In response to trying to better meet my own needs and responding to the requests of others, in 2008 I decided to start designing a series of audio equipment to help overcome many of the issues street performers have.
The normal criteria you are fighting against with street theatre are size, weight, power, battery life and cost. With a mains powered PA system life is easy – you can throw as much electricity at the thing as you want, and get a good result fairly easily with off the shelf components. With portable equipment life is very different as power and quality come from a fine balance between batteries, speakers and amplifiers, all of which need to be finely matched for optimum performance.
The Q thing was developed to make the playback (cueing) of recorded music and sound effects more controllable and instinctive, thereby giving much greater freedom for improvisation within performances. Traditionally solo performers struggle with activating their music and sound effects, and all too often just as a performer is ready to start, the equipment isn’t and the moment is gone. In an ideal world a performer would click their fingers and a track would start… welcome to the Q thing.
Suitable for performers, musicians, theatre technicians, interactive sound installations and many many more applications.
This model has been designed as the ultimate portable PA system for professional use, with huge power and sound quality. It is smaller and lighter than the Mk4, which makes it more suitable for those people who’s priority is the smallest and lightest possible PA that will provide huge high quality sound.
This model has been designed as an easily portable PA system for professional use, with huge power and sound quality. It differs from the Mk2 by being larger, more powerful, has more bass, audio filters, and additional features as standard. It is suitable for those people who don’t need the smallest and lightest PA possible, but do need a genuinely portable PA with superb sound quality and volume.
The Body-Pack PA has been designed for the ultimate discreet flexibility for performance artists, whilst giving the ability to perform in completely new ways that are simply not possible with other types of amplifiers. It is very tightly based on technology and design that I used myself for many of the shows on this website. Teamed up with the Q thing this would make an incredibly advanced and intuitive audio suit.
THE USUAL RECEIPE
Batteries – Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries offer about 4 or 5 times the power to weight ratio of sealed lead acid (SLA) ones, and are generally OK to take on aircraft – SLA batteries are generally not OK (check with the CAA for more information as regulations regularly change).
Amplifiers – getting the most out of an amplifier at low voltage is an art in itself. Conventional ‘A/B amplifiers’ used in most equipment are OK, but a lot of energy goes to making heat and not sound – about 50%. ‘Class T’ amplifiers are about 90% efficient which means more sound for less power – great news for small systems. The outputs are also identically in phase so they can be paralleled with low resistance speakers to get even more output.
Speakers – an amplifier is only as good as the speakers it runs. For the highest volume you need the most sensitive speakers – essentially you want the signal sent to them dealt with as efficiently as possible to get the biggest response possible from them. Speakers vary enormously in resistance, frequency response, power handling, sensitivity, resonant frequency, size, weight etc etc.
Q thing – ideally what all performers would like is an extremely reliable ‘sound man’ at the side of the stage activating all the music and sound effects exactly on cue….but you can in fact do it all yourself very easily now with the Q thing WAV player.