Bringing together choreography, music, installation art, pyrotechnics, robotics and more, the Arcadia Spectacular show might be best known for its gigantic ‘Spider Stage’, but it’s about much more than that.
With a mission to “unite audiences on a mesmerising journey through emotion, electricity and energy”, Arcadia brings together aerial acrobats, 50-foot fireballs and DJs in a thoroughly modern expression of artistic creativity.
Responsible for recording Arcadia’s pummelling soundtrack is sound engineer Jonnie Parker. He describes the show as having “the busiest FOH environment I’ve ever worked in” – something that lead him to rely on a remarkably compact (if powerful) mixing solution for the show’s recent stop in Bristol in September.
Allen & Heath’s Qu-Pac rackmount mixer was Parker’s choice for the event, thanks to its blend of space-saving design and flexible functionality.
“It’s no cliché when I say that absolutely anything can happen during an Arcadia show,” he explains. “So in order to be able to adapt to and overcome any eventuality – whilst not taking up more than my fair share of space in FOH – I need the Swiss Army Knife of the audio world. It needs to facilitate multi-track audio recording, whilst also offering the flexibility and toolset of a modern digital mixing console.
“The Qu-Pac ticks all these boxes and more, and all in a compact, rack-mountable chassis with absolutely no space wasted on anything I wouldn’t need. For the Bristol show, I opted to use the Qu-Drive to record multi-track audio directly onto my USB hard drive rather than connecting the Qu-Pac as an audio interface to my laptop. This was for two reasons; once again because of how precious space is in the Arcadia FOH, and also in order to keep the recording system as simple as possible.
“Qu-Drive was child’s play to set up and arm, and then happily recorded 18 tracks of audio for seven hours without a single hiccup or write error,” says Parker. “On importing the audio files into my DAW for post-production the results are fantastic, and my initial audio bounces for the tight-deadlined after-event video edits sound dynamic and vibrant, capturing the atmosphere of the event in just the way I wanted.
“All in all I’m very glad I chose the Qu-Pac; it’s compact, simple to use, reliable and powerful – it does everything I ask of it with plenty of routing capabilities and features. In the end the Qu-Pac didn’t just tick the boxes for the Arcadia Spectacular, it smashed them."