Wicked on water
Theatre, event and broadcast sound specialist Orbital Sound has supplied Da-Cappo DA-12 single-ear micro microphones to Qdos Entertainment – one of the UK’s largest broad-based entertainment groups companies and a key supplier to US-based Celebrity Cruise Line.

The Da-Cappo microphones are already in use on two of the company’s Millennium-class luxury vessels, with the plan to upgrade the remainder of the fleet during 2011.

Qdos Entertainment is behind some of the lavish shows that are an integral part of the Celebrity Cruise Line experience. The high-end audio equipment used onboard in the cabaret style auditoria is the responsibility of Qdos Entertainment’s Steve Jonas. He chose Da-Cappo DA-12 single-ear units to meet the demands of the Broadway-style and cabaret productions on board. Featuring an average of four to six singers, 12 dancers and an eight-piece band, the shows are typically high-energy hour-long productions.’

‘Although the Da-Cappo range was relatively unknown in the UK, we thought that they looked a good solution,’ Jonas explains. ‘I put several units on another show we were responsible for – All the Fun of the Fair, with David Essex – and the actors just loved them. We were equally very happy with them technically – they deliver buckets of gain and perform very well.

‘When we upgraded the kit on the first vessel, the Summit, we immediately perceived a 60 per cent improvement in quality and clarity. Orbital and Da-Cappo worked with us to customise the single-ear hanger design for the second vessel, the Constellation, as we found the arms were a bit big for some of the artists. The net result is great – using an adult ear hanger with a kid’s boom. Each ship is now equipped with 12 DA-12s, which is more than adequate for the typical cycle of three productions on an average 10-day cruise. Everyone is pleased with the fidelity and clean sound, and from Celebrity Cruises’ point of view, they are good value for money.’

Other features of the Celebrity Cruises Line onboard sound systems include an EAW sound system, using KF695z and KF650z cabinets with JF60s and JF 80s for the delays, plus a full surround-sound system. Celebrity Cruise Line also recently upgraded the mixing consoles to Yamaha PM2000s, and Qdos has set the shows up using the CSC show control software.

‘When designing each show, we have to think very carefully about the show programming aspect,’ Jonas continues. ‘We use CSC to control all the mic muting – all the shows are timecoded – as well as all the reverb changes and video triggers. It really is having to work very hard, and does the job brilliantly.’ In addition, the theatres are also equipped with Alesis HD24 players for the playback, together with Shure transmitters.’

Jonas also put the Da-Cappos onto Qdos’ 2010 pantomime season, on the basis of putting them through a gruelling season. Some 60 performances later, he is pleased with the result, losing just one cable during the entire period and reinforcing the brand’s track record for reliability.

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