Ceiling/Sky Tech Specs

April 28, 2010

I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky

Four electronic musicians:

  • Keyboard I: performs acoustic grand piano and 88-note master controller.
  • Keyboard II: performs 88-note master controller.
  • Keyboard III: performs 88-note master controller.
  • MIDI percussion: performs acoustic trap-set and MIDI percussion controller.

Five main areas of focus for Ceiling/Sky’s sound technology needs 1.) sound system, 2.) wireless radio mics, 3.) pit musicians, 4.) pit monitoring and 5.) sampler technology

1.) High-quality, full frequency theatrical loudspeaker system covering all seats, on all levels – Meyer Sound, d&b, or Martin Audio. Typical configurations should include similar speaker groupings – Main PA Left/Right, Frontfills, Center Cluster, Under Balcony Fills, Subs, etc.
2.) High-quality digital console – DigiCo, Yamaha, or Midas.
3.) High-quality reverb unit to help blend the reinforced voices and orchestra – Lexicon or TC Electronics.

The style of reinforcement should sound as natural as possible, avoiding the more amplified “Broadway” model.


The wireless should be DPA 4061, or sim., colors depend on casting.

1.) Dewain – DPA color = black
2.) David – DPA color = black
3.) Leila – DPA color = black
4.) Consuelo – DPA color = black
5.) Mike – DPA color = beige
6.) Tiffany – DPA color = beige
7.) Rick – DPA color = black
8.) Spare #1 – DPA color = black
9.) Spare #2 – DPA color = beige
10.) PCC area mic #1 (DSR)
11.) PCC area mic #2 (DSL)


12.) Clarinet/Bass Clarinet – KM150, MK4 or similar
13.) Alto Sax – KM150, MK4 or similar
14.) Acoustic Steel String Guitar – KM150, MK4 or similar
15.) Electric Guitar – D.I. (note, this is the same player as the above acoustic guitar player)
16.) Contrabass – U87 or similar
17.) Electric Bass – D.I. (note, this is the same player as the above contrabass player)
18.) KEY 1 – Grand Piano Low – C414 or similar
19.) KEY 1 – Grand Piano High – C414 or similar
20.) KEY 1 Sampler – Mono D.I.
21.) KEY 2 Sampler  – Mono D.I.
22.) KEY 3 Sampler  – Mono D.I.
24.) Percussion Overhead Left – KM150, MK4 or similar
25.) Percussion Overhead Right – KM150, MK4 or similar
26.) Trap Set Snare Drum – SM57
27.) Trap Set Kick Drum – SM or larger diaphragm mic.

28+29.) CD Player for testing and setup
30+31.) PCM-91, or sim, reverb


Mix 1 – Clarinet monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand
Mix 2 – Alto Sax monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand
Mix 3 – Guitar monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand
Mix 4 – Bass monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand
Mix 5 – KEY 1 monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand
Mix 6 – KEY 2 monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand
Mix 7 – KEY 3 monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand
Mix 8 – PERCUSSION monitor wedge or UPM on a mic stand


The production will require:
1.) Two high-quality computers running Kontakt 5, or higher.
2.) Multi-output firewire audio interfaces for each computer, such as a MOTU Ultralite.
3.) MIDI interfaces, or USB hubs, to get master controller performance data into the computers.
4.) Several master controllers with pedals.

KEY 1 + KEY 2 will share Kontakt 5 on a computer #1
Audio Interface Out 1 = KEY 1
Audio Interface Out 3 = KEY 2
KEY 3 + MIDI PERC will share Kontakt 5 on a computer #2
Audio Interface Out 1 = KEY 3
Audio Interface Out 3 = MIDI PERC

MIDI Interfaces/Merges:
KEY 1 + KEY 2 master controllers will need to both send MIDI Out to the computer #1’s MIDI In
KEY 3 + MIDI PERC controllers will need to both send MIDI Out  to the computer #2’s MIDI In

Keyboard Master Controllers:
KEY 1, 2 and 3 should be 88-note keyboard master controllers with the ability to program change up to 128 user setups with a simple inc foot pedal (connected to the master controllers’ switch pedal inputs on the back of the unit).
Kurzweil PC3, or sim., is recommended:

MIDI Percussion:
In the past we have used a DrumKAT – http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/drumKATturb/
The percussion player needs to play a ten (10) pad MIDI controller with sticks. Also needed is one (1) electronic kick pedal connected to the rear of the percussion controller. Also note, this 10 pad MIDI percussion controller should fit on a stand to be set inside the acoustic trap set environment – so the player can switch between acoustic and MIDI percussion quickly. Note, make sure the MIDI percussion controller can program change with a simple inc pedal – KAT controllers do, but other alternatives may not, so please check beforehand. Roland Octapad, with additional aux pads/pedals, has been successful in past productions.

Pad to MIDI note layout which corresponds to the musician’s part:

Pad assignment (C4 = middle C). Ten pads plus one MIDI kick pedal.
A#2 (kick drum), E4, F4, G4, A4, B4, C5, D5, E5, F5, G5.

Volume Pedals:
All four electronic musicians should have mono volume pedals, we have used Ernie Ball 6166 in the past:

Sustain Pedals:
KEY 1, KEY 2 and KEY 3 will all require sustain pedals.

Electronic Musicians’ Self-monitoring:
Each of the four players should have a “local” speaker set behind them so the sound feels as if coming from their seat and not only through the larger monitoring system. The speakers should be more full frequency than UPM’s, for the lows.
We have used JBL EON in the past:
Or, basic keyboard amps can be used, such as Roland KC-550:

Connecting the environment, using KEY 1 as example – same for the three other players:
1.) KEY 1 keyboard master controller MIDI Out connects to computer #1 MIDI In
2.) Computer #1 Audio Interface Out 1 connects to volume pedal
3.) Volume pedal connects to D.I. – inst out connects to self-monitoring amp, XLR out then splits (one side to monitor console, the other side to FOH sound)
4.) Simple inc/dec foot pedal connects to master controller’s rear switch pedal input for program changes
5.) Sustain pedal connects to master controller’s other rear switch pedal input for sustain.

Technical issues please contact Mark Grey, Sound Designer for John Adams: mhgrey@earthlink.net