Coda Audio Production Editorial Archive


Jai Ho! - A. R. Rahman, Sydney Festival 2010

A. R. Rahman, Sydney Festival 2010. Photo: Prudence Upton.

Sydney Festival is known for its multicultural diversity and spectacular free outdoor events. This year was no exception with Indian international superstar A.R. Rahman taking part in the three week festival with a single, packed out concert in Parramatta Park. Renowned for elevating contemporary Indian popular music to the world stage and for composing the award-winning 'Slum Dog Millionaire' score, A.R. Rahman promised an exciting show and a gesture of friendship in what had been a difficult time for Indian and Australian relations.

Coda Audio provided technical audio production for the entire event, on the same night as several other large festival events around Sydney including Summer Sounds in The Domain. The main stage system required well focussed, high-power line array elements, while the 500 metre long, 80,000 capacity park needed an extensive delay system.

Coda's Meyer M3D line array was employed as the main stage system, with 12 elements per side, complemented by Meyer M2D downfill elements and 700-HP subs. 4 pairs of delay towers at 100m increments were used to extend coverage into the long park. These consisted of alternating sets of Meyer MICA and M2D line arrays, and Meyer MSL6 High-Q long throw loudspeakers. Delay system signal distribution ran on 24-way analog multicore, buffered and isolated by Klark Teknik 1248s for multiple redundant channels. Meyer Galileo 616 processors (under wireless network control) were used for system management. A Digidesign D-Show Profile console was used at the FOH for all mixing and outboard processing.

A. R. Rahman, Sydney Festival 2010. Photo: Prudence Upton.

A.R. Rahman's troupe consisted of a 40 strong company of musicians, singers and dancers, resulting in a large multi-level stage set with everything from traditional Indian string and percussion instruments to vibrant electronic dance numbers. The many backing and solo vocalists supported Rahman in a dynamic, moving show. Technically, this meant a large radio microphone and in ear monitor system was needed to achieve a very clean stage and yet support the large and ever-changing cast of dancers, singers and musicians.

Coda's transformer-isolated multicore splitter systems provided 96 channels to FOH, monitor control and an ABC OB van, which broadcast the concert across Australia and into 44 countries around the world.

A complex stage monitor system was required for the performers, who used both in-ear and conventional stage wedges. Electro-Voice XW12s and separate flown side-fill pairs were used for different sections of the multi-level stage. The entire monitor system was controlled from a Yamaha PM5D with DSP5D for 96 channels.

Support performances entertained the crowd before and after A.R. Rahman's show. The entire event was notable for the very positive energy and friendly community spirit from the delighted crowd. After a Welcome to Country, a surprise appearance by Australian cricketer Steve Waugh and a speech from NSW Premier Kristina Keneally kicked off the main event. The show ran smoothly with the rapturous audience reaching fever pitch for the mega-hit 'Jai Ho'!

Jersey Boys Surprise Entertainment at Accor 20th Anniversary Dinner

Jersey Boys. Photo courtesy of Events Emporium

Australia's largest hotel group, Accor, celebrated their 20th anniversary in June 2011. In the two decades since it first opened Sydney's Novotel in July 1991, Accor has been an innovator in the Australian hotel scene.

To mark the occasion there was a celebration dinner at the Sofitel Hotel. Coda Audio was chosen by Events Emporium to provide the sound, with Des O'Neill as Coda's audio engineer.

There were two special requests. The first, the sound system had to be supported by a Meyer Sound 700-HP subwoofer speaker system. And the second, the audience couldn't know there was going to be a stage performance during the evening - the sizeable speaker setup had to be hidden from the dinner guests.

Coda supplied and installed the sound system as requested and Des worked with the draping consultants to devise the best way of disguising the speakers without affecting sound quality. At the appropriate time and to the surprise of the guests, the hidden stage and evening's entertainment was revealed – with the popular Jersey Boys providing a fun-filled climax to the celebrations.

Children of Eden

Strong staging and recurrent visual themes gave a coherent aesthetic to the production. Photo by permission of SACS

While Coda is best known for its work on large events and corporate productions, during the last year we've also had the opportunity to work on several theatrical projects of interest including the Children of Eden musical for St Andrew's Cathedral School, performed at NIDA's Parade Theatre in Sydney.

