Allen Rowand, a sound engineer, sound designer and consultant with ten years of technical experience in the Broadway theatre sound industry, has joined Metric Halo. Rowand, who has worked for Masque Sound and PRG, has been a beta tester for Metric Halo for five years. He will be working to provide current and prospective users with a program of training classes and online tutorials that will allow them to unlock the full potential of the products.
Working on the East Coast with event and entertainment sound specialists Masque Sound and PRG’s ProMix division in their respective mixing console and technical departments since early 1998, Rowand amassed a wealth of experience on the configuration, repair and testing of theatrical sound equipment. During six years at Masque Sound, until late 2006, he specialized in Cadac mixing consoles, modifying and customizing the equipment for the particular requirements of Broadway productions.
Two years ago, he began working as an advance sound engineer for the U. national tour of the hit Broadway show Wicked, eventually leaving Masque Sound to concentrate full-time on advancing the production into venues across the country. Rowand has also worked as a sound consultant on shows by tap dancing phenomenon Savion Glover and as a sound designer for productions in New York, Ohio, and Switzerland.
Rowand has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Sound Production, Design & Technology from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Rowand is working on two principal support initiatives in his new position, he explains: “One is the tutorial aspect, which I’m going to be doing along with Marc Schonbrun, who has done some great movies for us. Metric Halo’s products are very flexible and very powerful, and sometimes it’s a daunting task to understand everything that the boxes are capable of. We’ve been putting together tutorials to go up on the website to jump-start users and make sure that some of the more complicated concepts are easier to understand.”
The capabilities of the company’s audio interfaces are a case in point, he continues: “They have a feature set that you don’t find in any other products, so it’s not the kind of thing that people are necessarily used to. We’re trying to give them examples of how all these different functions and features can be used to help them along.”
Secondly, he says, “I’m starting to work on putting together some training classes for SpectraFoo. Within the last few years there have been a number of other programs, some commercial, some free, that have come into that software analyzer space. We’re trying to show people that SpectraFoo, even though it has celebrated its 10th birthday, still has features and abilities that nothing else in the market has.”
Rowand will also be working closely with end-users and sound designers in the theatrical community to integrate Metric Halo products into their systems. “We’re looking at using our interfaces for the sound effects playback as well as being the input for the analysis system, so everything ties together and you don’t have to do a lot of setup,” he explains. Smaller tours will often have a performance in the afternoon or evening of the load-in, he says. “So anything that we can do to make it quicker and easier for them to use an analyzer, rather than try to tune the system by ear, is a definite benefit for the production.”
Rowand’s firsthand knowledge of the product also includes using SpectraFoo to bench-test Cadac consoles while working at Masque Sound. “For the majority of my work I use SpectraFoo and I also have all of the Metric Halo audio interfaces,” he adds. “My job with Wicked, and with most of the theatrical work that I’ve been doing, is in room and system tuning. I go in and analyze the performance venue to get the sound to work in that location.”
SpectraFoo has a particular advantage over competing analysis tools, Rowand points out. “SpectraFoo’s main competitor will let you look at two channels of audio at a time. When I go out and do the room analysis for ‘Wicked’ I use seven microphones simultaneously. So I can position my microphones throughout the venue and be able to either look at their levels and frequency responses simultaneously, or very quickly select one, take a snapshot of what’s happening there, and then go to another location and be able to compare those two. To do that with anything else in our product space would be impossible.”