Rental specialist Entec Sound & Lights’s Audio department has made several recent investments in new technology, including Dante networking and d&b’s latest D80 amplifiers, which were used on the Paolo Nutini UK arena tour, together with a new DiGiCo SD10 console and more Sennheiser 2000 Series IEMs.

Liam Halpin, Entec’s Systems Tech on the tour worked alongside Nutini’s own engineers Sam Parker (FOH) and Tom Howatt (monitors) to ensure that all of the highly successful and critically acclaimed shows received the very best audio treatment and continuity.

Entec’s Head of Sound Magic, comments “This was a great showcase for us on a high profile tour. Sam and Tom are great engineers and it was a pleasure to put together a package that they could really maximise.”

The arenas were not sold to 180 degrees of the stage, so the main PA hangs  comprised 16 x d&b J-Series speaker elements per side (8 x J8s and 4 x J12s), boosted for the two largest auditoriums of Manchester Arena and the O2 in London, with an extra two J8s a side.

With the power, richness and uniform coverage of the d&b, this saved having to fly delays. At the O2 they used the house delays, and in Manchester, none were needed.

The side hangs were 12 x d&b V8s a side while the bottom end was dealt with by six ground-based J-SUBS each side arranged in two stacks of three, with six Q7s and four Q10s for the front fills.

All the d&b elements were run off the new D80 amplifiers, which have a smaller footprint and a higher channel count than their predecessors. In this case they used two triple racks and one quad rack to make up the 10 amplifiers needed to drive the entire system, reducing the required space to a tidy 50% of previous set ups!

Sam used the SD10 console, his mixer of choice, in conjunction with TC System 6000 mastering primarily for vocal effects. He also utilised a Neutral Audio DeIntermodulator to clean the signal and streamline the separation across the main mix.

For monitors, Tom Howatt provided his own A&H iLive system, while Entec supplied six d&b M2 wedges and 14 channels of Sennheiser System 2000 IEMs. One of the guitar tech’s also used an A&H Me-1 personal mixer for monitoring stems received from the iLive.

The tour was relatively straightforward in terms of audio, the main objective being to ensure that the energy and complexity of Nutini’s captivating, beautiful, raw vocals were heard everywhere in the room.

Liam’s knowledge and experience of working each of the arena venues was invaluable to optimising the system each day. He was joined on the sound crew by stage technician Hector Riviera who was working for production.

A major challenge was working around the main projection screen, a vital part of the show aesthetic which was around100 ft at the widest point with the centre section flown on a curved truss. In addition to all the acoustic requirements, the PA hangs had to offer clear sightlines and also be out of the way of any potential shadowing from the front projection.

Liam explains that the purchase of the D80s, which operate via Ethernet on OCA, hailed the right time for Entec to go over to Dante, a system offering a much faster and smoother data transfer rate. This was also the main driving force to instigate a full show networking system in one hit, together with digital audio distribution and amplifier control.

They already owned Lake LM44 processors, so the initial deployment of Dante has been based around these which can easily be expanded for future demand and use.

More advantages of using Dante protocol include full redundancy, a general reduction in cabling and the choice of a wide range of compatible brands as well as great technical support from Audinate. Entec has also included MyMix personal monitoring as part of its shout system.

“With Entec is set up and futureproofed for networking, life will be a lot simpler and more flexible in the immediate future” comments Liam.

Magic concludes, “Investment in networking infrastructure is something on which we have tried to get ahead of the game. We are happy to roll this out as a robust system that really works, and an element we can see becoming an integral part of Entec as we continue to grow and expand within the industry. It will allow us to be at the cutting edge of technology … wherever that ends up going!!”

Photo credit: Liam Halpin