Loudspeaker manufacturer Funktion One incorporated a Prism Sound Orpheus FireWire computer interface into the Ambisonics rig it used at this year’s Glastonbury Festival in order to bring studio quality audio to sound playback.
Renowned for the audio quality of its loudspeaker systems, Funktion One prides itself on its minimalist approach to product design in order to maximise performance.
Managing director Tony Andrews explains: “We avoid the use of electronic equalisation to correct for system anomalies, as we believe that it is better to engineer the problems out of the loudspeaker system in the first place, rather than to correct for them electronically. Otherwise you pay a price in terms of phase response and headroom. We also avoid compression drivers in the mid-range, to keep distortion to a minimum. Our loudspeaker systems have excellent directional control allowing sound to be focused where it’s needed and minimising out-of-venue environmental impact.”
The company’s loudspeaker designs focus on maximising efficiency in order to produce alive and responsive sound, and also to further minimise distortion. Its F1 Resolution system is a good example of this highly efficient design philosophy.
In recent months Funktion One has been demoing a number of software packages and soundcards, with a view to improving sonic integrity throughout its entire audio chain.
Andrews says: “The demo rig that we showed at this year’s Frankfurt exhibition and the Ambisonics rig we will be using at Glastonbury both use a FireWire DAC to stream audio from software applications. We are very keen to retain an ‘emergency’ analogue volume control in our systems prior to the power amplifiers driving the speakers, as any glitches/crashes etc in the audio playout software could have serious implications when dealing with systems capable of producing well in excess of 120dB SPL! Even though we have digital inputs on our crossovers, which would allow us o keep the audio in the digital domain right up until the last DAC stage in the crossovers, we prefer to exit the computer using the best FireWire DAC we can. This means we can use an analogue fader prior to the crossovers’ ADC inputs.”
Andrews and fellow Funktion One Director John Newsham began investigating FireWire DACs and after auditioning a number of different interfaces they came to the conclusion that Prism Sound’s Orpheus was the best.
“The Orpheus left everything else standing,” Andrews says. “It delivered exceptional audio quality throughout and was particularly smooth on the higher frequencies without compromising the bass. With Orpheus as part of our audio chain we believe this year’s Glastonbury audiences will enjoy a new level of high frequency presence and clarity.”
Funktion One’s Ambisonics rig will be located in The Glade, an area of the Glastonbury Festival that plays host to an aural rainbow of thrilling beats and breaks, enhanced by awe-inspiring lightshows projected onto the G Stage canopy. Having initially been a laidback ambient venue, it has developed into a platform for spontaneity where artists from a wide spectrum of backgrounds participate in creating something original and experimental.
Commenting on Funktion One’s decision to employ an Orpheus interface, Prism Sound’s Sales and Marketing Manager Jody Thorne says, “Funktion One has a real reputation for sound quality in the field of PA/touring rigs and we really value the endorsement Tony and John have given us by choosing to include a Prism Sound Orpheus FireWire interface into their pioneering Ambisonics rig. Our design philosophy has always been one of zero-compromise, and although Orpheus was initially targeted at the recording studio market, we recognize that it also offers huge advantages to live sound and playback applications where there is equal need for a high quality audio interface. We are therefore delighted to be associated with a live sound company that strives to put audio quality first and has chosen Orpheus because it best fits their criteria.”