Jimmy Kimmell Keeps SPL in Check with Apex
ABC-TV's "Jimmy Kimmell Live" late-night comedy talk show has adopted the APEX Argos and Hera sound level limiting system for its nightly outdoor live music performances. The Argos, sound level limiter and Hera controller are used to ensure that sound pressure levels generated by the performance sound reinforcement system at the late-night music show do not disturb the Hollywood-based broadcast's nearby neighbours.
The "Jimmy Kimmell Live" show, which debuted immediately after the Super Bowl telecast, broadcasts live to the East Coast each weeknight. The show, which airs shortly after midnight, regularly features musical performances from an outdoor stage setup behind the broadcast theatre, a former Masonic temple adjacent to Disney's famed El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
Recent show guests have included such hard rock acts as Godsmack, Saliva and former Guns 'n Roses guitarist Slash. With the loudspeaker system aimed in the direction of a residential area only a few hundred yards away, and musical acts often performing until well after 10pm; the Apex Argos sound leveller and Hera controller ensure that neighbours are not disturbed by out of control SPLs.
Argos prevents sound pressure levels from exceeding the password-protected preset maximum set by the operator. Unlike a typical limiter, the Argos sound level limiter adjusts level in a more natural manner to the human ear, which is most sensitive to mid frequencies. Utilizing an omni-directional microphone and 'A'-weighted filter, the device passes the mid frequencies, attenuating high and low frequencies gradually and continuously, thereby limiting the loudspeaker SPL in a musical and inaudible manner. In contrast to a normal limiter, the dynamics of the audio signal are retained.
According to Andrew 'Fletch' Fletcher, who frequently serves as front of house engineer for the outdoor musical segments of the "Jimmy Kimmell Live" show, the Apex system is transparent in operation. "Argos subtly adjusts my output level," observes Fletcher. "I don't even notice when it's working. It is much more acoustically friendly than a limiter, which means that not only are the neighbors happy but so are the musical guests' engineers."
For situations where maximum sound pressure levels are mandated by local authorities, the Apex Hera offers government-friendly features when used in combination with the Argos. Hera displays the current SPL information and also logs average and highest peak level information periodically, retaining the data in memory with a date and time stamp for later download and printout.
Hera's front panel display can also be used to indicate RMS values at the mic input an Leq values over various time intervals. It additionally allows users to scroll through and display the memorized list of Leq values and errors, including attempts to circumvent the logging operation. An optional remote LCD display is available where the Hera unit is installed out of view.