as you're doing it."
The sound system at the Hollywood Bowl comprises a main LCR setupwith additional deck-stacked left-right coverage, plus frontfill,distributed infill and delay systems. With the exception of five Ramsacabinets on the stage-front apron and a number of Meyer Soundsubwoofers, the system consists of various combinations of Sound Imagefour-way V/WG and two-way G1 and G2 cabinets, plus subwoofers, allpowered by QSC EX amplifiers. Yamaha PM1D digital consoles handle FOHand monitor duties, with a Yamaha DM2000 supplementing at FOH.
Vogler, an engineer with an extensive live sound and music and filmrecording background, initially contacted his friend Bruce Jackson,former FOH engineer for Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and BarbraStreisand, for ideas to improve the performance of the Bowl's soundsystem. Jackson, who is also VP of R&D at Lake Technology,suggested Lake Contour. ATK AudioTek Corporation's VP of engineering,Scott Harmala, and senior engineer Patrick Baltzell are typicallybrought in to tune the sound system at the Bowl each year. "For asystems tech or engineer, there's nothing more liberating than beingable to walk around a venue and have complete control of the system atyour fingertips," said Harmala. "It's the best way to fine-tune asystem. The fact that the GUI is really functional, plus the wirelessmobility, is a great combination."