Midnight Tango

The UK tour of dance spectacular Midnight Tango calls on sound design by Gareth Owen and a sound reinforcement system based on d&b audiotechnik T-Series loudspeakers. Supplied by Orbital Sound, the system is scalable, in order to meet the requirement for the tour’s wide spread of venue capacities and acoustics.

While the show highlights the Tango routines that made Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace stars of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing series, Gareth Owen’s design is able to handle the score’s large dynamic range, while delivering consistent results across the tour’s many venues – these range from small, 600-seaters, up to theatres such as the Brighton Centre, one of the largest regional theatres in the UK, with more than 4,000 seats.

Midnight Tango is a very classy dance show, and depends as much on the score’s dynamic impact as it does on its impressive choreography,’ Owen says. ‘I was interested in trying the T-series as a viable solution for the project, but was concerned that it might prove a bit too much of a compromise – perhaps not quite appropriate for the smallest venues, and not sufficiently capable of handling the largest theatres. But that concern was unfounded, at both extremes – the results are astonishing.

‘The system is discreet enough for the small theatres, with plenty of coverage and power in hand for the biggest spaces on the tour, handling everything from the most precise detail of the quieter numbers to the shake-the-floor dramas – including a convincing thunderstorm – with equal success. We keep the same basic system, and simply augment it with a few extra cabinets for the larger theatres. With its overall flexibility, and consistency from venue to venue – in spite of the varied acoustics we’re encountering – the T-Series is proving an ideal solution.’

The main loudspeaker hangs are complemented by d&b audiotechnik T-Subs, as well as a Q-Sub array, and Owen is using a dual CSC3 sound-effects system with a total of 16 outputs. The show’s six-piece band uses wireless in-ear monitoring and Aviom personal headphone mixers in the wings, with DPA mics on many of the instruments. Owen elected to use Shure’s UHF-R wireless system for the first time, with the UR1M Micro-Bodypack Transmitters on several instruments, as well as the hand-helds: ‘The noise floor, clarity and accuracy of these radios is impressive, and it’s really good to have such a well integrated result,’ he says. ‘It’s reducing the number of cables on stage and, via the remote monitoring software, it’s easing the control task, as all the systems can be managed within one package.’

The tour’s sound design is using a mixture of Audio-Technica, Audix, Neumann and Shure microphones on the kit. Microphones are also used on part of the set, as for one number the drummer leaves his kit, climbs the set and plays the bottles on the bar.

Prior to shipping, the Midnight Tango system was prepped for some two weeks in Orbital’s warehouse, with the tech rehearsals at the tour’s opening venue – the 650-seat Jersey Opera House in Saint Helier – lasting a further two-week period. After three nights in Jersey, the show moved to the 2,300-seat Mayflower Southampton, ensuring that the tour’s extremes of venue capacity had been tested within the first two dates.

Working alongside Owen on the tour are Head of Sound Andy Johnson, Sound No. 2 Will Jonkler, and Production Engineer Chris Mace.

More: www.orbitalsound.com
More: www.dbaudio.com

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