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I attended the plasafocus show in Leeds 12th - 13th May 2015 which is quite a major technological show for the entertainment industry. See www.plasa.org for some further information. Its a trade exhibition aimed pretty squarely at the professional and large-scale end of what we do, and I estimate well over half of it was to do with lighting, rather than audio. Nonetheless very informative! Here are one or two highlights that struck me:-

 

Justin Grealy gave a good talk on Live Female Vocals which was interesting, although I felt the actual demonstration was less effective as rushed and poorly illustrated. BTW, I estimated 98% of the audience was male. As well as the ubiquitous SM58 stage mic, he recommended the d:facto vocal mic (yes, I hadnt heard of it either, google it!) and also the Sennheiser MD421. He presented a multitude of useful tips. 

 

Oran Burns gave a FABULOUS session entitled "Your Bottom End; Careful Where You Put It". This was a theoretical and practical demonstration of the art of adding Subs to your PA. The bottom line here was (sorry!) that if you have 2 subs and place them at each end of the stage (ie where the Rt and Lt PA speakers are) you then get power in the middle with deep nulls each side at an angle into the audience, that is truly bad coverage. He demonstrated the physics of this using an array of 6 small speakers each emitting pink noise centred at 1000Hz. It was fabulous stuff. For those of us who play in local bands (like you and me!), the message is use ONE sub; or if you must use two put them side by side anywhere at the front of stage but do not separate them. 

 

Interestingly a few days after this I was listening to a live band on the South Bank outside, and they had two subs incorrectly placed at each end of the stage. Walking from side to side demonstrated the drop in level exactly as Mr Burns had described. 

 

From the networking point of view I met Darryn de la Soul who runs the SOULSOUND educational website and we had a chat about psychoacoustics - of which more I hope on another occasion! I recommend www.soulsound.co uk  there is much useful stuff in there.

 

That's it for now!

Plaza Focus Conference. Leeds 2015. A brief report...