Gilded Balloon adds Flare to its 30th Season

Orbital Sound added a new innovation for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Gilded Balloon, supplying a Flare Audio X2A Compact Vertical Point Source Array system, complemented by the Q18 sub bass units. Marking its 22nd consecutive year at the Festival, Orbital Sound was once again responsible for supplying and installing the extensive line-up of high-end audio and communications equipment across Gilded Balloon’s nine venues, with David Bartholomeusz at the helm.

For Gilded Balloon’s 30th Festival year, Teviot Row House’s rapid transformation from the University of Edinburgh’s SU into a high octane multi-venue facility was overseen this year by newly-appointed head of sound Sean Quinn, building on his previous experience as sound operator in the main 350-seat Debating Hall.

For 2015, Sean and David elected to specify a brand new system for the Night Club, introducing Flare Audio to the Fringe for the very first time. The Night Club featured a X2A Compact Vertical Point Source Array system, complemented by the Q18 sub bass units. The choice was made on the basis of the X2A being a perfect complement to the room’s raucous and loud style, playing host to a mix of mostly cabaret and music acts.

Sean has had fun putting the new system through its paces, explaining: “It’s very different to the highly controlled d&b audiotechnik approach, which we are used to and so has represented a bit of a learning curve. The X2A/Q18 combination is an incredibly lively system that really fills the room. Even when running the system really loud, you can stand right next to the cabinets without any pain – they are so directional and flexible. We have a karaoke-style band on every night and we all love the sound – it’s amazing.”

Other innovations included a slight face-lift for the largest venue, the 350-seat Debating Hall, where front-fill speakers were added to replace the balcony-fills used in previous years, and something that put a smile on everybody’s faces, in the shape of a pair of d&b audiotechnik J-INFRA Subs instead of the regular B2-SUBS. The sizeable J-INFRAs have stood up to the rough and tumble of the late’n’live sessions well, and to quote Sean “sound great at the back of the room”.

Service and support are critical elements for Sean and his team, with just six days for the load-in and tech and then a non-stop schedule of performances during the month of August. With the majority of the sounds and communications equipment hired in from Orbital Sound, it involves careful advance planning and close teamwork to ensure that everything comes together smoothly. For 2015, the partnership has once again worked really well as Sean concludes:

“David has been fantastic and is a real asset to us. He knows the venues, and got the rooms up and running for us very quickly. The support from Orbital Sound’s HQ has also been exceptional, getting any extra kit to us at the drop of a hat. With so many visiting technicians, it’s inevitable that you are going to have issues with radio mics sweating out for example, so we need to get spares in rapidly.”


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