Sound consultancy background
Sound Improvement Services
Copyright © 2009 - 2021
Sound Improvement Services
approach to sound quality
Spotting a hole in the market, I gave up my
“day job” and started working as a freelance consultant.
I worked on a very wide range of projects from studio consoles
(one or two listeners) to consoles for special events like
James Brown’s appearance at a free event in Paris (one million
I provided technical consultancy and
European distributor training for Autograph Sales Limited
during the mid-to-late 1980s. Projects at that time included
system design support for artists like Meatloaf, Ultravox
and Paul Young and work with pioneering rental
companies like Sound Hire and Wigwam Acoustics. This
cooperation led to involvement in the original Band Aid
concert in the Royal Albert Hall.
Sound Improvement Services
After nine years
working in the UK manufacturing sector, I wanted to get
more involved in the kind of acoustical analysis projects
that are outside the brief for most pro-audio
already been discussing BBC Proms projects with the BBC,
training provision with Rational Acoustics, plus
stage and auditorium investigations with Royal Albert
Hall etc. so I returned to the world of independent
consultancy in 2010 by setting up Sound Improvement
information on Sound Improvement Services, see here. .
Autograph’s main loudspeaker supplier, Meyer Sound Laboratories,
were starting to
develop their Source Independent Measurement (SIM) system at the
based on a standard Hewlett-Packard dual channel analyser, the
developed into a powerful in-show alignment tool.
My involvement with Autograph Sales Limited led to the development
of sound system
packages for large scale opera recitals with artists like Luciano
Domingo, Jose Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Further popular opera shows in the UK, USA and Europe included the
productions of Carmen, Aida and Turandot.
I also designed a multi-channel sound system to provide an
accurate orchestral soundscape for a Barcelona Opera charitable
concert held in the Palau Sant Jordi.
During the 1990s I provided similar services for Meyer Sound Labs
Inc., joining Meyer’s team at the Montreux Jazz Festival during
its last few years in the Casino and its first few years in the
new concert hall.
I worked on an architecturally friendly solution to the problem of
producing heavily amplified Rock and Jazz in the new venue. The
brand new Stravinsky Auditorium had been designed for orchestral
work only and initially had a six second reverberation time plus a
lot of fricative confusion when flown sound systems excited the
The excessive reverberation needed to be reduced to around one
completely covering the halls magnificent architecture.
At the same time, Meyer Sound’s SIM System II had been completely
and I kept busy running SIM training workshops across Europe.
I also undertook studio and control room trouble-shooting plus
new-build acoustical consultancy for over twenty five studio
complexes over the years. Many of these were private facilities
for musicians I had met during my live sound work.
The growing popularity of large-scale
amplified operas and classical recitals and SIM’s
ability to distinguish between direct sound, diffuse
reverberation and echoes also led to a lot of show
consultancy and trouble-shooting commissions.
As we’d already seen, many venues,
designed for sound sources located on the stage,
perform quite badly when excited by sound systems
flown considerably higher.
I was kept busy aligning sound systems and taming troublesome
with a combination of lobe minimising, beam steering and diffusive
without destroying the room’s natural reverberant “tail”; so vital
for orchestral and
operatic work. Crude absorption is not always the solution.
I also provided consultancy and alignment services for countless
companies, covering events from rock, pop and orchestral concerts
to opera recitals.
This involved artists like Lou Reed, Paul Weller, The Corrs, Anita
Venditti and Diana Ross.
Typical projects included sound consultancy for the Royal
Shakespeare Theatre in
Stratford-upon-Avon and the amplification and re-imaging of
organ. The latter was for an orchestral concert featuring
percussionist Evelyn Glennie
that culminated in a rousing performance of Saint-Saëns’ organ
Other events in the late 1990s included BBC Proms in the Park,
Stockhausen & Björk
at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and the Three
Tenors’ live show in
Paris to mark the climax of the World Cup ’98.
During the late 1990s, I rekindled my links
with my old Midas neighbours, Martin Audio Limited and provided
sound system consultation for the Pope’s address to the World’s
Youth near Rome in the Year 2000.
The large scale distributed sound system was required to
provide intelligible sound for 2.3 million pilgrims in a single
audience. The furthest listener was one mile from the stage!
This activity culminated in my joining Martin Audio’s projects
department on a full time basis.
I worked with Martin Audio from January 2001 to December
2009, initially as Senior Projects Engineer and then as
Product Manager, providing system design and project
support training for Martin Audio’s worldwide users.
Martin Audio returned to the touring sector with a bang
through the 2000s - manufacturing systems that were
used for artists like ZZ Top, Massive Attack, the Killers,
the Ting Tings, Kanye West and Girls Aloud at that time.
Martin Audio systems were also used for eighteen of the
top thirty outdoor festivals in 2009 plus, of course, the
month long iTunes Live with W1 Productions in London's
I have presented guest
lectures for Birmingham City university and for
Manchester's School of Sound Recording. SSR provide a fantastic
live sound facility, supported by people like Wigwam Acoustics and
host of pro-audio manufacturers.