Steps: Here And Now
June 2012 Issue 154
After ten years out of the spotlight, Steps return to make a live comeback and deliver a sell-out reunion tour with the live sound quality of Puretone in-ear monitors and Avid’s Venue desk. As told to TPi’s Kelly Murray.
Kent, UK based Puretone has been manufacturing in-ear monitors for the music industry for over 20 years, thanks to a team of professional and dedicated skilled technicians. “Over the years, we have perfected the sound and build quality to produce some of the best custom in-ear monitors available today,” said Gerry Allchorne, General Manager of Puretone Ltd.
The IEM specialist has an impressive list of clients wearing its products; Madonna, George Michael, Rod Stewart, Take That, The Cure, Sir Cliff Richard and pint sized pop princess Kylie Minogue to name but a few. Yet it is the recent collaboration with the newly reformed five piece pop group Steps that has helped the band’s successful live comeback tour sound great, over a decade after they called time on their career together.
Puretone’s Marketing Manager, David Solecki, was watching the band’s Reunion TV programme when he noticed that they were wearing basic, generic monitors. Allchorne noted: “We had produced custom in-ear monitors for the band back in the ‘90s, so David contacted their management team to see if we could help in any way. Following a few telephone calls we were invited to meet up with Steps during one of their rehearsals, arranged to take their ear impressions and then manufactured the in-ear monitors in their various colour choices.”
Steps became a household name during the ‘90s as their dance routines and chart topping tunes created fans around the world. The Steps Ultimate tour started on April 2nd in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the Puretone in-ear monitors were consequently used throughout the tour, which visited several of the biggest arena venues in the UK. This year not only marks the 10th year since the band’s infamous split, but it also celebrates their sell out reunion.
Allchorne continued: “We delivered the finished product to Steps personally to make sure that they felt comfortable in the ears and that the fit was perfect. They then discussed with their sound engineer their various mix criteria.”
Each Steps member wore Puretone’s top of the range Micro Monitor Classic 3, triple driver system which was then made personal with their preferred colour choice. Allchorne highlighted: “Lee decided to go for solid black with a black cable and Claire asked us to make her set in purple transparent but embedded with Swarovski crystals. This was a first for us and due to the product’s success, this option is now available to all our clients.
“We offer several personalisation options, such as laser marking of a client’s name, as well as laser marking logos and graphics. We have a vast range of colour choices, glitters and even cable colours to ensure our client’s have the level of personalisation they deserve,” he added.
Once Steps embark on their festival dates this July, the sound quality and safety aspects will remain the same as those in an arena setting. “Due to the custom-made in-ear nature of the monitors, the client’s experience is exactly the same in an arena or an outdoor festival, this is the benefit of Puretone’s custom in-ear monitors, not withstanding the fact that the sound engineer will be able to give the desired mix,” said the General Manager.
“Hearing conservation is extremely important for us. When using in-ear monitors, the ear is naturally protected and sound can be delivered into the ear at a much lower level.”
The IEMs in use have an approximate noise attenuation level of around 25dB ambient noise reduction. This was achieved following extensive tests and real ear probe measurements.
Being anatomically moulded to the shape of the user’s ear, these monitors also help to eliminate feedback, lower any onstage noise levels and reduce vocal fatigue. H from the group commented on Puretone’s input, “We couldn’t have done our sell out arena tour without them! Thank you!” Whilst fellow band member Lee added: “Puretone Music in-ear monitors helped me to fully focus on the musical dynamics of our Ultimate tour, providing clear quality of sound and in-ear comfort every night.”
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