Ex-student and composer-in-residence, Huw Belling, directed the show and with over 100 students in the cast and orchestra there was a lot to manage over nearly four months of planning and preparation.

Paul Tilley, Coda's system engineer for the production, said more and more schools are staging semi-professional, mid-sized musicals in commercial venues. This is a real challenge for the staff and students since all the preparation and rehearsals are extra-curricular.

Coda tuned the FOH system for the show. We also provided a medium-sized radio-mic system, stage and orchestral foldback and mixing for the performances. Paul also helped the students to manage a beltpack swap program to keep the number of packs low.

The show was a great success and a rewarding experience for all concerned. Find out more in our interview with Huw in the October 'Schools on Stage' section of the Stage Whispers website.

Sydney Festival

Summer Sounds in the Domain, Sydney Festival 2010. Photo: Daniel Boud.

Since its inauguration in 1977, Sydney Festival has grown to be Australia's most attended cultural event with total audiences of approximately 1 million people. Held over a three week period, the Festival hosts around 80 events with 1000 artists from Australia and abroad. The Festival involves many of Sydney's theatres and venues and presents performances and installations covering dance, music, theatre, visual arts, installations and talks.

Three of the largest events, now Sydney traditions, are also free to the public; the two Domain concerts attract up to 80,000 people each and Festival First Night, the Festival's opening event since 2008, held through the city streets and at 7 locations, is attended by 250,000 people each year.

Coda Audio Services has been the primary audio design and system provider for Sydney Festival since 1996. Coda works closely with the Festival organisers headed by John Bayley, Head of Production, and Katie Pack, Production Manager, throughout the year to bring the best possible sound to Sydney audiences and attend to the very specific needs of the large number of artists. The Festival organisers are committed to quality, and Coda has responded to the ever more complex and diverse requirements with an evolving solution for every venue for which we provide audio.

Our first Domain concerts were covered by the then state-of-the-art Meyer Sound MSL3's. The sound quality was a major advance of previous Festivals and set the stage for further improvements as the technology became available. The MSL-3 system was soon replaced by MSL-4's and MSL-6, then Australia's only M3D/M3D sub system; now the front of house system uses MILO and MILO 120 exclusively with MSL-4 pairs on the 8 delay towers. All the Coda systems have used multiple delay towers to give higher fidelity and localized reinforcement while remaining within the strict guidelines for sound spill from the area.

The on-going success of the Festival demonstrates the efficiency and ethos of Coda's approach to be worthy of such an internationally acclaimed event, and one which gives Sydney-siders and those lucky enough to attend from elsewhere in Australia and worldwide a taste of Sydney's diverse festival spirit.

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Sydney Symphony in Parramatta Park 2011

Relatively dry at last! Sydney Symphony in Parramatta Park.  Photo: Paul Tilley

"Be prepared. Check the weather on the Bureau of Meteorology website" was the well advised warning on the Parramatta Park Trust's page for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra concert in the Crescent, Parramatta Park, held on Saturday the 19th of March.

While Sydney often shines for the crowds, sometimes audiences, performers and crew must persevere through adverse conditions; and so it was this year as the rains threatened to come down on the public and our arrays alike!

Undaunted, the performers and audience of approximately 1000 hardy souls stayed on to enjoy selections from Franz Doppler's double flute concerto, Grieg's music for Peer Gynt and Tchaikovsky's Second Symphony, under the direction of acclaimed Austrian conductor Hans Graf, with solo flute performances by Emma Sholl and Janet Webb - all under relatively clear skies.

Coda again provided sound reinforcement for the concert, now an annual event produced by the Parramatta Park Trust.

The main FOH arrays of 14 Meyersound Milo cabinets per side were augmented with MSL6/MSL4 side hangs to extend horizontal coverage. Front fill was provided by three pairs of MSL2s. The basis of the orchestra balance was provided by 12 Schoeps MK4/CMC6-U mics, with AKG C414 and Audio Technica 4050 microphones spotting woodwind, harp and percussion. A Yamaha PM5D console at Front of House was paired with a DSP5D on stage to provide 96 input channels in a compact, lightweight package. Processing was provided by a wirelessly networked Meyersound Galileo system.

