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Johnny Appleseed

Other Stage Delay Towers

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Having been to a few British Summer Time gigs at Hyde Park this summer it has got me thinking about the sound quality at the Other Stage as well as its capacity size.

I remember vividly the complete crush at the back of the crowd when Blondie opened the stage in 2014. My mates and I were pretty much up against the food vendors at the back while everyone else pushed past to get elsewhere. There was a very slight breeze too which meant the sound quality for parts would be nothing more than a base murmur until the wind changed direction - not only that, when the weather was fine we could still comfortably talk and hear one another without any issue which for the second biggest stage, is pretty poor.

Hyde Park (of course far bigger in size) has 2 banks of delay towers. For The Cure and then on Sunday for Paul Simon we were well over 100m back from the stage but the sound levels were incredible due to the delay towers, while not being able to see much on stage the screens and delay towers more than made up for it - why can't The Other stage replicate this on a smaller scale?

I understand the maths behind the set up of delay towers and think the Other Stage should look into:

  • Moving the stage back by 30meters or so to allow more room at the back of the crowd arena
  • Adding Delay Towers to ensure those behind the halfway point (sound desk tent) can get a clear sound experience and not the muffled quiet tones it currently emits when the area is full and weather conditions are poor.

I may be wrong, but while the capacity for the festival increases, the stage sizes haven't to the same extent to accommodate.

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Interesting thoughts. 

Ref your suggestions the first may not be practical as it would impact considerably on 'production' space between Other and Pyramid stages. 

Adding small delay towers to what is essentially a relatively small audience space could be a good improvement though, especially if increased crowd sizes are a expectation for the future.

Cost is always a consideration though...it all impacts on overheads and funds available for the causes supported - so it could be that some sacrifices have to lived with.  Certainly there have been improvements over the years....screens for Other and West Holts, improved directional speakers for Pyramid etc which have been introduced as capacity has risen - so future enhancements such as you suggest aren't completely unrealistic even if capacity is now pretty much at peak.

 

 

 

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First time I've heard Hyde Park used as an example of good sound. They don't even turn most of their speakers on until the headliners come on. The one time we couldn't get into the front pit the sound was utterly abysmal. 

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Hyde Park have the same sound system as the Pyramid for what it's worth.

https://martin-audio.com/news/press-release/martin-audio-on-a-high-in-hyde-park

https://martin-audio.com/news/press-release/martin-audios-mla-conquers-hyde-park

Unfortunately, there's more (and closer) locals to worry about in Hyde Park compared to Worthy.  I've never been to a Hyde Park gig, so can't compare, but for those that have been before and after 2013, did levels at the front improve much after Martin took over?

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1 hour ago, Johnny Appleseed said:

Moving the stage back by 30meters or so to allow more room at the back of the crowd arena

not possible. There's a hedge not far behind it, and the space between the back of the stage and the hedge is needed for logistics.

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53 minutes ago, stuartbert two hats said:

Hyde Park have the same sound system as the Pyramid for what it's worth.

https://martin-audio.com/news/press-release/martin-audio-on-a-high-in-hyde-park

https://martin-audio.com/news/press-release/martin-audios-mla-conquers-hyde-park

Unfortunately, there's more (and closer) locals to worry about in Hyde Park compared to Worthy.  I've never been to a Hyde Park gig, so can't compare, but for those that have been before and after 2013, did levels at the front improve much after Martin took over?

Martin or no Martin, a 72dB limit means you won't hear shit. As a comparison, Martin can run the Pyramid Stage speakers at about 105dB.

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18 minutes ago, The Nal said:

Martin or no Martin, a 72dB limit means you won't hear shit. As a comparison, Martin can run the Pyramid Stage speakers at about 105dB.

Yes and no.  Mainly yes, obviously, but that 105dB is for right in front of the Pyramid (IIRC), whereas that 72dB is off site, namely - "Grosvenor House Hotel and Odeon Cinema"

http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/Data/Licensing Sub-Committee/20120217/Agenda/Decision Hyde Park Serpentine Road 170212.pdf

The technology Martin have been crowing about theoretically allows them reduce the noise levels outside the arena, so with the right technology, in theory you could have similar levels but yeah - that kind of voodoo is beyond even what Martin can with with all their hi-tech modelling and cancellation.  Ultimately I totally agree, if your gig is in a city, with 2018 tech, you're not going to match the levels at a farm, even if that farm has some houses right next to it.

