JPS Australia


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter 3

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage, and is one play presented in two parts, which are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.

After its success in London and New York, the play opened at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre with JPJ Audio the nominated audio supplier.

Sound designer Gareth Fry, who has scooped numerous awards for his work on the play including winning an Olivier Award, a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award, flew in to ensure a smooth transition. Gareth has worked with director (and co-author) John Tiffany since 2006 saying they have a shared vocabulary for talking about things, shared reference points, and an understanding of each other’s tastes for things.

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As the play is set in a fantasy wizard world where nothing is naturalistic, generating the sound effects was a major undertaking for Gareth who strived to ensure the magic appeared very real.
With a normal play you can use a sound effects library or go out into the world to record it,” he explained. “As so much of this is spells and mystical creatures, all of that has to be created from scratch from the imagination. It’s a massively ambitious show in scale and storytelling, and we’ve had to create hundreds of sounds as well as developing a language to do that.

Rather than prepare most sound effects beforehand, Gareth and his associate Pete Malkin were in rehearsals full-time from day one, creating the effects in Logic and Ableton Live in response to what was being generated.

A lot of it was made in situ with the performers and creative team to make it really gel together,” added Gareth. “Quite often if you make something in the studio and then bring it to the rehearsal room, it doesn’t match.

The PA at The Princess Theatre is all d&b audiotechnik, almost exclusively the Y-Series which Gareth says is a lovely sounding box, well suited to this scale of theatre.

It’s a very large speaker system, particularly for a play, there are hundreds of speakers all over the place,” he said.

A TiMax Tracker is deployed to make vocal mics precisely follow the movement of actors. “Each performer wears a tag that the computer tracks so the TiMax system can pan their voice around the sound system so it sounds more like their amplified voice is coming from where the actual performer is,” Gareth elaborated.

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The show is so complex that two sound operators are required at FOH. One operator is kept busy mixing the mics and vocal effects on a DiGiCo SD10T, whilst the other person triggers the sound effects and music on QLab and Ableton Live , through a Yamaha CL5.

There are a lot of sound effects, and a lot of Imogen Heap’s pre-recorded music that moves between underscoring and the foreground,” remarked Gareth. “We’re using Apple MainStage software for all the different vocal effects, as well as a Lexicon PCM96.

A few of the radio mics had to be mounted in unusual places in strange costumes and so the aptly named DPA d:screet microphones were chosen as Gareth says they sound great, are very tough and are small enough to hide on cast members. As the show has progressed around the world, the microphones have kept pace with newer models being implemented so that by the time it opened in Melbourne, the new DPA d:screet 6000 Series was utilised.

They are effectively invisible,” stated Gareth. “The actors prefer wearing them too, because they are less obtrusive. They sound great and they are incredibly water resistant.

Gareth describes the transfer to The Princess Theatre as incredibly smooth saying the JPJ team were amazing. “I couldn’t have asked for it to go any smoother!” he declared.

All Photos: ©Matt Murphy


A Day On The Green


Promoters Michael and Anthea Newton of Roundhouse Entertainment began A Day On The Green in Victoria with the first show on Australia Day 2001. Since then it has grown to become firmly established as one of Australia’s most successful and respected outdoor concert events.

A glittering array of International and Australian stars have performed during the past fifteen years providing unforgettable musical memories. A Day On The Green runs in the summer months from October – March with around thirty concerts per season in the all major wine-growing regions around Australia.

This year kicked off at Bimbadgen Estate with the Monster National Tour featuring an all Australian line up including You Am I, Something For Kate and Spiderbait. As in previous years, JPJ Audio supplied crew and gear for the tour.

FOH Systems Tech Ryan Fallis has done ADOTG for the past eight years and has experienced everything that nature can throw at an outdoor show. The Bimbadgen show was no exception with high winds at midday causing the stage to be shut down for over an hour, just when acts were about to sound check. Added to that was a large bushfire nearby that threatened to have the show cancelled.

There’s been some terrible weather at ADOTG shows over the years,” remarked Ryan. “One year at Sirromet Wines in Queensland we had a lightning storm and we had to evacuate the stage – that was pretty dicey! There’s always some sort of weather event around ADOTG, one year the stage was actually under water but they still managed to get the gig going.

As the ADOTG gigs travel the country the PA system is provided through the three JPJ offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne whilst the FOH package is toured. At Bimbadgen an L-Acoustic K1 rig out of Sydney was used comprising of twenty-four K1 boxes in the air for the mains, eight K1-SB in the air, twelve Kara underneath the mains, twenty four SB-28s on the ground, four Kara infills and for the sides ground stacked V-Dosc.

It’s quite a few boxes but that’s needed to cover a field of that size,” added Ryan. “In Queensland we’ll have their V-Dosc system which sounds really good too. It’s a similar system box wise but we add a couple of rings of delays as well to get some extra coverage. In Melbourne we’ll pick up the d&b audiotechnik rig.

