alt-J: Forest Hills

Photo courtesy of Drew Gurian

Project Description

UK based alt-J kicked off their recording career in a big way with with 2012’s Mercury Prize-winning first album, “An Awesome Wave.” Following up with “This is All Yours in 2014, the band has toured the world and been a fixture at the globe’s prestigious festivals ever since. In 2017 they released “Relaxer,” and began a circuit of festivals and tour dates to support the album.

alt-J shows have become synonymous with innovation, highlighted by an award-winning lighting design. The band’s desire to elevate sound to the same level of innovation as the other show technology led them on a search for technology that would allow them to present a live stadium show in surround sound. Having heard about L-ISA, FOH engineer Lance Reynolds visited the L-ISA studio at L-Acoustics in Westlake, California to explore the technology. He was excited about the possibilities it offered and when he presented L-ISA to the band and their management, everyone agreed that this was the right technology to create a historic immersive surround performance, choosing New York City’s Forest Hills Stadium for the show.

Sound Design Solution

To create the giant L-ISA zone, three arrays of 12 K2 each were equally spaced above the center of the stage, flanked left and right by single hangs of 16 Kara elements each. Two hangs of eight SB28 subs were flown behind the center K2 array. Outside those five arrays, to left and right, extension hangs of 16 Kara speakers were toed in toward the center. A hang of nine K2 boxes on either side provided out-fill for those seated immediately next to the stage. Three pairs of Kara and a pair of ARCS II delivered front-fill. A mounting system for the 16 Syva surround speakers was created by attaching poles behind the handrails at the upper edge of the seating bowl and fixing the speakers to them. L-ISA Controller software was used to place sound objects with the L-ISA Processor dedicated to spatial audio processing, and the entire system was powered by a combination of 15 LA12X and 31 LA8 amplified controllers.

L-ISA Design L-ISA Design
L/R Design L/R Design
L-ISA Design L-ISA Design
L/R Design L/R Design

Technical Information

TypeAmphitheatre
Venue75m deep x 90m wide
Stage25m Wide x Height TBD
FOH40m from D.S.C.

Constraints

Min trim heightLow steel 15m

Sound Design Target

Program typeRock
Program type>= 105 dBA
SPL distribution9 dB
Frequency contour12 – 14 dB (@ 100hz)
Frequency contour12 – 14 dB (@ 40hz)

L/R Coverage

Strong Imaging

Weak Imaging

L-ISA Coverage

Strong Imaging

Weak Imaging

“It was like he was whispering in my ear, and it was so cool! This was the first time that I felt like I was really part of a musical experience… I can’t stop smiling!”

— Alex H., audience member