The Chai Wallahs stage has become a rite of passage for up-and-coming acts as it tours around UK festivals. With a self-contained setup and its own roster of artists, Chai Wallahs has built its reputation around a quality experience for both bands and crew.
The sound system has played a major role in developing this reputation, with sound engineer and system designer, Harry Bishop central to this process for nearly 15 years. “The stage is quite famed for its audio,” said Bishop. “The big feedback from the audience and from the bands has always been the quality of the sound.”
Bishop had been using a solution from one manufacturer since the independent stage first hit the festival scene. However, he had grown increasingly disillusioned with the sound quality he was getting and started to explore different options. During this process he was introduced to TW AUDiO.
“Some friends of mine were talking about TW AUDiO and they set up a little system for me to listen to,” he recalled. “The first thing that I noticed was the sub. The bottom end was just really musical, rich, full and responsive. It felt like a literal breath of fresh air. Doing subsequent research and then listening I realised they do very little processing, all the work is done in the cabinet. Philosophically, it was all starting to make sense to me.”
The result of this research was Bishop investing in TW AUDiO for his own dry hire business, HPA, and persuading the Chai Wallahs team that it was the right time to make a system change. “It took a lot of convincing to get the guys to allow me to change the kit, but it was worth it,” he said.
Working closely with TW AUDiO UK and with support from the manufacturer’s German HQ, Bishop purchased a six per side VERA20 line array system with 10 VERA S32 subs providing low-end reinforcement. In addition to this, he has expanded his portfolio with four T20 point source cabinets, the same number of M10 multifunctional cabinets and B15 subs. Power for the system is from Dynacord TGX20 amplifiers.
The combination he opted for as Chai Wallahs visited Green Man Festival, Secret Garden Party, Kendal Calling and Shambala this summer was four of the VERA20s per side supplemented by eight S32s and a pair of T20s for front fill. “The system has performed absolutely perfectly over the summer,” noted Bishop, who received on-site support from TW AUDiO Development Engineer, Tobias Goldmann. “It was throwing 30m and hitting the back of the tent without any problems with four elements per side. The performance of it was exceptional to be honest. When you change the system, you can really tell what the difference is,” he continued.
“This year, everybody could hear the quality, the intelligibility and the detail from the TW AUDiO solution. The subs were so much more powerful, present and fast. It was a massive improvement and the best it’s ever sounded by a long shot.”
With the TW AUDiO system making a positive impression at Chai Wallahs, it has also been a popular solution for a wider range of events for Bishop’s dry hire business. “It’s a very corporate-friendly black cabinet,” he stated. “It’s not doing anything fancy, there’s no design quirks, the rigging is very discreet and I like the look of the soft foam covered grilles. I could see it in any environment, whether it’s the Natural History Museum, a festival stage, a nightclub or whatever, it wouldn’t look out of place. Every environment it’s been used in – a wedding, corporate or whatever environment, it’s always just been perfect.”
Having made the change, Bishop is extremely happy with his new solution. “I’ve been looking actively for years for an alternative product, and TW AUDiO certainly seems to have ticked all of my boxes,” he concluded. “I’m super-happy with the purchase. I’ve always been excited by technology and this has got me really completely back, enthused and passionate again.”