At each ADOTG show engineers request the mixing console they require, in this case there were two Avid Profile consoles with JPJ’s Adrian Roche mixing monitors on a Yamaha PM5d.

Gallery – click images to enlarge.


The Pixies Tour 2010

    Photos courtesy of Stephen Booth Photography


The Pixies returned to Australia for a sell out national tour. JAS provided a D&B J series system along with a M4 monitor system.

In a sign of things to come the shows were recorded live and CDs were available at the end of the show.


March 14 – 27


32 x D&B J8/12 line array boxes
12 x D&B J-sub
6 x Q7
2 x Yamaha PM5DRH
3 x DV-Dosc sidefill systems
12 x D&B M4 wedges

JAS Crew

FOH system tech: Craig Gordon
Monitor system Tech: Mathew “Boz” Boaro
Audio system tech: Nathan McGuinness

    Photos courtesy of Stephen Booth Photography Click to enlarge

Deniliquin Ute Muster Festival 2009

The Deni Ute Muster kicked of in a big way this year with Powderfinger headlining the main stage and doing their only live show for the month.

The system was a D&B J system with a XL4 console out front.

Over 15,000 people turned out for one of the greatest ute musters thus far. Lots of utes and dust to boot! The Ute muster is rapidly becoming one of the great summer festivals on the Australian calendar and we look forward to many more years of dust and utes!

JAS supplied a full production solution to the client including audio, lighting, stage and all production staff. Larry Ponting was the production manager and put the whole show together.


2-3 October 2009


36 x D&B J line
18 x D & B B2 sub
1 x XL4 FOH console
Lots of fx and nice stuff
1 x Yamaha PM5D
16 x D&B M2 wedges

JAS crew

FOH system tech: Doug Pringle
Monitor system Tech / operator: Mark Crawley
Monitor system tech: Paul Kennedy
Audio system tech: Jamie Davidson
Audio system tech: Hayden Smith
Audio system tech: Otavio ‘Guto!’ Santos

Oasis 2006

The Oasis Australian tour saw Bruce Johnston finally make it home after almost a year of touring. The Oasis juggernaut is an amazing phenomenon, with the band pulling enormous crowds throughout Europe and the Americas, with a huge resurgence in their popularity.

The Oasis shows sounded amazing, with 32 Nexo Geo-T elements and 16 Nexo CD18 subs powered by Camco Vortex 6 amps.

Bruce operated on his DiGiCo D5 console, while former Aussie Ian Newton operated the monitor rig from a Yamaha PM1D console.

The Oasis Australian tour was sadly the last tour for Johnston Audio by Drew Menard, who has moved on to look after the DiGiCo brand for Group Technology. Other Johnston Audio crew on the Oasis tour were Ivan Ordenes, who rigged the FOH and Mark Crawley who rigged the monitors.


December 14-16 2006

Silverchair “Across the Night” 2003

Article courtesy of CX Magazine (May/June 2003 issue)

Silverchair approached Rolling Stones levels of interest and enthusiasm on their Australian Tour across autumn. The five week run was designed for theatre and stadium, and featured an Australian pragmatism that a forty year old band like the Strolling Bones could never achieve.

The parallels – guitar rock band; theatre AND stadium shows; fans who are welded on. The differences? About 150 people less on tour with the Chair. No physiotherapist, no personal chefs, no valets.

Production values were similar, and in proportion too. Where the Stones toured the largest LED video wall currently in use on the planet, the Chair toured the new Barco LED wall from Technical Direction Co – Australia’s largest and best new wall. The Rolling Stones had a new line array PA – the Chair had a modern NEXO Alpha PA system.

Patrick Woodroffe’s lighting design for the Stones had everything that moved, all controlled from a Hog II. Hugh Taranto’s design for Silverchair had more than enough in the way of fixtures – controlled from a Whole Hog III.

What I’m getting at, is that Production Values need to fit the scale of the show, and the Rolling Stones 14 truck tour is not that far removed from Silverchair’s two truck loads. The people who matter – the audience – were well satisfied in both cases.

I caught the tour at the Pallais Theatre and then two days later at the Vodafone Arena. The light and vision production was essentially the same in both venues, with less speaker boxes used for the 2000 Pallais than for the 6000 seat Arena. “It scales up nicely”, said the polite Hugh Taranto, veteran of many Silverchair tours. His lighting design was clever, because there was nothing flown in the grid that needed focusing, so no one needed to climb up there. That made a huge time saver, since the house worklights didn’t need to go out, and the safety issues of not having climbing crew are obvious.

“We can go up there (there is a ladder) and we have the rescue gear. But if we need to change something we usually lower the grid.” I have arrived at the Arena at 3pm, and Hugh is sitting arranging his cues. The load in was at 0800, so good time has been made. The stage set is loosely based on the Diaorma album cover, so rainbow colours and weird set pieces are used. Three LED video walls are flown at the rear quarter of the stage, hung intentionally crooked. Huge fake picture frames make them look kind of grunge-retro. Each wall is 5 panels wide and 3 tall, so they each measure about 4.5 x 2.5 metres.

