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Ola Onabule

T1 Live!

If other singers are like me, they stolaarted out exploring their vocal potential in small domestic spaces: Bedrooms, Box rooms, bathrooms etc. Places that offered intimate acoustics where as a rookie, I could be as attentive as was necessary to all the nuances of my developing voice.

Years later, all seems to have gone reasonably well. I’m working with big bands on big stages with big name players! Hurrah!! Except that there’s also a big sound to contend with now, an environment not best suited to hearing all those subtleties I’d worked so hard to hone all those years ago. An environment in which traditional floor monitors weren’t always the best solution.

So, I got a pair of ACS Custom’s T2 in-ear-monitors! Amazing feats of miniaturisation - full spectrum hi-fi speakers in bespoke silicone moulds that fitted snugly in my ears. Once plugged in, they create a perfect seal from the world around you, leaving the performer to revel in the unadulterated glory of their own talent! Personal monitoring Nirvana!

For a while this was all I ever wanted, but soon, a new and interesting problem started to emerge. The nigh impenetrable seal between ear and silicone mould made me feel a bit disconnected from the rest of the band and from the acoustics of some gorgeous sounding rooms, but much more pertinent was a sense of isolation from my adoring public and I live for the feeling of connectedness to my audience! So I’d take one ‘plug’ out whenever I wanted to engage in chat or patter or use my voice to play with the acoustics in a venue. Problem solved, I thought. That is, until I was introduced to the ACS Live! System.

The ACS Live! System is comprised of a pair of beautifully crafted in ear monitors identical to the earlier model but newly accompanied by a small belt pack unit. The ingenious wizardry is in the tiny, almost imperceptible microphones on the ear plugs themselves. Located at almost the same position as one’s ear canals, the microphones can ‘hear’ the environment around the wearer who in turn can control how much of this ambient sound, is delivered via a volume knob on the provided belt pack unit.

Trust me, this ACS Live! System is nothing short of a miracle and a performer’s dream come true! It works like all well realised ideas should: with seamless and transparent ease. You hear yourself in pristine clarity in your ear monitors, then quite literally control the world around you by turning it up or down to taste… Genius! On my first concert using the system, I put the ‘plugs’ in turned up the sound to hear the band and forgot about these brilliant little implements in my ears till the end of the show. I didn’t even take them out in the break after the 1st set! That’s how natural the recreation of the acoustic space beyond the seal of the plugs felt.

I can’t wait to use them in the studio where traditional bulky headphones are a pet peeve of mine! The best technology is the stuff you never imagine you needed before you interacted with it, but know you can’t do without once you do! For me the ACS Live! system is such a piece of technology. No doubt, This system is full of complex and sophisticated technical alchemy… but I’m more inspired by the fact that using it, I once more experience the sensation of hearing and interacting with the most subtle detail of my performances on a large stage, just like I used to in those smaller intimate spaces but without feeling isolated from the other performers, the acoustics in a venue or my audience!

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