The latest production by the Blue Man Group opened at the new Panasonic Theatre in Toronto in mid-June. The new show incorporates elements from various Blue Man Group productions, creating an all-new hybrid designed specifically for theatres in the 700-1000 seat range. Toronto-based PA Plus specified a range of equipment from Midas and Klark Teknik for the show.
PA Plus Project Manager Rob Kennedy discussed why Midas was the console of choice: “PA Plus was responsible for the entire performance audio system installation. The Panasonic Theatre is a brand new venue on the site of the former New Yorker Theatre in Toronto. Because of the extremely tight construction schedule of the building, we literally loaded in while the walls were still going up. We were very worried about the concrete and drywall dust that was covering everything and everyone. The Midas consoles performed extremely well under these conditions. We had no failures, and our client was happy to have everything functioning when it needed to be.”
Kennedy continued: “Ross Humphrey, Blue Man Group’s Sound Designer, specified Midas consoles from the beginning, and we were happy to fill that spec with a Heritage 3000, Verona 320 and Venice 320 consoles. Roger Psutka opened the show as FOH engineer, and is Audio Department Head at the theatre. Roger is also a big fan of Midas consoles. Obviously high quality sound is essential to the impact a physical show like this makes on the audience. We know Midas can deliver the goods in that department. We’ve had great success over the years renting our Midas consoles to local, regional and national shows and tours of all types. They’re always reliable and nothing sounds better, so they’re always out there working. The addition of the Venice and Verona to the product line really broadens the range of applications to which we can bring Midas-quality sound. We’re using three different types of Midas with Blue Man Group, to more precisely address their production needs with the sonic performance they’ve come to expect.”
Sound Designer & Sound Supervisor Ross Humphrey has worked with Blue Man group since 1999 – the year the show went both big time in Vegas and won its first Grammy award. Humphrey designed the Las Vegas, Berlin and Toronto shows, and maintains the sound designs for all the Blue Man Group productions. He also recorded the audio for the Blue Man Group’s live DVD. This combination of live mixing and recording experience means Humphrey chooses Midas consoles year after year:
“The new show is especially powerful, as it’s in such an intimate setting, compared to the large, rock concert scale productions we do. I toured as a rock n’ roll engineer for years before I worked for Blue Man Group. So, rather than consider myself a ‘sound designer’ for theatre, I see it as my job to put together a PA that sounds good, that makes the unique instruments and effects in the show sound the way the three directors -- the three original founders – and the music directors want them to sound. I loved Midas consoles when I was on the road with bands and I love them now with Blue Man Group – in whatever sized venues we’re playing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Venice or an XL4; if it has the ‘Midas’ badge on it, you know you’re getting warm sound and responsive controls. Back in the day I always spec’d XL3s, XL4s, XL200s and XL250s, and not much has changed. The Heritage 3000 is simply a fantastic-sounding console -- so intuitive to use. The preamps on Midas consoles are so good that, as long as the proper microphones are positioned correctly, many instruments don’t even need to be EQ’d. That’s my goal, and that built-in quality is an important part of my toolbox.”