I'd be interested in what the front of house levels are for Hyde Park, surely it's not that bad near the front?

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2 hours ago, CaledonianGonzo said:

Dunno if Hyde Park is the standard bearer tbh:

 

Talking from first hand experience - the sound levels for the Cure were superb - if you position yourself correctly behind those delay towers there's no way you can complain its too quiet. I guess Michael Hann was either at the wrong stage or on the fairground swing at the back of the park so couldn't hear anything over the rides jingles and his own screams.

"two hats" - yep huge improvement. I've been to Hyde Park summer gigs on and off for over 10 years now and you can definitely see the improvement.

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29 minutes ago, Johnny Appleseed said:

Talking from first hand experience - the sound levels for the Cure were superb - if you position yourself correctly behind those delay towers there's no way you can complain its too quiet. I guess Michael Hann was either at the wrong stage or on the fairground swing at the back of the park so couldn't hear anything over the rides jingles and his own screams.

"two hats" - yep huge improvement. I've been to Hyde Park summer gigs on and off for over 10 years now and you can definitely see the improvement.

There are probably pockets where it's alright but it's far from consistent. And if you watch any acts earlier in the day it's absolutely atrocious.

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2 hours ago, Mash011 said:

There are probably pockets where it's alright but it's far from consistent. And if you watch any acts earlier in the day it's absolutely atrocious.

Cool mate fair enough but this discussion isn't the point of the topic - 

I really believe Glastonbury need to make some considerations for improving the sound on the Other Stage and I think delay towers is the way to go. 

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4 hours ago, stuartbert two hats said:

I fucking love talking about PAs.  😎

Sacked mine. She could organise a piss up in a brewery but forgot to invite me. Bad PA. 😁

  • Upvote 1

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7 hours ago, Johnny Appleseed said:

Talking from first hand experience - the sound levels for the Cure were superb - if you position yourself correctly behind those delay towers there's no way you can complain its too quiet.

You shouldn't have to position yourself correctly.

For what it's worth, "delay towers" are only half the conversation.

With a decent setup at a stage the size of the Other, they shouldn't be necessary. With a shit setup, they absolutely would be. I must confess that I've not seen enough bands on that stage in the past few years to really gauge sound quality properly. You mention that 2014 wasn't up to spec - fair enough, but that's not the same setup they use now - though annoyingly I can't find the details of what it used to be.

Barring the Saturday Night last year, when the ridiculous wind blowing directly into the speakers was going to seriously hurt any system whether it had delay towers or not, has the audio quality been that bad on the Other in the last couple years? I'm not sure that anything prior to that really matters.

Edited by incident

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how many times is the other arena actually full though during the festival. Once or twice?

Conversely you see shit loads of acts there who play to about 5%-10% of its total capacity and delay towers there would be massive overkill.

I know not everyone can phsyically be at the front but why would you ever stand 100m away from a stage, get there earlier and get a better spot and you will enjoy it a lot more.

often people at the back dont care and are just sat down or talking.

to be clear, not talking about hyde park (never been) but specifically i dont think its a massive need at the other stage. I havent ever seen someone there I really wanted to see and think the sound was shit, but thats because I dont see acts that I dont really want to see and therefore when I do I make sure I get a good position. Standard gig going practice.

If they can make improvements that won't cost the festival a shit load of money then I say do it, but if it would cost loads and impact on budgets for other areas of the festival or affect what they can donate to charity then definitely not.

Edited by Memory Man

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14 minutes ago, Memory Man said:

I know not everyone can phsyically be at the front but why would you ever stand 100m away from a stage, get there earlier and get a better spot and you will enjoy it a lot more.

Counter arguments would be:

1) why should you miss another act you might want to see just to wait for someone on later in the day?

and

2) if the crowd is the same size, there will still be the same amount of people further away from the stage and therefore away from the speakers

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Can’t they just give out Bluetooth headphones?

And then stream pictures to our smart phones?

Then we can stay in our tents and watch, or even we could stay at home?

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17 minutes ago, ian the worm said:

Can’t they just give out Bluetooth headphones?

And then stream pictures to our smart phones?

Then we can stay in our tents and watch, or even we could stay at home?

That’s probably going to happen.

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4 hours ago, ian the worm said:

Can’t they just give out Bluetooth headphones?

And then stream pictures to our smart phones?

Then we can stay in our tents and watch, or even we could stay at home?

Sounds like a Coldplay gig...

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