Recent Live Events: The Big Squeeze

by Steve Whittenhall, TC Furlong Audio Engineer and Operations Manager

It’s not everyday you get asked to provide audio for an accordion (or “squeeze box”) show.

The Big Squeeze showcased the wide variety of music that features an accordion with 5 acts each performing a different musical genre—Irish, classical, orchestral, jazz, and Zydeco.

The venue was an 800-seat orchestra hall.

In many orchestra halls, designing a natural-sounding loudspeaker setup can be a challenge.

We kept the system design simple—a Meyer Sound CQ-2 and 650P subwoofer per side.  A Yamaha LS9-32 digital console and Meyer Galileo 616 speaker processor kept the FOH footprint small to prevent blocking out seating.

We also added a small delay system to cover the balcony, consisting of a pair of Macpherson M2X’s on Ultimate stands.

The first 4 acts ended up needing little to no amplification. Whenever possible, we found the best mix and sound was to NOT mic the instruments.

Surprisingly, the only instrument needing to be consistently mic’d was the accordion itself.

Depending on the type of music and the type of accordion, we used one of 2 micing techniques.

The first (and primary) was a pair of Shure SM57’s—one on the left hand (lows) and one the right hand (highs).

The second technique was a pair of DPA 4099 instrument mics.

Both techniques sounded clear and natural, and offered the FOH engineer plenty of control over the sound and volume level.

The Big Squeeze - ZydecoThe zydeco band was a different challenge, consisting of a drum kit, electric guitar, bass, sax, accordion, and washboard.

However, sticking to the minimalist idea from the first 4 bands, only the essentials went into the PA.  For the zydeco band, that meant sax, vocals, and the accordion.

It turns out you typically don’t need to mic a washboard…

Overall the show was a huge success, and 4 hours of accordion music show entertained the almost capacity audience.

For help with your next live event, contact Jeff Cech at 847.367.9588 or