Savannah Based Band Bringing Surround Sound to the Concert Hall - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/29/04

Savannah Based Band Bringing Surround Sound to the Concert Hall

Most of us are used to high tech surround sound when we go to the movies, but not at a concert.

At most concerts, you sit and look at the band playing music at you, but with a new setup for Perpetual Groove's "Speed of Surround" tour, the audience will almost feel like they're up on stage.

That's because they're playing the entire month of October in 5.1 surround sound.

Perpetual Groove's set up is a bit more complicated than a living room entertainment center, so they're spending this week practicing at the historic Lucas Theater in Savannah.

They've set up different audio channels for every single instrument that can go bouncing round the room at the whim of the band's front of house engineer, all with a touch of what amounts to a high-tech joystick.

"As I move it around," explains Michael Gaster, "The other channel follows in the opposite direction, so I can basically have this large crossing sound."

It's not only a change for the listening audience -- but for the band as well. Brock Butler's electric guitar is now set up on a different amp than his steel guitar.

Butler says, "The sound of one amp can go just like that," as he motions in every direction. "It can go all over the room. It can send one amp to the back of the room and have one amp coming from the front."

If all goes according to plan most people won't even notice a lot of the 5.1 difference, since the goal is to have it complement the music rather than one-up it.

"If it's really good, people who are aware of what's going on will appreciate and enjoy it, but it won't be over kill or too much," says Butler.

This isn't going to be an every-day setup for Perpetual Groove: they're bringing about a $100,000 worth of speakers to go along with a state of the art $20,000 sound board.

For more information on the band along with tour dates, check out www.pgroove.com.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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