Elaine Paige strips back to HALO-C

Affectionately known as Britain’s First Lady of musical theatre, Elaine Paige has just completed her sold-out “Stripped Back” UK tour to rapturous reviews. Fans were treated to an intimate experience with just a five-piece band, a microphone and her. Paige treated audiences to a number of ballads from her favourite artists interspersed with the hits from the many musicals for which she is so famous. Delta Sound supplied all the audio equipment for the tour (stage, control, monitor FoH and PA systems) including a substantial HALO-C system of up to 33 boxes depending on the venue.

According to Delta’s Stephen Hughes who managed the equipment supply, a main PA system wasn’t initially specified on the tour. However, it quickly became apparent that the house systems were woefully inadequate for Elaine, and so Delta recommended a HALO-C system from EM Acoustics as the best solution. “The rigging in many of the venues wasn’t suitable for a full PA so we mostly ended up ground-stacking the system with around five or six boxes per side and then a number of HALO-C elements as front fill and two DQ20 advanced system amplifiers to drive the system. Fortunately, HALO-C performs as well on the ground as it does in the air – I know that having the ground stacks certainly made the FoH engineer’s life easier!”

Matt Gush, the FoH engineer in question, wholeheartedly agrees. “The decision to upgrade the ground package to a full HALO-C groundstack PA turned out to be an excellent one,” he said. “On more than one occasion we walked into a venue with a house PA that we’d agreed to use but I was able to rig the HALO-C to cover the entire venue and not patch into the house PA at all. Firstly, the results were considerably better than I could have achieved with the house PA, and secondly it gave me the consistency I’d been lacking across a variety of acoustic spaces and configurations. It was far better for me from a mix point of view, and much better for Elaine as well, especially as she is particularly sensitive to what is coming back at her from the house. We were able to control any backspill effortlessly, and the whole thing was very easy to set up with the assistance of just one local crew to build the stacks.”

Delta’s system tech, Sergey Becker, was also impressed with the performance of HALO-C, in particular with the reproduction of live acoustic instruments on stage which sounds completely natural. “I’ve heard many people praise the transparency of HALO-C, but it means nothing until you’ve heard it yourself,” he affirmed. “I was doing my routine walk-round at the start of our first gig to make sure that all areas were properly treated. When I went up to check the last area, the balcony, I found an empty seat so I sat down to have a quick listen and ended up staying there until the end of the gig just enjoying the sound quality!

“My last gig with the tour in Leeds has made it into the top 10, possibly even top five of all the gigs I have ever done from a sound point of view,” continued Becker. “An inescapable fact of a good system is that it makes both good and bad things coming into it more apparent, so the skills of the mixing engineer and the quality of the musicians on stage are paramount. This tour was gifted with both and the results were truly impressive.

“Mixing on HALO-C is always a pleasure,” concluded Gush. “Even in the most compromising acoustic environments, it somehow manages to cut through and provide clarity throughout the whole space. In this instance, it turned what might have been a challenging tour into an absolute dream for me, the artist and the audience.”

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