Dessa Darling, emcee for Minnesota-based hip-hop group Doomtree, recently performed at the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio in Minneapolis in celebration of the release of her new book, Spiral Bound, a collection of short fiction and poetry.
Twin Cities-based production and rental company Windy Shores Sound provided a suitably high-end compact sound system for the event – the XA from Dynacord. Sound engineer Maury Jensen was impressed with the system’s performance:
“I had heard of other engineers’ favorable experiences with Dynacord products,” says Jensen, “but I had never used any of them before. When we loaded in the system, I was very impressed by how light the speakers were and how easily they stacked. The system set up fast and I loved being able to run the PA off of one small lightweight amp rack.
“When I first fired-up the system and played my usual soundcheck CD, the overall sound quality was very smooth and transparent,” Jensen continues. “After listening to the system at various points in the room, the main EQ needed almost no adjustment, and throughout the soundcheck and show I was surprised to see my EQ stay virtually flat. I was able to make the vocals and instruments clear without being harsh. Everything sounded great, and even using just two mid/high boxes the system covered the room quite evenly with great blend and musicality.
“As far as ground-stacked PA systems go, this is one of the best-sounding ones I’ve heard – now I want to use it for every event I do in the Dowling Studio.”
Jensen’s lightweight, flexible, and low-profile Dynacord solution gave Dessa the ability to host a show that would not only do justice to Spiral Bound but also allow the evening’s other artists, including Emmy Award-winning writer Steve Marsh and acclaimed singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith, the chance to perform high-fidelity sets with minimal equipment.
“I wanted to create an event that mirrored the tenor of the text: a little bittersweet, a little cheeky, and punctuated by moments of startled laughter,” says Dessa. “I lucked out – every performance delivered. By the end of Jeremy’s first song, the audience was stunned. He got one of those long pauses where everyone forgets to clap but then explodes a second later. And several long-time fans approached me after the show to compliment the sound saying, ‘We could really hear you this time!’ After years working as a club musician, I genuinely appreciated the opportunity to work with such nuanced, faithful equipment.”
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