Singapore’s Star Performing Arts Center Chooses Waves

The 5000-seat theater at Singapore’s Star Performing Arts Centre caters for a wide range of music concerts, theater and speech events. We spoke to Head of Audio Reuben Ong about the theater’s use of Waves MultiRack and Waves plugins.

The audio team at The Star Theatre at the Star Performing Arts Centre in Singapore.

The audio team at The Star Theatre at the Star Performing Arts Centre in Singapore. Pictured L-R: Muhammad Khairul Bin Shariff (Assistant Head, Audio), Muhammad Iszuan Bin Razali (Senior Technician) and Reuben Ong (Head, Audio).

The key venue of the Star Performing Arts Centre, the 5,000-seat Star Theatre is fitted with high-end audio, video and production lighting systems for an exceptional audio-visual experience. It caters to a wide range of amplified music and speech events, as well as large-scale corporate meetings and pop concerts. We got to hear from Reuben Ong, Head of Audio at the Performing Arts Center, why he chooses Waves MultiRack, SoundGrid Servers and SD7 Pro Show bundle.

Discussing the theater setup, Ong says, “Waves processing is a part of our current default console setup in The Star Theatre. Our default theater console system consists of three units of DiGiCo SD7 Quantum, one each for Monitors, FOH and Broadcast/Recording. At each of the SD7s, there is an engine-based redundant system for Waves controls and processing. On each console, both engines are connected to two Waves Extreme Servers and two Host computers for the MultiRack Application (Apple Mac minis through a gigabit network switch). The configuration is such that each SD7 engine is connected to one Waves Extreme Server and one Mac mini for controls. A 24-inch touchscreen monitor is used with both Mac minis by means of a KVM setup. Currently, we are utilizing the Waves SD7 Pro Show plugin bundle for all of the SD7s.”

“We started using Waves in 2013, a few months after our opening, and we were using the SoundGrid Server One for a long time. However, with the changing requirements of our anchor tenant and the incoming shows and events in our venue, we have seen our Server One processing being stretched to its capacity. The Waves Extreme Servers are the next phase of upgrade that allowed us to cater to the requirements of all our end users. Our team of casuals has also seen faster processing and more stable operations with the new Extreme servers and are very happy with the performance.”

“The Waves MultiRack plugin host gives us a smooth way to use Waves plugins in live events. Its auto-delay compensation function allows for a coherent transfer of digital audio across all the channels. The remote function between MultiRack and the SD7s also helps in ensuring that shows are in sync from console to Waves control. We faced some initial difficulty in moving from the previous SD7 on desk Waves MultiRack to the current external control setup, but those problems are mitigated with some testing.”

Discussing their use of Waves plugins Ong says, “My team and I have been Waves users since the early SoundGrid license days, and we have purchased the license as part of the venue’s original SD7 package. Over the years, the upgrades given through the Waves update plan have kept the SD7 Pro Show bundle relevant, and it has been serving our purposes. Our theater has events of different nature, from rock concerts to pop orchestras and corporate talks, even theater and dance. We have depended on different Waves plugins for different purposes.”

“The main plugins that we have used extensively for our meeting events are of course the Waves Dugan Automixer and Dugan Speech. This is especially useful for company AGMs, where we see about 30 microphones on stage for the board of directors and more mics on the audience floor for Q&A. It eases the engineer’s work in managing a large number of open mics. The Waves Dugan Automixer plugin has been effective in managing feedback and for balancing levels for many conferences, as well as drama skits at The Star Theatre.”

“The Waves IR-Live Convolution Reverb plugin is also used heavily by my team,” Ong continues, “Coupled with the impulse responses from various other halls and boutique reverb units, it enables very creative and great sounding reverbs to be created in our theater. The SuperTap delay plugin gives much more flexibility in terms of control to any onboard delay for vocals, and I personally have a positive bias towards the output of the six-tap delay.”

“The C6 and C4 Multiband Compressors are my personal favorites,” he says, “due to the flexibility in shaping vocals and the output being very transparent. The InPhase plugin has also been really useful when we have bands in, especially for managing kick and snare drum mics. This has helped my team to do accurate alignments with ease between the multiple mics used. Another common plugin that we’ve used is the Waves WLM Plus Loudness Meter and VU Meter, which give us accurate references for our recordings and also our clients’ broadcast requirements.”

Summarizing, Ong comments, “Using Waves has made my team’s mixing experience very enjoyable and has given us many more options for creative expression in our daily work. The support from Team108 Technical Services in maintaining proper integration of the Waves system to our DiGiCo consoles has also made our show operations much smoother. Many of the touring engineers are stoked that we have Waves readily available for their shows.”

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