Note: This case study is a real event. All names except In Concert Audio principals Don Jacobs and Serena Rockower have been deleted.

This event took place in a difficult, highly reverberant solid concrete environment, exposed to the outside world in a surrounding neighborhood where loud sound is not appreciated. Our client asked us to “keep it down” so they would not have complaints from the neighbors. But how do you temper rock and roll being played by teenagers in a reflective, highly exposed space? How do you please the performers, doting parents, a large crowd of fans, and the client while doing cultural justice to a form of music that is meant to be LOUD!

System Design

Don and Serena focused on vocal reproduction, which pleased fans and parents, by using loudspeakers that are designed to do just that. The use of small sub woofers helped confine bass frequencies (from the bass guitar and bass drum) to the concrete area where the concert took place.

Performer Relations

Don and Serena appealed to the budding professionalism of the players, calling on their good judgment and cooperation to help attain the goals of the client. We emphasized to their adult supervisors the need to meet the client’s goals, and our intention to showcase the fine performances to advantage.

Audio Mixing

Serena paid careful attention to keeping the vocal sound clear and out front, never buried under the electric guitars. This required continual tweaking and consultation since the band configurations were continually shifting between songs.

Stagecraft and Microphone Selection

Don used only 3 microphones on the drums when 6-8 would be standard for rock and roll. Several trips were made to the stage to make sure the volume knobs on the guitar and bass amplifiers were set at moderate levels. Microphones on these instruments were kept at a minimum level throughout the show.

Client Communication

Don and Serena kept in close contact with the client’s representatives for the week preceding the show to refine information about the program of the band(s), and their instrument needs to be supplied by In Concert Audio. We made clear our intention to meet the dual and somewhat contradictory goals of the client: Please the kids and their parents while avoiding neighborhood upset. Fluid communication was held as priority for all parties both in advance of the show and during the performance itself.

The concert was a wild success and with only minimal neighborhood complaint due to the close working partnership we established with the client’s representatives, the performers, and their adult supervisors.

This was definitely serious fun for all!

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