In an increasingly common instance of Studer Vista 5 SR live sound consoles being deployed by leading sound engineers at Front Of House and monitor position for the same event, Keith Urban's FOH engineer Steve Law and monitor engineer Jason Spence both manned Studer Vista 5 SR consoles at the recent NFL Live Kickoff concert in New York City's Columbus Circle as part of CLAIR's support package for the award-winning country music artist. The event was broadcast nationally on NBC and the NFL Network with onsite broadcast support by Metrovision, whose OB truck featured a specially-configured Studer Vista 5 console with mixing by John Bates, Audio Engineer and support by Mike Christopher, Truck Technician. The concert was hosted by Deion Sanders and featured live performances by Usher and Natasha Bedingfield in addition to Keith Urban, with guest appearances by New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and NFL greats Lawrence Taylor and Warren Sapp.
Traffic at this usually busy junction in the heart of New York City was suspended for the day as Firehouse Productions and CLAIR collaborated to transform the streetscape into an impressive temporary outdoor concert venue. New York-based Firehouse Productions, who provided stage and control electronics gear, fielded a team led by senior engineer Mark Dittmar. Firehouse supported the main stage with JBL VERTEC VT4889 full-size line array elements in towering arrays on either side of the stage, while Mike Wolf, CLAIR's corporate services manager, led a team onsite that relied on the company's own proprietary JBL-loaded i-3 and i-4 line array enclosures for extended audience-area coverage and delay tower positions.
According to Jason Spence the Studer Vista 5 SR couples sonic integrity and user-intuitiveness allowing him to sound great and work fast and effectively on the fly in demanding concert stage monitoring environments: “Sonically the console sounds stunning,” Spence explained. “Hands down, it is one of the best sounding consoles I've ever mixed on — even from my studio experience. It's the most intuitive digital console control surface on the market. You get a very analog feel with the â€˜inline' design of the channel strips. It's just a matter of grabbing a knob on any given channel on the control surface and adjusting. No diggings through page after page or guessing which virtual knob you need to grab to adjust a parameter.”
“We had 61 inputs for the concert, playing 8 songs over about 45 minutes,” Spence adds. “And because we brought in our tour's preprogrammed Vista 5 SR's, we were able to interface with the local production via analogue splits or digital splits right off the desk.”
Working at front-of-house with Keith Urban, Steve Law is equally about the sound, interface and general versatility. An early adopter of the Vista 5 SR, Law helped Studer finesse the design and featurset of the Vista 5 SR. “I have always been one for taking risks on new technology to give it a run and see what it will do,” Law said. “I was one of the very first guys to take out a DiGiCo D5 but the Vista 5 SR is something even better: it sounds great and makes my job easier. The preamps are great, the signal path is great, and there's no latency
so that by the time the audio signal gets to the speakers, what you're putting in is what's coming out. There are so many consoles that don't do that, especially lower-dollar digital consoles that host a ton of external plug-ins to try and compensate and you end up losing everything!”
Law is clearly an acolyte of analog sound coupled with digital versatility: “You have to figure that the Vista system's digital format can support almost 1700 inputs, yet the sound is thick and full. And it's not just the frequency response, it's also the perceived depth and width of the sound. Digital consoles in general have suffered from sounding overly-precise, but the overall Studer sound is analog. The phase integration between input and output gives it a dimension of width that sounds amazing.”
“The Vistonics user interface is the best in the market today,” notes Law. “There's nothing worse than hunting through a menu of operations while trying to keep up with the artists. Instead, with the Vista 5 SR, it's so good to have real knobs right beside S each function, which makes the console more hands-on and more tactile” Law enthuses. “More fingers and ears: isn't that how music is supposed to be?
Firehouse Productions can be reached at: www.firehouseproductions.com/index-02.html
CLAIR can be reach at: www.clairglobal.com/
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