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Author Topic: Quad PA  (Read 10330 times)

Randy Pence

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Re: Quad PA
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2014, 09:56:25 pm »

One of the guys ive worked is also a performer and did a surround performance at berlins tresor club when it had a surround system installed.  I don't remember hte mixer used, but he panned things around on a lemur and hte system processing included multiple rme sound cards.  There might have been something like 8 zones per side, or 4, i forget.  This particular dancefloor is longer than it is wide.  I found that the effect was well pronounced in the middle of the dancefloor, but was largely lost even moving 2m away.  granted, this dancefloor  probably held no more than 600 people.

I'm certainly in favor of a 4 point system concerning electronic music.  The point of the experience is not necessarily to share what the performer is doing, but to be immersed in what is happening.  A classic foh system is going to be more accurate, but it forces the visual epicenter of the experience.  Somewhat decentralizing where hte music is coming from allows the punters something else.  Electronic performers are not that interesting to look at, no matter how impressive the efforts of their button pushing and knob twiddling.

If microphones are involved, it gets much more complicated.  i was once involved in a production of an 8piece swing band and 8 prominent electronic musicians where i wanted to experiment a bit and route the band through the inhouse foh system and the stereo feed from the stage mixed electronic musicians had its own front and rear stereo system.  The production was a bit of a disaster, with many crucial other issues getting in the way of an outstanding performance experience, including a transit strike screwing up traffic and thus deliveries and production schedule, the electronic musicians not being prepared to play with each other, foh mixer file not getting saved and then reset  (i was not invovled in foh mixing).  I'd like to think it was a worthwhile idea, but I'm not sure that I wouldnt stick to standard foh should a similar project arise.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 10:04:44 pm by Randy Pence »
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Quad PA
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2014, 01:55:17 am »

In the 70's when quad sound was all the rage I owned some very proprietary JVC Quad equipment. All of the equipment was manufactured specifically for quad reproduction and all the best JVC could manufacture at the time. Being in the navy at the time I literally auditioned and purchased the equipment from JVC in Tokyo, which was then shipped to my next duty station near Pensacola, FL. I was sure I had the world by the balls.

Six months after hitting the deck in FL I had managed to put a decent soul/rock band together and had talked the leading chief into allowing me to use a small reserve hanger on base that was not being used, for use as my space for practice and staging with the promise of a free concert or two for special occasions.

I set up the equipment with speakers in all four corners of that hanger and spent over a month moving and arranging the system. Source music was pre recorded in Quad surround and fed to the system using the best four channel Sansui reel to reel money could buy at the time.

Using the studio recorded quad tapes was an eye opener. Instruments magically moved around the hanger, vocals were overwhelming when coming from front, back, left right, all four corners, all moving with as if the vocalist was anywhere they wanted to be. everything moved, separated, joined again, soloed from near and far. Wonderful, just what I had dreamed of, and I didn't know of anyone else that had a system like this. Shit, I could probably do three sets of farting on stage and people would be throwing money at me.

Well so much for studio material, because in the end what works in a studio will never work on stage. There's no way to achieve full separation of the instruments without putting them all in their own separate sound proof rooms, there's no way to work the faders and groups quick enough to accomplish the spatial separation and feel of movement, and even if you could the stage wash and just being able to see the band killed all hopes of achieving the same effect achieved with the studio material.

After a month of very hard work by many people it became a fact that true quad separation could never practically or realistically be achieved outside of a studio environment, and in the end the system became on hell of a home quad system, then eventually a nice stereo system as the sources for true quad material dried up and the fad ended. That system was finally sold in 1982 never to be seen again. It was not a total loss with the lessons learned concerning sound, movement of sound and separation of sound, but never again for any reason.
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BOSTON STRONG........
Proud Vietnam Veteran

I did a gig for Otis Elevator once. Like every job, it had it's ups and downs.

Adam Cooke

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Re: Quad PA
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2014, 10:25:28 pm »


Well so much for studio material, because in the end what works in a studio will never work on stage. There's no way to achieve full separation of the instruments without putting them all in their own separate sound proof rooms, there's no way to work the faders and groups quick enough to accomplish the spatial separation and feel of movement, and even if you could the stage wash and just being able to see the band killed all hopes of achieving the same effect achieved with the studio material.

Interesting. I can see how this concept could actually work well for electronic music, especially the more experimental stuff.

If all the instruments/sounds are outputs from a sampler, the separation of sounds is no longer a problem.

If the mix is performed/recorded in digital automation (via Ableton or DAW or a digital console) the difficulty with working the faders and groups is no longer a problem. Using IEMs for performers, there's no stage wash, either.

It does seem like we now have the technology, and there is music out there that seems well suited to this.
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Ben Brunskill

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Re: Quad PA
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2014, 02:19:55 am »

I work occasionally for a very good Pink Floyd tribute. We do quad, but thereís not much in the back most of the time - just reverb returns and 20% or so of the main mix.

The intros and so on however are mixed in 4.1 and fly around the room and itís pretty fantastic. For sure hard if not impossible to implement for normal music.
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duane massey

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Re: Quad PA
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2014, 03:39:24 am »

Quad/surround sound is very impressive if well-done, BUT only with performances specifically arranged for the effect. Electronic music, some dance music mixed in multi-channel format, some dramatic passages for live music, but for the most part, live music does not really work in large quad systems for all the reasons mentioned.
I've always wanted one more crack at a dance club with custom remixes and original recordings in a 4-ch environment. The technology now would make it very easy to do, both from a design/install standpoint and from a musical production standpoint, especially if you incorporated lighting and/or video into the experience. Definitely not live bands.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas
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