ASHEVILLE NC 10.21.21——The 64th Monterey Jazz Festival held at the end of September and the first time post-Covid featured a multiple GRAMMY-Award winning lineup including Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, Pat Metheny Side-Eye, to name a few. The festival is the longest continuing running Jazz Festival in the world.
This year, the Monterey, CA festival used a d&b Soundscape and a KSL loudspeaker system provided by McCune Audio (based in South San Francisco with offices in Monterey and Anaheim. The KSL-Series is a medium to large format 3-way line array loudspeaker and smaller sibling to the GSL-Series loudspeaker system. KSL inherits all the features of its larger sibling, including full range broadband directivity, extended low frequencies, and advanced rigging options.
“The festival often books traditional jazz and orchestral ensembles in addition to pop acts. Because of this, feedback is a constant concern,” states Nick Malgieri, d&b Advanced Systems Specialist and front of house engineer for the festival. “For the first time, ever, the SL-Series allowed the PA to better avoid bleeding onto the stage which made for a feedback-free festival for the audience and assisted the musicians on stage to have a better experience. The reduced rigging time of the SL-Series was crucial this year as they reduced the load in by a whole day.”
“When I attended the KSL series rollout event at NAMM in 2019, I felt that this would be a great system to utilize at the Monterey Jazz Festival,” states Bill Knight, audio stage manager for the festival, McCune Audio, who has been involved with many aspects of the festival sound system since 1999. “The rejection of sound coming from behind the PA is considerably better than any other PA system I have experienced. And for this year in Monterey, that helped immensely in keeping the stage volume and monitor mix levels under control. This seemed to make it a much more enjoyable experience for those who spent the entire weekend working on the stage.”
Because the PA cannot be hung any higher than the structure allows, excessive volume in the front-of-stage area has always been an issue. Prior to the SL-Series, there were difficulties in obtaining enough level and intelligibility to the back seats which had been a struggle. “ArrayProcessing allowed for the most consistent experience,” says Malgieri. ArrayProcessing is a unique d&b technology which optimizes the performance of a d&b line array to deliver consistent tonality and level balance throughout the entire vertical coverage area of the line array.
Knight adds, “The d&b ArrayProcessing was also a great time saver. With the system programmed correctly using Arraycalc, it seemed to require very little if any tuning adjustments by the front of house. That is a huge factor, during what is otherwise a considerably demanding and often hectic festival setup.”
“The PA was never even measured. It worked perfectly, right out of the box,” notes Malgieri. “Due to the ’throw and go’ nature of festivals, not enough time was allocated for each act and visiting engineer to adapt their programming to utilize object-based mixing using Soundscape En-Scene. d&b En-Scene is a sound object positioning tool allowing the individual placement and movement of up to 64 sound objects. Likewise, the PA deployment options were very limited and did not allow for a perfect speaker deployment for En-Scene. For these reasons, it was decided to use a standard stereo mix for the main PA. The stereo signals along with feeds for front fills and subs were handled by the matrix capabilities of the d&b DS100 processor. However, to add a natural sonic experience, En-Space was used along with the stereo PA to provide a more intimate jazz club experience. d&b En-Space is an in-line room emulation tool which creates and modifies reverberation signatures for any space.”
“I thought the PA sounded great and there were clearly no technical issues,” states Tim Jackson, artistic director for the festival. “Thanks to d&b and McCune for the advance work in creating a smooth transition to the new system. The KSL-Series created a smooth, pleasing transparent sound that was cleanly distributed throughout the arena providing ample punch for the louder electric acts yet creating nuance for the subtler acoustic groups. The d&b system employs a wider use of technology and has more options than our previous system. The visiting engineers seemed pleased.”
8 x Y10P point source loudspeakers were deployed along the side roof lines to allow En-Space to create natural room acoustics for the outdoor venue. En-Space utilized the (8) Surround speakers as well as the stereo mains, (4) front fills, and subs. En-Space was driven by a console aux, just like with a traditional stereo reverb. This way, the guest engineers could add a chosen amount of En-Space without adapting their workflow or console files. We also sent selected signals to the surround speakers for added affect and ‘width.’ We would send keyboards, Leslie mics, and Rhodes channels to the surround speakers for a ‘larger than life’ sound. This approach also worked well for the standard in-console stereo effects to get them ‘wider’ than the PA.
“I am certain it was an extremely enjoyable listening experience for the entire audience,” adds Knight. “Although I have done sound for 21 years at this event, I look forward to this year being only the first of many, with moving our historic and beloved Monterey Jazz Festival experience into the future, with full respect to the past.”