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Brit Awards Go Live with Electro-Voice

March 4th, 2007

The regular teaming of sound designer Derrick Zieba and PA company Britannia Row created an unusual system design, uniquely suited to the structure of this year’s event. For the first time, the full width of the Earls Court arena was filled by a double stage. The ’Love’ stage was linked to the ’Hate’ stage by the presenters’ podium, overseen by a central heart-shaped video screen built into the main set.

With live performance flip-flopping between the stages, all equipment had to be doubled up: two sets of front-of-house consoles, two sets of monitor desks, twice the stage monitors, and crucially, twice the microphones and in-ear monitoring systems, placing tough demands on the already crowded frequency spectrum.

However, Zieba chose to have just one sound system. Left and right of the massive 70-meter stage set, hangs of Electro-Voice X-Line mid-top cabinets and subs were flown some 17 meters in the air. Unusually, the mid-top arrays were positioned on the outside of the bass hangs, a reversal of usual practice. “By keeping the shorter bass hangs on the inside, our speaker arrays were a better match with the stage design,“ explains Zieba. “Because they were unobtrusive and keeping a low profile on camera, we could fly them a bit lower. Otherwise, to keep out of TV sightlines, we’d have had to fly them 3 meters higher.“

Each of the main PA hangs carried 12x EV XVLS cabinets, with 3x XVLT boxes. Adjacent, nearer the center of the stage, the bass hangs comprised 10x EV XSubs each. The stage system was completed by a center hang with 6 small cabinets squashed into a tiny space below the follow-spots. Zieba balanced levels and delay to give a stereo image in the center of the arena, “but when you go off center, you don’t immediately feel left out of things.“

“This is my system of choice for a big rock line-up,“ says Zieba, with a list of live performers that included Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Killers. “In a big auditorium, flown bass is the only way to go, and the only integrated flown bass system is X-Line. Also the system generated a really positive reaction last year, especially in the main part of the hall.“ The Britannia Row system includes EV’s Precision Series remote amplifiers powering the X-Line loudspeakers.

With the front-of-house mixing platform set back some 150 meters from the stage, to one side of the hall, Zieba configured the substantial delay system as a duplicate of the front system. With a L/R/L arrangement on the hangs, each with 8x EV XVLS cabinets, the engineers used the two delay hangs in front of them as their reference.

Although the visual impact of the twin stages is fantastic on television, “we’ve stretched the limits of where our stereo comes together,“ says Zieba. To manage the Electro-Voice system, he used EV’s IRIS-Net V2.0 loudspeaker management system, “virtually an old friend.“

“All the main control was via IRIS, the whole system in one package on one screen. One of the principal appeals is its complete resettability. I can alter levels, EQs, delays, and store the changes, but very easily come back to what I did before. This allows me to be radical in my changes, because I know I can reset very quickly.“ Zieba is one of the UK’s most prominent users of the IRIS-Net system, having pioneered its large-production use on the MOBO Awards in London. “I’ve spent years working with EV, finessing IRIS to build the virtually plug-and-play platform that it is now. In my opinion, it’s the only way to go: it’s a vital tool that we can and do use straight out of the box.“

Click here to learn more about IRIS-Net

The BRITS sound team:

Sound Designer: Derrick Zieba

FOH Engineers: Chris Morrison, Maurizio Gennari, and band engineers

FOH (presentations): Chris Coxhead

Monitor Engineers: Matt Napier, Graham Blake, Seamus Fenton, Dorus Hummels

Crew Chief: John Gibbons

System Tech: Bob Lopes

Stage team: Stef Thompson, Pete McGlynn, Stefan Krista, Steve Donovan.


Photography: John Marshall


Guy Low

Public Relations Producer

Bosch Communications Systems

Telex Communications, Inc.

12000 Portland Ave. South

Burnsville, MN 55337

Phone: 952-736-3935

Fax: 952-736-4582

James Edlund

Public Relations Manager

Bosch Communications Systems

Telex Communications, Inc.

12000 Portland Ave. South

Burnsville, MN 55337

Phone: 952-736-3901

Fax: 952-736-4582

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