The Hollywood Bowl audio crew (left to right) at the FOH DiGiCo SD7 desk: Kevin Wapner, audio/video assistant and monitor mixer; Michael “Shep” Sheppard, head of audio/video; Fred Vogler, principal sound designer and mixer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Paul Geller, production director.
Hollywood, CA (November 20, 2014)—A pair of DiGiCo SD7 digital mixing consoles were purchased by The Hollywood Bowl to serve as the mixers for the venue’s FOH and monitors, as well as upgrading the PA system to 96 kHz. The 18,000-seat venue in Los Angeles hosted its annual summer series of concerts again this year, featuring performances by artists from all genres of music, including Gloria Estefan, Yo-Yo Ma, Elvis Costello, Herbie Hancock, Robyn, Steve Martin and a host of others.
According to Paul Geller, production director at the Hollywood Bowl for more than three decades, the PA system sounded great at 48 kHz. “But when you hear it at 96k, there are certain subtle differences that you pick up, such as the dynamic range of the highs and lows. It also produces a very natural acoustic sound. It’s a great marriage between the DiGiCo console and the L-Acoustics loudspeaker system.”
The Hollywood Bowl’s core audio team includes Fred Vogler, principal sound designer and mixer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which, along with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, makes its summer home at the venue; Michael “Shep” Sheppard, head of audio/video; and Kevin Wapner, assistant audio/video and monitor mixer.
“We’re at 96k with 160-something inputs and it still sounds as pristine as with two channels. I think that a big part of the resolution we’re getting is the front end of that console. It’s got a lot of high-quality mic pres, signal paths and processing,” commented Vogler.
Vogler addresses the zoned speaker system via the SD7’s matrix outputs, separately feeding the main left/right hangs, including flown subwoofers, down fill and front fill speakers, subs and mid-high boxes on the deck, plus various audience fill speakers. On the input side, says Vogler, he typically creates groups. “I’ll have a string group, woodwinds, percussion, horns or brass, lead vocals or solo instrument group, a band group and an effects group. I like the conductor or the notes on the page to do the balancing. It doesn’t mean that my mix is static, but I don’t get too heavy-handed with moving things up or down.”
The booth at front of house is equipped with several different outboard high-end reverb systems, but Vogler also makes use of the DiGiCo effects processors. “I use the tap delays and some of the onboard reverbs,” he reports.
The two SD7s are on a single Optocore loop, with all of the DiGiCo DSP located on stage. “If I can’t see a conductor well and I need specific cues, I put the conductor cam on the console’s meter bridge screen,” Volger said.