The recent 12th annual Skills ETD Pop Electronic Music Festival, held at San Francisco’s famed Cow Palace venue is an annual electronic music festival that has grown to become one of the largest of its type in the country and features leading DJs and electronic music creators from all over the world.
This year included performances by Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Deadmau5, Sander Van Doorn, Blake Jarrell and Deep Voices, all supported by the most advanced sound system ever used for event, featuring several loudspeaker components from EAW.
San Francisco-based JK Sound, one of the region’s top SR, installed systems, design and acoustics consulting providers for the past 25 years, created a circular array consisting of 48 EAW KF750 full-range, high-output loudspeakers and 12 KF755 downfill loudspeakers, flown beneath three tiers of lighting and directly above the rotating main stage in the center of the hall. A dozen EAW SB750z subwoofers were posted at the structure’s base.
“There would be nearly 10,000 people in the room, but even with that many bodies, the Cow Palace is still a giant ‘echodrome,’” says Bruce Collins, Senior Systems Engineer for JK Sound. “If you place a P.A. cluster on one side of the hall, you’re going to get massive slapback against the opposite wall. We considered putting them in each of the four corners but that would have required too many boxes.”
Then, Collins looked up at the three 60-, 40- and 20-foot concentric rings of lighting and was inspired. “If we hung the PA in the center below the lighting grid, we’d get both seamless 360-degree coverage and we’d have great aesthetics, with the P.A. seeming to tail out of the lighting array,” he explains. “It was beautiful.”
Beautiful, but never done that way before at the Cow Palace. So Collins did what he has done before when he needed information about how to create a unique P.A. configuration: he called EAW’s Application Support Group (ASG) in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, where Adam Howarth, an Applications Specialist with the ASG there, listened and took notes.
“Bruce needed to know some key information that would affect both the performance and the safety of the rig,” Howarth explains.
He took Collins’ questions through ASG and EAW’s engineering team, who made calculations based on their own data and mathematical simulations of the component weights and the system design and was able to provide exactly the information that JK Sound needed in that regard, as well as recommended processor adjustments for this unique loudspeaker configuration.
“We were able to give him specific information about, for instance, how to hang the subs within the circular design,” says Howarth. “That’s what we’re here for – to support every EAW user in any way we can, from running the numbers like we did with Bruce, to doing custom modifications to our loudspeakers to accommodate specific needs. When you need us, we’re here.”
Collins agrees with that assessment. “I had originally considered going with a dipolar array for the subs but considering the number of subs that would have required, we went instead with a cardioid configuration for them,” he says. “The EAW engineering team’s input was very helpful and working with them is awesome. They’ve done a lot of custom work for us on installed sound projects and that’s why we’re a mainly-EAW house. They’re the best.”