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Adlib Round the World with Ruell Howard


Adlib Round the World with Russell Howard posted: 19/05/2017

One man, one mic and one big mission-critical challenge to get it perfect every night - and that's what Adlib delivered daily for the latest Russell Howard in-the-round' arena tour. Adlib, the Liverpool based company, supplied audio and lighting for the UK arena leg of the tour - the biggest to date for the highly-acclaimed award winning stand-up comedian who delights audiences worldwide with his intelligence, wit and hilarity. Adlib's audio team was led by George Puttock who worked closely with Russell's FOH engineer Simon Lawson. George specified a Coda Audio AiRAY system for a number of different reasons; its unrivalled light weight, its excellent sound quality and projection, as well as the precise horizontal control. The fact it is quick and easy to rig was an added bonus for the crew.

The core system comprised of eight hangs of 8 x AiRAY, with 8 x ViRAY downfills each. These were flown either side of four LED screens rigged at cardinal points about the stage.

Each day a completely bespoke variation of this system was rigged and optimised to suit the exact conditions and nuances of the room, to deliver the punch lines to every seat in the house.

Coda Audio's Linus 10 amplifiers were suspended from an inner truss placed in a square behind the eight hangs, to facilitate neat cable management and short speaker cable runs. In addition to Coda Audio's Linus Live control software, Adlib designed a bespoke power control and monitoring solution providing individual control and monitoring of each amplifier from the ground. We couldn't risk having any circuit breakers in the air, with the inability to reset them mid-show, said Puttock.

Audio was transported using Coda's LINET signal distribution system, primarily for its absolute zero latency and high resilience. LINET was also perfect due to the long cable runs often encountered in getting to the centre of the arena from the control position.

All the processing and control was managed in the flown amplifiers; the signal being sent there from the DiGiCo SD9 FOH console. An SD11 was provided as a backup console, with a tried and tested Spirit Folio providing the ultimate backup for the completely discreet analogue backup system!

Russel Howard doesn't use IEMs, so six Coda TiRAY were flown on the East' and West' sides of the stage for monitoring. Twelve more TiRAY positioned around the lip of stage provided front-fill, their tiny form factor being ideal for sight-lines and the cameras.

The artist specified his own mic which was a wireless Shure Beta SM58.

George worked alongside a solid Adlib team of Tony Szabo, Simon Lawson, Billy Bryson, Steph Fleming and Antonio Calvi. He engaged in a serious amount of advance work beforehand, knowing that all the venues were very different and the PA would have to change to suit day-to-day.

Using this Coda AiRAY system was the best solution for this scenario because it's SO predictable he commented, it does exactly what the software tells you it's going to do and that makes for a very easy day on site .

With this reassurance, he could concentrate on his first essential job each day; thoroughly checking the position of the rigging points and adjusting the plan' to take into account any unforeseen eventualities accordingly.

Splendid and tremendous commented Puttock, It was a great tour, extremely well organised with harmony from all departments. The crew and the system delivered and there was lots of laughter throughout, both from the audience and from the crew!


A production lighting design was created by Adlib's Ian Tomlinson which brought a clean, stylish, elegant look to the stage, and most importantly, was focussed on lighting Russell Howard for the cameras and IMAG relay. This was crucial as it allowed all of the audience to see the detail and nuances of his facial expressions as he delivered his gags.

The lighting crew chief was Charlie Rushton who also worked on the last Russell Howard tour, and not surprisingly, the challenge for lighting was getting all the necessary cabling from the middle of the room to the distros which involved anything from 20 metre to 80 metre runs and some serious management.

Thirty-two sections of Prolyte pre-rigged trussing were used in total, 16 x 10ft. sections of S36PRA and 16 x 8ft. sections of S46PRT. Twelve of the 8fts formed a hexagonal shape with the addition of some custom spreader bars to make the angles correct.

Offstage from the hexagon were four front trusses one covering each of the four sides' of the stage, made up from four 10 ft. and an 8 ft. section in the middle.

The moving lights on each truss were four MAC Viper Profiles, while four Chauvet STRIKE 4 LED blinders were pointed into the audience with a large gap in the centre of the four front trusses to facilitate CT's IMAG LED screens.

On the six sides of the hexagon truss were four MAC Auras and two more MAC Viper Profiles.

Eleven Chauvet Colorado Batten 72 Tours were utilised for footlights around the edge of the stage ensconced in between each of the PA front-fills to warm up his face and fill some small gaps in the overall spread of lighting.

For follow spotting - an essential element in this set up - four Robert Juliat Merlins were specified and positioned out in the house at the quarter-points to the stage. One result of being in-the-round was the need to pull back on the intensity so these did not blind the audience members sitting on the opposite side to their throw path.

Lighting operator Tom Webber used a pair of Hog 4 Full Boars spec'd by Ian for control.

The opening involved some flashing effect which was fired and synched to timecode. There were two signature looks - one for the walk-in and one for theshow wh
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