Hollywood Bowl Upgrades

The world famous Hollywood Bowl has installed the first eight of a total of 18 Lake Contour(tm) digital speaker processors in preparation for its summer 2003 concert schedule. The Lake Contour units, which incorporate a unique set of powerful DSP-based equalization and processing tools, including crossovers, dynamics and delays, are being used to optimize the entire sound reinforcement system at the historic venue, which seats nearly 18,000 and is one of the world’s largest natural amphitheaters.

Lake Contour’s unique Contour Controller software interface provides
intuitive management of all processor functions remotely, via a wireless
touchscreen, which, according to newly appointed sound designer Fred Vogler,
is especially useful in such a large venue. “The conventional way that you
tune a system is that you have somebody on a radio at the processor and
somebody maybe at the amplifiers, adjusting the gain there, then you’re
walking the house and communicating via radio to these folks. It’s rather
slow and cumbersome.”

It’s also a less than exact science, he notes. “You’re not really sure, when
you say, ‘Give me a another click up,’ just what a ‘click’ is. The Lake
system is nice because the information you need is all right in front of
you–the amount of gain, the amount of equalization. And you’re able to make
quick changes anywhere in the house and hear them as you’re doing it.”

The sound system at the Hollywood Bowl, which has been a live music venue
since 1922, comprises a main LCR setup with additional deck-stacked
left-right coverage, plus front-fill, distributed in-fill and delay systems.
With the exception of five Ramsa cabinets on the stage front apron and a
number of Meyer Sound subwoofers, the system consists of various
combinations of Sound Image four-way V/WG and two-way G1 and G2 cabinets,
plus subwoofers, all powered by QSC EX amplifiers. Yamaha PM1D digital
consoles handle FOH and monitor duties, with a Yamaha DM 2000 supplementing
at FOH.

Vogler, an engineer with an extensive live sound as well as music and film
recording background, initially contacted his friend Bruce Jackson, former
FOH engineer for Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand, for
ideas to improve the performance of the Bowl’s sound system. Jackson, who is
also VP of R&D at Lake Technology, suggested Lake Contour, a recommendation
that was met with enthusiasm not only by Vogler but also head soundman
Michael Cooper and assistant engineer Kevin Wapner, who had already been
considering the Lake processors.

Comments Jackson, “I’m delighted that the Hollywood Bowl is using the
Contour as part of the process of upgrading its audio capabilities. My
engineering team in Australia, particularly Marcus Altman and Justin Baird,
are also incredibly excited to know that the peak performance venue in
America has embraced our technology and their brilliance in hardware and
interface design. There is no doubt that when I go down the road, as I often
do, to see a performance at the Hollywood Bowl, the sound is now going to
represent the best possible experience for everybody in the house.”

ATK AudioTek Corporation’s VP of engineering Scott Harmala and senior
engineer Patrick Baltzell are typically brought in to tune the sound system
at the Bowl each year. “For a systems tech or engineer there’s nothing more
liberating than being able to walk around a venue and have complete control
of the system at your fingertips,” says Harmala. “It’s the best way to
fine-tune a system. The fact that the GUI is really functional, plus the
wireless mobility, is a great combination.”

Harmala, who was anxious to get his fingers on Contour after a brief preview
at a recent show, reports that the previously installed processors were
limited by today’s standards and made system tuning a difficult task. “I was
very impressed,” he says of his experience with Contour. “The units are
really clean and quiet, and well designed. The system is very easy to deal
with. It’s quite feature-rich and functional.”

The Hollywood Bowl summer season, which this year begins June 22, typically
features a program that truly runs the gamut of musical styles. The venue is
also the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl
Orchestra. According to Vogler, the recall functionality of Lake Contour
will help tremendously with such a broad range of musical events, allowing
him to save and instantly recall settings that work for evening concerts as
opposed to daytime rehearsals and soundchecks.

“In the case of the Philharmonic and the orchestral shows that we do at the
Bowl, there’s a big sunshade over the front of the stage during rehearsal so
the musicians don’t get burned up,” elaborates Vogler. “The sound changes
dramatically not only from the sunshade removal but also the changing
temperature and humidity. With Contour, we can have different configurations
for sunshade days then concert nights, and orchestral versus jazz versus
world music.”

About Lake Technology Limited
Lake Technology Limited, an innovator in audio digital signal processing, is
the creator of the technology behind “Dolby Headphone,” a software solution
enabling cinema-quality surround sound to be experienced over any pair of
stereo headphones. Lake has strategic relationships with Dolby Laboratories
and Clair Bros. Lake customers include major computer OEMs, commercial
electronics OEMs, telecommunications companies, airlines, and research
institutions. Based in Sydney, Australia, the company’s shares were listed
on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1999 (ASX:LAK). The company’s
wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, Lake Technology Corporation, has its corporate
office in San Francisco.

For more information about Lake Technology and its patented digital audio
technologies, please visit www.lake.com and email us at [email protected]

Lake Contour is a trademark of Lake Technology Limited.

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