Pafos - European Capital of Culture 2017
tube uk designed sound for a dazzling Opening Ceremony (OC) to mark the start of the ancient and mythical city of Pafos, Cyprus’s year as joint European Capital of Culture for 2017 (together with Aarhus in Denmark).
Working for Pafos2017, tube was recommended for the project by Liz Pugh from outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank, producers of the main OC show in central Pafos together with a team of Cypriot creatives and artists.
A special soundtrack for the show was written by Pafos-born international composer and music director Christina Athinodorou, who combined classical and electronic elements into the intricate soundscape.
tube’s Melvyn Coote took up the challenge of delivering sound for a cast of hundreds and an enthusiastic audience of around 12,000 who packed into the 28th October Square to enjoy the occasion which was also broadcast live by national TV network, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CYBC).
He liaised with a number of locally based audio suppliers and compiled a control specification which was sourced from tube’s rental stock in Manchester, UK.
It’s arguably the largest integrated live show seen on the island. From a sonic angle it involved a lot of organising and communication to amalgamate kit from around seven different companies.
The control package comprised a Yamaha CL5 console, Yamaha DME64 matrix control system, two Yamaha RIO 3224 racks and two Mac Mini servers – configured as an active machine plus ‘hot’ backup – running QLab for the audio playback content, working in conjunction with additional locally-supplied control including a Yamaha QL5 and another RIO 3224 for additional inputs.
A 3D surround sound concept was at the heart of the system around the square, with 9 points of PA. The PA stacks included L-Acoustics Kudos and subs, Martin W8LCs and subs, Nexo GEO Ds and Turbosound Flex Arrays … as well as some others!
There was a lot of boxes … and a host of audio inputs!
An additional parameter to galvanise the audio team … was the decision to stage a massive concert by Greek singing superstar Alkistis Protopsalti immediately after the end of the OC, requiring a completely new and different FOH setup, monitors and backline on top of the Opening Ceremony show … that could be turned around in 10 minutes!
17th February 2017
Made in Hull
Hull launched its year as the 2017 UK City of Culture with ‘Made in Hull’, a week of innovative and engaging mixed media sound, lighting and visual installations telling the story of the city and its people over almost a century.
tube uk was delighted to join in the excitement, specifying, rigging and fine-tuning audio systems for six separate interactive works around the city centre.
Made in Hull was designed to thrill, excite and intrigue the public and was created by the core creative team working alongside numerous artists. The installations ran for seven days from 1-7 January.
tube – based in Manchester and London and known for its penchant for invention and thinking ‘out-of-the-box’ was working closely with BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award winning sound designer and composer Dan Jones who created content and curated each of the installations.
Melvyn and the team were delighted to be selected as the audio supplier for this ground-breaking event by Ground Control, Made in Hull’s technical suppliers who were in turn appointed by Chris Clay, Technical & Operations Director at Hull UK City of Culture 2017. “It was a fantastic project and a great honour to be asked to work with someone of Dan calibre” enthuses Melvyn, “We all learnt a huge amount from the experience, and there were several firsts for us … including having to specify and tune a system that was acceptable to penguins and sharks!”
One of the installations – composed by Terry Dunn – was located just over the water from Hull’s famous aquarium and marine centre, The Deep, and the audio needed to take into account the residents – penguins and sharks in particular being known for their ultra-sensitive hearing!
Melvyn worked with a crew of 12 sound engineers, all hand-picked and audio specialists in their own right … and of course, used a lot of d&b kit!
‘Made in Hull’ attracted massive crowds – over 342,000 people over seven days – giving a great start to a year that will be full of vibrant transformational cultural activities celebrating the unique character of the city, its people, community, history and geography.
14th January 2017
tube uk celebrates 15 Years!
tube UK celebrates being 15 years old!
That’s quite an achievement in any industry, particularly in the crazy rough-and-tumble world of live music and production!
Founder Melvyn Coote is rightfully proud of the landmark. The small and tight-knit team of individuals who have helped build and move the tube concept forward over that time have ensured it’s always retained the personal and human touch combined with a lively appetite for engaging with interesting and intricate acoustic challenges.
After finishing a B.Eng degree in Electro Acoustic Engineering – essentially the physics of sound – at Salford University in 1996, Melvyn started ‘doing sound’ as a freelancer as well as co-running a small fledgling sound company in Manchester.
Melvyn then founded tube UK ltd in 2001, building the company around his passion for sound. In true audiophile style he has made it his profession and specialty, enthusiastically exploring the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the medium, building up a diverse client base in the process and developing a company that is dedicated to ensuring the best possible sonic experiences in any scenario or circumstance.
These core values and a penchant for approaching things a bit differently from the mainstream … have made tube UK unique.
This enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to being themselves is shared by all who work with tube, and has resulted in both commercial success and engagement with a variety of cool, fascinating and sometimes brain-teasing audio projects.
Fifteen years later, tube’s HQ is still based in the centre of Manchester and is providing sound designs, solutions and equipment for a myriad of different projects.
From the music conscious Manchester and northern club and night scene to a range of mind-bogglingly ambitious public arts initiatives, working with the local council on events in and around the city and servicing a diverse selection of corporate clients … all appreciating the need for good sound and how it can make or break a show or performance
tube’s current team includes 7 hand-picked full time colleagues plus a host of regular like-minded freelancers … all devoted to the shrine of sound!
High points over the 15 years have included the opening of the southern office in 2011. Located in Slough, Berkshire, just outside London and ideally placed for co-ordinating projects in London and the south of the country, underlining the same personal and tailored tube UK service and attention to detail.
It was a big step at the time, but vital for the company’s development, and around 60% of the turnover is currently generated via the Slough office.
Tube has also invested in premium audio brands from day one … like d&b, Yamaha, Sennheiser, Midas and more
Every project has been memorable in its own way – sometimes seemingly impossible or just plain crazy! One of many that are stuck in Melvyn’s mind is the opening ceremony for Finnish city Turku’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2011.
The site was the former Wärtsilä Shipyard on the – appropriately named – River Aura – which in January was completely frozen solid.
With a metre of snow on the ground and temperatures varying between a tropical minus 20, plummeting to minus 30 degrees … keeping a 200 speaker sound system running for the tech, rehearsal and show days over a vast performance area … was a massive challenge in extreme conditions!
These are the sort of experiences that Melvyn and the tube team love!
“It’s been immensely satisfying, very varied, always interesting … and sometimes a little mad” says Melvyn reflecting back, “but hugely invigorating! Every day we have the chance to learn something new and ‘push the envelope’ whilst delivering outstanding sounds to our clients”.
Here’s to the next 15 years!!!
28th October 2016
tube UK took sonic excellence to new levels with the design and installation of a d&b sound system for Manchester’s lively Albert Hall venue.
The beautiful former Wesleyan Chapel built in 1910 was restored to its former glory and given a new lease of life as one of the most atmospheric live entertainment spaces in the city by independent owners, TROF. “It was hugely exciting to be involved in something like this from the ground up,” comments tube’s Melvyn Coote, who embraced the same labour of love ethos that drove all at TROF during the restoration.
The big challenge for Melvyn and the tube team was the multi-purpose nature of the entertainment programme – from banging club nights and Bongo’s Bingo raves to a fine-tuned line up of multi-genre bands to comedy and cabarets. It’s also available for private functions, parties, presentations and conferences … so ‘covering all bases’ was the vibe with the standard system.
Melvyn chose 10 d&b V8s which are ground stacked left and right of the stage, rigged on 4 x V-SUBs and 4 x B2 Subs.
The balcony circles the venue 270 degrees, meeting up with the stage at one end, so there are two further hangs, each comprising four d&b Y8s and one Y-SUB, all flown, together with four Q7s serving as nearfield outfill for the wrap around area.
Downstairs on the ‘ground’ floor of the venue, are four E8 delays hung under the balcony ceiling.
d&b was chosen by Melvyn for its robustness, overall sonic qualities, compact dimensions and aesthetics. “I needed a system offering full dynamics from the super-high SPLs of dance music down to the finesse and detail of the spoken word,” he explained.
It also had to be a lightweight solution, and “not many other systems that could do the business in terms of weight to power ratio,” confirmed Melvyn.
All the d&b elements are powered by 17 x D12 amplifiers routed via a Yamaha DME 24 matrix controller.
A Yamaha CL5 was selected for both FOH and monitor consoles, picked as a “fantastic mid-level choice covering a multitude of requirements”. More specific requests are dealt with as needed, and performers can also bring in their own consoles – a facility made super-easy with the Yamaha DME.
The ‘house’ monitor set up includes d&b M4 wedges and a Q-SUB drum fill, again powered by D12s, and tube is supplying a full mics-and-stands package, complete with a selection of Shure, Sennheiser, Audio Technica and Beyer.
29th September 2016
tube installed a comprehensive new d&b sound system with Midas and Yamaha control into the popular 800 capacity Gorilla bar, lounge and live music venue right at the heart of Manchester, UK’s vibrant nightlife.
Approaching its fifth year as one of the city’s best loved venues and celebrating its past connections as the ‘Green Room’ theatre space, Gorilla has been adapted as a live music, performance and DJ platform with a diverse mix of entertainment generating a lively mixed ambience for those interested in food, band and DJ culture, multimedia and the arts.
tube designed and installed two separate sound systems, one in the live music room and the other in the main bar and lounge area to raise production values and take the specs up so more shows by rising stars and touring artists can be staged.
