Orbital supply system for new Pet Shop Boys ballet

Orbital Sound recently supplied the sound system for Sadler’s Wells’ premiere of ‘The Incredible Thing – a narrative ballet with a contemporary score written and performed by The Pet Shop Boys. Multi award-winning designer Paul Arditti was responsible for sound design. He based the system around the d&b audiotechnik T-series T-10 line-array.

The spec for a top-end system that could cope with the demands of a tour was put together by Arditti, recognising that the in-house system at Sadler’s Wells would not be able to cope with the score’s large dynamic range. The main system consists of four hangs of eight T-10s, each with a T-Sub, plus a centre cluster of ten T-10s, with the addition of four d&b Q-Subs and four B2s to boost the low-end performance.

Arditti explained: “The T-10s are awesomely compact at just 30cm wide – to the extent that when I first saw them, I started to wonder if I had made the right choice. My concerns soon abated once I started to work with them, as the amount and quality of the sound they deliver is quite amazing, together with a very flat response. Their ultra-thin profile was also very popular with the set designers. I did most of the EQing by ear, which is how I prefer to work, although we also did some SMAART measurements to help me blend the T-10s into the T-Subs, then into the Q-Subs and the B2s – and it all sounded very good. We used the d&b R1 software for all the internal balancing of the T-10s and T-Subs, which is a very useful tool.

“We used a Digico SD8 mixing console, which was great but proved to be too small. Fortunately, the SD8 allows you to have all 60 input channels as either stereo or mono, so we got round the lack of inputs by using a lot of the orchestral channels in stereo mode.”