For the UK tour of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, a musical re-imaging of Shakespeare’s , Stage Electrics supplied the audio equipment. The system–designed by Jem Kitchen and engineered by Laurie Kirkby–is meant to deliver a listening experience to make people "feel better" with an emphasis on fidelity, and includes MC2 amplification and XTA signal processing.
"We’re using seven E45s, nine E25s and two E15s. The MC2 amps play their role really well. The E Series has worked out well because they allow you to have a show that you can tour sensibly without compromising the quality of your signal–and that’s the Holy Grail, to be honest," says Stage Electrics’ Glen Beckley, adding that the process took 10 months of completely obsessing about fidelity which, for them, is the most important aspect of their work. "We took all the various bits of equipment and loaded them into the Wimbledon Theatre and it was like you’d taken the accepted norm for a good quality sounding show and moved it to another level."
"Kiss Me Kate sounds beautiful," says Beckley. "You really have to listen to hear the loudspeakers. You want transparency and to get that you need a really great signal path–that’s exactly what we’ve got."
The show uses all XTA signal processing: one DP226 and seven DP224s. The majority of the racks are 4-way, but Beckley states there is a specific reason for the DP226: "The Funktion One Resolution 2 is only 60º wide and, in a wide house, 60º off the proscenium is not enough. So we use a pair of Resolution 2 SH that are essentially the mid/high element without the 15 and we’ve got a clever bracket that allows you to hang an SH right next to a standard Resolution 2. It’s very light, so it can all hang on the same crossbeam position and that gives you about 110º of width.
"We’ve got a DP226 so we have an extra pair of outputs, one for left and one for right that are still on the same zone of PA, but have their own processor output. To get the array happening correctly in the electrical domain as well as in the acoustic domain, sometimes you have to adjust the output response slightly, so that’s why its got its own output as opposed to just being paralleled off to the amplifier."
Beckley uses XTA’s AudioCore software and a wireless LAN for set up so that he is able to wander round the various zones within each theatre. "AudioCore is great," he says. "It’s quite simple to use, which is a great advantage on time saving."
Kiss Me Kate tours throughout the UK until July 2005.