MONTRÃ‰AL, CANADA â€“ AUGUST 2010: It’s debatable whether humanity will be done with fossil fuels in twenty years or in two hundred, but it’s inevitable that sooner or later that day will arrive. Of course, there’s no telling what kind of music will be popular then, but humankind’s affinity for the sounds that move both feet and souls guarantees that music – be it a new take on rock ‘n roll or something currently inconceivable – will continue to be an important part of daily life. And what will a concert look like in our sustainable future? Attendees at this summer’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in MontrÃ©al, Quebec had, perhaps, a glimpse of that future on the Green Stage, sponsored and realized in part by Sennheiser Canada’s energy-efficient K-array loudspeaker and subwoofer technology and the Innovason Eclipse all-in-one console and signal processor.
The Sennheiser Green Stage leveraged both conventional and
forward-thinking technologies to push the envelope in the direction of music’s inevitable, sustainable future.
Evenko, formerly the Gillette Group, conceived the green stage at Osheaga and worked diligently to bring the partners and pieces together to make it a reality. Solotech delivered both forward-thinking lighting technology and the sound engineering chops that ensured the production value of the Green Stage competed favorably with the best of conventional stages. Infinite Island Power, which specializes in producing live green events, brought a staple of proven, renewable energy technologies to the Sennheiser Green Stage. Sennheiser Canada designed a tremendously efficient sound reinforcement system via the K-array loudspeaker and subwoofer technologies and the Innovason Eclipse digital console. Combined with a superlative live microphone package, Sennheiser’s contribution served to elevate the fidelity and impact of the green stage music while, at the same time, significantly reducing the demand placed on the renewable energy technologies.
When considering cutting-edge green initiatives, most people think immediately of the flashy supply-side technologies, and the Sennheiser Green Stage at Osheaga did not disappoint. Infinite Island Power brought a sustainable energy arsenal that included the very latest and best Sharp solar panels, WindTronics wind turbines, clean gas generators, and battery storage devices, together with the computer control technology that synchronized and optimized the energy portfolio’s sustained output. Hamlet Heavy Timberwork underscored the true “life cycle” carbon impact of the materials used for live events by building the lighting and sound deck out of locally harvested and recycled timber.
But the components of green initiatives – namely, greater energy efficiency – is pivotal to the initiative. Here, the K-array loudspeaker and subwoofer technologies led the way. Vaino Gennaro, business director for live sound products at Sennheiser Canada designed the Sennheiser Green Stage’s PA system with three K-array KH4 two-way line arrays per side in a true stereo configuration. Six K-array KS4 dipole subwoofers and two KO70 sub bass speakers per side added abundant bass (who says a green stage won’t punch you in the chest?). Finally, four K-array KH15 two-way line arrays spread evenly across the front of the stage provided front fill. All of the K-array units that were used are self-powered, which contributes to their energy efficiency.
“The K-array products are remarkably efficient,” said Gennaro. “They are lightweight, and have a very small footprint.” Dan Fletcher, engineer with Infinite Island Power, put a number to that efficiency: “For the same output and even greater fidelity, the K-array system drew 45% less power. On the face of it, some concert promoters are reluctant to go ‘green’ because they see it as a trade-off. But with K-array, there is no sacrifice in performance. It’s a very easy decision, as the K-array production value is high, the energy savings are substantial, and greater efficiency is the direction we need to be moving in as a society.” Monk McClements, chief sound engineer at the Green Stage, said, “All thirteen of the sound engineers who worked with this system were very impressed by the vivid, full-frequency sound, from the lowest lows to the highest highs and the evenness in between. The sound quality rivaled any stage with any system.”
To round out the efficiency of the amps that power a rock show, the stage’s console contributed to its efficiency. “The Innovason Eclipse is a comprehensive and deeply functional digital console,” explained Gennaro. “On the input side, it has all of the necessary EQ, filtering, compression, gating, delay, etc. On the output side, it has all the signal processing required of the K-array system, including crossovers and time alignment. So, with just one box, we can run the whole show without any need for power-hungry output gear.” McClements added, “The Eclipse’s intuitive interface made set changes easy. When a sound engineer can walk up to a board cold, with only a line check before the set, and then walk away beaming after the set, you know it’s a good board! People were very impressed.” In addition, Solotech contributed show-grade LED lighting systems, which operated on a fraction of the energy required by conventional stage lighting.
Sennheiser also supplied the stage with top-grade live microphones to ensure that everything would sound its best. The Sennheiser collection at the Green Stage included three e 935 wired vocal mics, six e 906 guitar cabinet mics, and two MD 421 II bass cabinet mics. Dual drum risers each had four e 904 clip-on tom mics, one e 905 snare mic, one 901 & 902 bass drum mic combo, and three small-diaphragm e 914 condensers for overheads and hi-hats. Four channels of ew 500-935 G3 wireless microphones and four channels of ew 300 IEM G3 wireless personal monitors gave artists the freedom to move around for maximum theatrical impact.
“The Sennheiser Green Stage dropped our carbon footprint a few sizes,” said Patrick Brayley of evenko. Indie rock heroes Beach House and We Are Wolves joined established acts The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and retro reinvention Devo, among many other diversified acts on the Sennheiser Green Stage. “Everyone who was involved was thrilled with the sound and what we accomplished, and we’re already looking forward to making the stage even greener next year.”
ABOUT SENNHEISER Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in sixty countries around the world through long-term distribution partners and subsidiaries in France, UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the USA. Sennheiser’s technology is produced in manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the United States. Their pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy and the Scientific and Engineering Award (of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). The Sennheiser Group is proud to be affiliated with Georg Neumann (world leading studio microphones), and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications that brings their award winning technology to headsets for PCs, offices and contact centers.
OTHER BRANDS DISTRIBUTED BY SENNHEISER CANADA Neumann, Klein+Hummel, Innovason, L-ACOUSTICS, Kling & Freitag, K-array, Yellowtec, Televic
PHOTO CAPTIONS (First Photo) Using breakthrough alternative energy sources including solar panels and wind turbines, the Sennheiser Green Stage at MontrÃ©al’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival proved to the world that the carbon footprint of performance stages can be minimized without sacrificing sound. (Second Photo) The small footprint of the self-powered K-array system was pivotal to the energy efficiency and superb sound showcased in the Sennheiser Green Stage. (Third Photo) Monk McClements, chief sound engineer for the Sennheiser Green Stage, used the Innovason Eclipse digital console to easily handle front-of-house.