Concert-goers attending alt-J’s Relaxer show at New York’s Forest Hills Stadium (cap. 12,000) experienced sound coming from all directions and, at times, the sensation of the vocals being whispered in their ears.
The effects were created by the new L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound system by L-Acoustics, which the manufacturer says was used by a rock band for the first time at the show.
Alt-J keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton says the aim was for every audience member to be surrounded by the audio, irrespective of their location in the venue. The band’s front-of-house (FOH) engineer Lance Reynolds had to design a mix which widened the audio’s “sweet spot” and compensated for a 250 foot time delay from the front of stage, preventing overlapping audio from spoiling the mix.
“Alt-J has a lot of interesting sonic nuggets,” says Reynolds. “With L-ISA, these are much more evident. I’ve been able to pinpoint instruments and sounds in specific places. The 36 mix is an extension of what we already do, but a really big extension.
“My hope was that the fans would walk away saying, ‘wow, did you hear that?’ I wanted heads to turn and the audience to feel completely immersed.”
The band’s production provider Rat Sound flew three arrays of 12 K2 each above centre stage, flanked left and right by single hangs of 16 Kara elements each. Two hangs of eight KS28 subs were flown behind the central array. Outside flew extension hangs of 16 Kara speakers, focused centrally.