In the main live music room, a Midas PRO2 was chosen for FOH mixing together with a Yamaha for monitors, two dead-hung arrays of d&b Q1 speakers with Q10 downfill per side, all powered by D12 amplifiers.
To add atmospheric low end underneath the stage are four d&b Y-SUB and two V-SUB bass units. One sonic conundrum was an accumulation of sub-bass towards the back of the stage due to the venue’s location of a railway arch beneath Oxford Road station!
The solution has been d&b Y-SUBS and V-SUBS with cardioid dispersion that reduce the amount of sub frequencies pushed out to the solid back wall, significantly improving the stage sound for bands and artists.
Careful placement of the main Q1/Q10 arrays has also removed the need for any additional delays down the room, completing a neat and great sounding system tailored to the venue.
A comprehensive stock of mics is available for use onstage, plus 8 x d&b M4 wedges and a Q-Sub for drum fill – all running off D12 amplifiers.
The results have been stunning!
Sound engineers, tour and production managers, artists, the public and the venue owners have all noticed – and commented enthusiastically – on the difference!
d&b’s E8 elements were chosen for the adjoining bar area … and as no self-respecting venue would be without a good sound in the toilets, three E6s keep the vibes enlivened in the smallest rooms!
The system in all areas is powered by d&b D20 amps with a Cloud controller system.
The DJ booths in both rooms now feature identical set ups with audio links between the two rooms allowing sound, like a band playing in the back – to be relayed through to the lounge if desired.
15th August 2016
Manchester Day Parade
Working for outdoor arts experts Walk The Plank, tube provided nine different sound systems in six locations and on two parade floats around Manchester city centre for Manchester Day 2016.
The high profile event was enjoyed by huge crowds who were thrilled by the elaborate floats, incredible costumes and vibrant array of music on the parade section of the Day, as over 80 community groups snaked their way down Deansgate via Albert Square and on to the finish at Exchange Square.
tube supplied the first float in the parade – the Orrery – and also the final one which was a very special show-stopping collaboration by local hero, dance music producer and icon Graham Massey (808 State, etc.) and brass collective Mr Wilson’s Second Liners.
Technically the biggest challenge for tube’s team was Graham Massey’s float, built as a spectacular giant glitter-ball beneath which Massey – resplendent in matching mirror suit – mixed his magic live.
He created live loops taking samples from the Second Liners, a nine piece brass and percussion ensemble mode, each individually mic’d by the tube team.
A large and awesome 360 degree sounding PA on the float – the main objective was to give it plenty of oomph – comprised four d&b Y7Ps and four Q-SUBS powered by a D80 amp and mixed via a Yamaha LS9 console. The Second Liners’ radio mics were all Sennheiser 5000 series.
As Massey’s float entered Exchange Square the audio link was beamed via RF transmitter to a receiver onstage sending the signal to the higher powered PA – also d&b – which kicked in seamlessly … transferring the sound so all eagerly awaiting the float could benefit from the full PA.
Massey and the Second Liners then produced a totally unique 15 minute piece complete with dance groups from the main parade.
“An iconic Manchester dance vibe imbibed the whole of Exchange Square – it was totally amazing,” enthused tube’s Melvyn Coote, explaining that a key to making this happen smoothly was building the PA in a very specific part of the Square – for which tube undertook a site survey, risk assessment, etc., and presented a full proposal to the council for approval.
The Exchange Square stage featured eight d&b V8s and four V-SUBS, powered by four D12 amps and the reception kit for the RF link was also Sennheiser.
Other tube sound systems were set up in Albert Square at the ‘Circus House’ stage, at the ‘Come Pain or Shine’ area dedicated to aerial performance and at a third stage hosting a compère talking through the vibrant parade floats passing by through en route to destination in Exchange Square.
More d&b PA’s serviced St Anne’s Square and the Great Northern Square stages in a full-on day of music, entertainment, culture and fun!
19th June 2016
Victoria (Wood) Station
Victoria Station in Manchester was the location for a ‘pop-up’ public tribute to national treasure Victoria Wood – the hugely talented English comedienne, singer and songwriter, screenwriter and director died in April.
With a last minute change in plans due to a large increase in the expected audience, organiser Kathryn Fox from Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus contacted tube to provide a solution using a battery powered system due to the lack of mains electricity available in the new location.
A full PA solution was designed overnight, and the result was an excellent quality sound system servicing a noisy environment for the 400 people who attended.
The event was a great salute to Victoria’s life.
4th June 2016