When it comes to ensuring Lenny Kravitz’s signature sound is delivered accurately and impeccably to every seat in the house from theaters to stages, no one does it better than Kravitz’s touring audio engineering team. Laurence “Laurie” Quigley, Front of House Engineer and Frank Müller, Audio Tech have trusted JBL VTX Loudspeakers, Line Array Calculator and Performance Manager software for years and we recently had a chance to talk with them to find out why they continue to depend on JBL VTX technology.
What was your first experience with the JBL VTX system? “I have been using JBL products since the start. I was mixing Lenny on a JBL Vertec system for years and we toured the first JBL VTX system in Europe. It was the first time VTX had been used and after getting some time to use the system, it turned out to be a great success.”
How do you like working with JBL and VTX in particular? “The rigging is excellent, the dolly system works very well and it goes in and out of trucks and venues very easily. This is very important because your day should never be held up by the sound system or the sound crew. The packaging of the sound system is very, very important these days.”
What is your favorite feature of the system? “The sound; big check. The mids are exceptional and the vocal quality is very smooth. A reason I have always liked to mix with JBL is because the horns don’t change tone in the power curve – the sound of the horns is consistent from 90db all the way up. You can turn up a guitar solo or anything else in the mix and the tone of the system doesn’t change. Some systems require you to fiddle with them all night, horns up 1db, horns down 1db. Some systems sound good loud, then there’s a ballad and the system sounds dull. The VTX system sounds consistent loud or soft.”
How do you like how the VTX handles the low end? “As I mentioned I love the mids, but the 15s are also excellent. You can put a bass guitar in the mix right where it should be. I use a lot of sub bass cabinets and again I’m blown away by their tone. There are too many subs on the market that are loud but they have one note.”
What is your system tuning process? “I believe the most important part of my day is making sure the sound system is presented properly. We use the front of the stage as a 0 point and hang the PA accordingly. If the system is hung in the correct manner, you don’t need to spend a lot of additional time. Tuning is personal, everyone has a certain way. I personally use a DBX RTA-1, and a Smart SYSTEM. My job is to present the system so it sounds very similar very day, so mixing on it is easy. People that look busy while they’re mixing, normally means the sound system wasn’t to their liking in the first place.”
Frank Müller spoke specifically to using JBL’s Line Array Calculator (LAC) and Performance Manager software applications for setting up the system in the room.
Frank, how do you like working with Line Array Calculator and Performance Manager?
- “I have been using LAC since the first days of VerTec so I guess you could say that I am fairly experienced with it. The prediction given from LAC and the result, what we hear later in real life, matches very well. Our goal is to present the system, so it sounds very similar for every show. When I am calculating the angles, I always try to cover Laurie’s FOH location with the best possible average frequency response compared to the all over the room frequency response – meaning if it sounds good where the FOH is located, it should sound good everywhere else too. Example: If I choose to narrow angles for Laurie’s mixing position, he would probably tune out a couple frequencies in the HI band to make the system sound good at his position, while it would be probably dull at most of the other listening positions. So LAC gives me a really good idea of what is going where in the room and gives me the opportunity to present Laurie a PA, which is easy to tune.”
- “Performance Manager is also an easy to use software. It does everything I expect from a sound system driving software. The workflow is very simple. The monitoring options give me a good overview of what is going on in the system.”
We’d love to know your thoughts about using the JBL VTX system, Line Array Calculator and/or Performance Manager. You can share in “Leave a Reply’.