Hugh operates the Whole Hog III, a wingboard, and three Catalysts – with 3 Mac G4 and 2 laptops. His FOH setup is complex, and hubbed together via an Ethernet switch. It is impressive to watch him work all this, alone, while calling two followspots. For the first half of the show, the three Silverchair members are joined by two guest keyboard players who are set on stage left, above and behind the backline. Coloured panels are over each backline speaker. Six ‘zip rings’ which are a circle of ten MR 16 lamps, are hung around the backline, giving Hugh another element to go with six Zip strips – sitting vertically around the stage, and gelled in rainbow hues.

The band take to the stage with pungent incense burning, plumes of smoke rising, and do a set of new material than builds to a break. Hugh has imagery generated from 3 Catalyst systems (with 3 Mac G4’s) feeding the three screens. The images combine moving black and white clips from band videos, and a smorgasbord of patterns generated on Catalyst. As the sole lighting operator, Hugh has control over outputting the images through the Hog III – making the show very harmonized.

“For the first half, the screens are set to 1000 nits. Then I turn them up (to 2000) for the second half. I’m using them more like lights them. They come in and flash, in colours, and are a big bright light.” Bright they are! The band wanted a quieter set with a different look for the first half. Behind the three oversized picture framed LED walls is a red drape. Lights play out a lot of looks, and two followspots very subtly fill out.

The second half is achieved after the crew reset the stage behind a curtain. The rear red drape is gone, revealing three pods of 24 Par 64’s, using 240v lamps so they can be chased in many combinations. Each is gelled.

A directive from the band is that the second half is not full of technology looks, so the moving lights are generally restricted to reset when dark, not moving while on. “It’s a traditional rock show – not the different world theme of the first half “, says Hugh. At the sound desk the two halves of the show are simply delineated by volume. The show grows louder as the night goes on. By the second half it is pumping fat, or phat as we call it in soundland.

This tour marks the first time that Melbourne sound engineer Bruce Johnston has mixed the band. The former Chair engineer took a gig in the USA, and the band had been looking to use Bruce for a while.
Bruce also owns a sound compact company – JAS – which means he was naturally keen to tender to supply equipment for the tour. He won. “I would use whatever they wanted to use, bar one kind of system that I have on my contract”. Bruce wouldn’t say which is the brand of system he dislikes, or why.

Bidding for the tour was intense, but Bruce’s system choice of Nexo won the contract. Owning it means the contract wasn’t awarded by Bruce in any case, the decision went back to management with recommendations from Baily Holloway, the crew boss.

60 Alpha boxes made up the rig, 24 M3 (mid/ high); 24 B1 (low) and 12 S2 subs were flown and floor stacked to cover the audience. These were powered by just 2 amp racks per side – each rack loaded with four Camco Vortex 6 ultra-high powered amplifiers. Each rack produced 24,000 watts for a system total of 96,000 watts.

For the first time, Bruce used all Nexo on one tour, as the monitor system was also Nexo branded. Rod Matheson generated 4 in ear, and eight equalized sends of stage monitors from a Midas XL 250 console. 14 Nexo PS15 wedges were used, along with 2 Alpha E full range boxes on each side of stage as sidefills.

Out at front of house, the mixing console was an ageing but still good PM 4000, which is the top of the line desk in the JAS inventory. “I’m buying a Midas XL4, because when everyone is busy they are hard to get”, Bruce explained, adding that it can cost $2,500 a week to cross hire one. Some changes arose with the Silverchair sound when Bruce started the tour with the band. Previously the band used almost all triggered drums, with as few as eight open microphones on stage. “The band’s drum kit was all electronic except the snare and overheads”, said Bruce. “We changed that! It’s more melodic now, the samples just didn’t cut it. There’s more light and shade in the kit (sound).”

“We cut a hole in the front of the kick (for a mic) and re-skinned the kit. We put a note on the song list for Ben (Drummer) to retune the snare after the third number.

The samples are still sent to the desk from the drum tech area, so there are a massive 16 drum channels. Only the snare is still mainly sampled, “the kit is 90% live now”, asserted Bruce. The almost vintage but still popular Yamaha SPX 990 features as a snare reverb, Bruce says he just can’t escape the 1980’s. With four guitar inputs, bass, and two keyboard players – one of whom has a Leslie (rotating) speaker box, the rest of the desk inputs are filled.

“He (Daniel Johns) is a soft singer, so I ride his gain. I got an Avalon tube preamp for his channel and noticed the difference from the PM4k input preamp straight away. There is shit for days, like ride (cymbal) and guitar that will come through the vocal mic.”

Bruce is referring to stage spill. This band has an enormous live rock guitar sound. Truly phat, creamy and about 420 horsepower. During the final part of the show, when the three core musicians are alone on stage, Silverchair are possibly the tightest hard rock band on the planet.


March 19, 22-23, 25, 28-29
April 1-2, 5-6, 8, 10-11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 2003