London (September 29, 2004)–Jekyll & Hyde has enjoyed a record-breaking Broadway run and is now touring the British Isles. Paul Nicholas takes the lead and MC2 E Series amplification plays a major part in Stage Electrics’ authentic recreation of Broadway’s glitzy sound.
Sound designer Glen Beckley outlined the ethos of the system: “We’re using a horn-loaded PA system comprising of EAW KF300e which, in my opinion, still haven’t really been surpassed, Funktion One AX88s in the center cluster and then some EAW SB330 subs. I also have 18 Pro-Ac delays, which I use as and when necessary. The show has actually been around as a musical for about 15 years, so it’s quite popular among musical theatergoers, but over here, their reference point is generally from the Broadway CD. So, when they come to see it in a live environment, it’s very important to the producers, UK Productions, that the sound of the show refers back to that. We were looking for a cinematic feel, so it’s quite shiny and polished.”
Beckley continued, “My whole approach to PA systems is that I want them to have ‘authority’ in the way they deliver. That’s one of the reasons I still love working with horn-loaded speakers; there’s something in the way that they grip hold of a sound and fire it out at you, that gives it an attitude and an authority. However, they are a lot more sensitive to being set up properly and it’s very easy to get it wrong. You’re pretty much relying on the quality of your equipment, your instinct and experience to get it right. Obviously this means you’ve got to have great amplification, which is where MC2 comes in.”
The system uses a combination of MC2 E45s on subs, E25s and E15s. There are eight sub cabinets with one amp channel per sub, giving the system a weight to its response, Beckley explains. “There’s something about really big transducers and really low frequencies and not taxing the system,” he said. “It’s a bit like having a really big engine and only ever driving it a 2000 revs. It’s the American car approach to engineering, but it just means that whatever the level and whatever the frequency, the system is always all there. If the bass player has a six-string and can hit a very low note, a lot of systems deliver it much quieter and thinner. So as the bass player travels down the fretboard to the lower strings, he gets quieter and quieter and then gets louder again as he travels back up. That’s because of the frequency, and the musical response not being adequate for what it’s doing. Whereas with this system, the really low notes are as present as the really high ones, and at the end of the day it’s as much down to the amps as anything else.”