The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum recently welcomed back the Latino Heritage Festival, an annual event that celebrates the rich Hispanic culture and its musical traditions.
Held on the outside plaza of the Rock Hall from Noon to 4 PM, the event featured performances by Hector Tricoche, Sammy De Leon y su Orquesta, the Latin Soul Ballroom Dance Company, the Julia De Burgos’ Explosion Divina Dance Troupe, Zumba instructors, and others. Music was, without question, a prominent part of this year’s festivities and, to ensure the event remained lively, a potent sound system consisting of Aero 12A line array enclosures from DAS Audio was placed into service.
Cleveland-based Vertical Sound, a sound services firm with a focus on the special events market, was contracted to provide sound services for this year’s festival. Richard Masarik, owner / operator and one of the firm’s chief engineers, commented on the project and his decision to deploy the D.A.S. Aero 12A line array system.
“The plaza outside the Rock Hall spans an area approximately 120 feet long by 100 feet wide,” Masarik explained. “Event planners were expecting somewhere between 1,000 – 1,200 people, so we wanted to ensure the system we ran would have plenty of juice to properly cover the area without being undermined by the surrounding city noise.”
“This was the last of back to back to back shows for our company that particular weekend, so it was a very challenging time for our crew. By going with our self-powered D.A.S. Audio Aero 12A loudspeakers and their excellent flyware, we were able to get the system up and running and, later, break it down—quickly and easily, which was a huge benefit for us. The Aero flyware is really well-designed and intuitive. I’m not kidding when I say the entire rig went up and came down faster and easier than our monitor system.”
The loudspeaker system deployed by the Vertical Sound crew consisted of twelve D.A.S. Audio Aero 12A line array elements—flown six enclosures (via Genie lifts) per each side of the plaza’s stage area. Part of D.A.S. Audio’s Aero Series 2 product lineup, the Aero 12A is a powered two-way, mid-high line array module driven by a Class D power amplifier. The subwoofers and stage monitoring equipment used for this event is proprietary to Vertical Sound.
Power at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is rather limited and, as such, presented its own set of challenges, according to Masarik.
“The power at the Rock Hall is a bit odd in that it’s all 110V circuits,” he said, “which can easily present its fair share of difficulties when you’re trying to run a big sound system. In this case, the problems were almost entirely eliminated because the D.A.S. system has surprisingly low power draw—roughly 2 amps per loudspeaker—so I could run all six enclosures per side off of a single circuit. I know of no other rig that draws such surprisingly little power.”
The Aero 12A’s low power consumption is only one of many attributes that makes it a house favorite with the Vertical Sound crew.
“The Aero 12A’s sound quality is really, really good,” says Masarik. “The system is extremely musical and speech intelligibility is first rate. I’m also very fond of the included EASE Focus acoustic modeling software. This software is very easy to operate and is a tremendous tool for properly positioning the loudspeakers for optimum coverage.”
“The sound quality was so good that our mix engineer—who was situated about 80 feet from the stage (and right in front of the Johnny Cash tour bus)—found himself routinely distracted by people coming over and paying him compliments!”
“I also love the fact that, with the Aero 12A’s, stage volume from main PA is very low compared to many competing systems,” Masarik added, “and that makes running the monitor system so much easier. There’s very little bleed from the sides and rear of the enclosures. The sound is well focused and goes where it’s supposed to. Since the monitor engineer doesn’t have to compete with the main house PA, his job becomes less stressful. This design characteristic makes every aspect of running sound for an event that much easier.”
“The Aero 12A’s self-powered design is another huge benefit,” Masarik continued. “Because the amplification is integrated into each enclosure, the only power amps we carry are for the monitor rig and subwoofers. This means less weight, which makes truck pack easier. Equally important, the self-powered design streamlines system cabling considerably.”
Before shifting his focus to the business of the day, Masarik offered this final thought, “Our D.A.S. gear dramatically impacted our summer season in a really positive way and I believe it will influence how we go about our projects next summer season. The D.A.S. sound quality is exceptional and that translates to better value for our customers. For the Latino Heritage Festival, our client was ecstatic and has since approached us about a number of new projects. When one project leads to another, it doesn’t get any better than that.”