Bill Hanley: the Father of Festival Sound

 
Hanley Sound's most important contribution was creating a marketplace for the one-night concert industry.
 

Front of House (FOH) Mixing

In the dark ages of sound reinforcement, (and even in some unenlightened places today,) live mixing was done from horrible locations: backstage; theater boxes; balconies and "wings" ...even under the stage! Bill's insistence on sound quality meant demanding the best location for the the engineer's ears. This often meant that managers had to give up money-making space on the house floor, often "loosing" prime seats in the process.

FOH mixing is the single most important development in live mixing. Without it, powerful systems are out of control, potentially to the point of causing acoustic trauma to the audience. A well-designed house usually yields a good deal of prime floor space to the FOH mixing station.

 

Hydraulic Stage

Bill designed and built the 60 foot wide Magic Stage, which he says broke the record for speedy installation. It was possible to drive it up and have a band playing in less than an hour.

 

Stage Monitor Wedge

Bill invented the modern stage monitor "wedge" working with Neil Young's Buffalo Springfield. Bill used rebel loudspeaker cabinets turned sideways. Directional mics, invented decades before, allowed performers to hear their instruements and each other without inducing feedback. Today, such monitor systems are indispensible and wedge sales are measured in millions of dollars per year.

multi monitor mix

Before this time, performers monitored their sound through cabinets placed at the left and right sides of the stage.

Meyer psm-2 Wedge

 

A Snake!

The "FOH" mix technique made the stage snake necessary.

In 2007, speaking to the Audio Engineering Society, Fleetwood Mac's first Tour Manager "Dinky" Dawson credited Bill with developing the first multicore stage "snake." Snakes supply a means of wiring microphones and other stage devices conveniently to the mixer and other controls.

Proco 24/4 Stage box&snake

 

Wrap-Around Console

The 1960's saw a revolution in control consoles. At that time, these mixers were all custom built to order, often to suit particular needs, often by the people who would operate them. Improvements in quality, features, scale and complexity paved the way to the modern analog console.

pie shaped sectional

Bill designed and built a 200 degree, surround mixing console with 50 channels and 12 buses.