Crew and equipment were reportedly dry by the 21st...

Womadelaide 2010 5th-8th March

Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, WOMADelaide stage one. Photo: Tony Lewis

Yamato The Drummers of Japan, WOMADelaide stage one. Photo: Tony Lewis

WOMADelaide is an annual multi-cultural music and arts festival held in the Botanical Garden Park in Adelaide. The festival is presented by the WOMADelaide Foundation and produced by Arts Projects Australia. This year's festival was held over a four day period from March 5th to the 8th and featured over 500 performers.

WOMADelaide began in 1992 and has become one of Australia’s most highly regarded and anticipated annual festivals. This year's program featured performances and workshops on seven stages, alongside street theatre, visual artists, the popular Taste the World cooking program, Artists in Conversations sessions, plus approximately 100 food, craft and display stalls and a KidZone; all ending with an all-star finale.

The event is huge and three audio/lighting companies provided high quality systems for the event. Coda Audio Services has supplied the main stage audio since 1997 and this year supplied audio production for both stages one and two.

Babylon Circus, WOMADelaide stage two. Photo: Tony Lewis

One of the chief concerns for the production is to cater for the very diverse needs of performers, so in addition to the main systems and FOH and monitor consoles, which are essentially fixed for the festival duration, a very wide range of both vintage and modern outboard processing is provided to 'customise' the system to individual performer's requirements.

Stage 1’s traditional point source array was replaced this year with Coda’s Meyer MILO line array system, utilizing MSL2s and MSL4s for fill with 700-HPs for LF extension. The system was controlled wirelessly by a Meyer Galileo 616 processor. A dual system comprising a Midas Heritage 3000 and Yamaha PM5D were used for the FOH, and a Midas Heritage 4000 and Yamaha PM5D for foldback.

On stage 2, another line array system was put in place, this time a MICA system, again with 700-HP sub-woofers and MSL2 front fill. Being a slightly smaller stage, only one Midas XL200 console at FOH was required, with a Yamaha M7CL at monitors.

Being now an annual rather than bi-annual event, WOMADelaide is keenly anticipated by Coda staff, there is a lot of preparation and the scheduling is intense, but as a festival it's without equal!

Additions to the Meyer Sound array systems

Meyer Sound JM-1P array.

Coda has now added several elements to it's horizontal array systems with the new Meyer Sound JM-1P arrayable loudspeaker. The JM-1P is a 20° tight packable, high powered cabinet which overcomes the historical limitations of point source array systems. The 20° x 60° pattern, significant power to weight/size ratio and neat packing make the JM-1P suitable for FOH and support roles in many applications.

The JM-1P is a two-way system with 53 Hz to 18 kHz operating frequency range and output of 138 dB SPL (maximum peak at one metre). The 15-inch, long-excursion low-frequency cone driver and four-inch high-frequency compression driver are coupled through a patented REM (Ribbon Emulation Manifold) to an extremely accurate constant-Q horn. The horn has a tightly controlled 20° horizontal by 60° vertical coverage. The unit's consistent polar response and trapezoidal enclosure allows for tightly packed arrays, with each loudspeaker adding 20° to the horizontal coverage of the array. The integrated self-powered system has protection, processing, remote monitoring and a proprietary 1275 W (2550 W peak) class AB/H amplifier.

Although designed primarily as a horizontal array, the JM-1P can be flown vertically with up to six elements, using the MTG-JM1 top grid.

The specifications can't tell you how these sound; extremely good, with a smooth response even in the near field. The JM-1Ps complement the broad range of Meyer Sound arrays already in Coda's inventory.

Coda now has 32 MICA compact high-power curvilinear array cabinets, giving us the most extensive Meyer Sound curvilinear array selection in the southern hemisphere. MICA brings the very high output and smooth, extended high-frequency response that is the MILO family's sonic signature to a smaller package with broad 100-degree horizontal coverage. MICA is a self-powered three-way system with a frequency range of 60 Hz to 18 kHz and 138 dB SPL (maximum peak at one metre) including integrated amplification, crossover, driver protection, and frequency and phase correction.

From the heavyweight M3D system, through to the popular MILO, and now with MICA and the JM-1P, Coda offers the famous Meyer Sound fidelity in all sizes and all formats.