K-array self-powered live performance loudspeakers, available in the U.S. from Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, made their U.S. debut at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin over an 11-day period leading up to the July 4 holiday weekend.
The event’s principal production provider, Clearwing Productions, put the K-array systems to use at JoJo’s Martini Lounge, one of 11 stages at the lakefront festival park, in addition to integrating a complement of Sennheiser evolution 900 and 600 Series wired microphones into its audio system at the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage.
The K-array rig deployed at the JoJo’s Lounge stage at Summerfest comprised two KH4 mid-high, four KS4 low-mid and a single K070 Overbass Series dual 21-inch sub per side. The KH4 and KS4 deliver an enormous amount of power that belies their lightweight and compact dimensions – both cabinets are only six inches deep.
According to Brian “BK” Koerner, audio operations manager for Milwaukee’s Clearwing Productions, who worked alongside K-array product managers Francesco Maffei (Italy), Vaino Gennaro (Sennheiser Canada), and Sennheiser rep Eric Reese to rig the system at JoJo’s Lounge, “It was really easy to put up. I was shocked! We got it dialed in and it sounded really good. It was very crisp and very clear. Thanks to the people from Sennheiser for giving us the opportunity to debut it in the States. It was well received by a lot of people.”
Dan Henszey, audio engineer for the locally-based band The Bystanders, who played at JoJo’s Lounge, says, “The guys at Clearwing were raving about the system. And after hearing it and working with it, I know why. JoJo’s Lounge is a very difficult acoustical environment. Basically, the space is a steel arched cover about 175 feet long and maybe 70 or 80 feet wide and about 30 feet high at the apex of the arch.
“And as the room has a black top floor there’s really nowhere for the sound to go except around and around. But the K-array system filled the room without all of the nasty cabinet ringing and mud from the stage, or screeching high-end, thus giving me a chance to actually mix instead of compensating for the horrible acoustics. And the sound only got better as the room filled up.”
As Henszey notes, the K-array packs plenty of punch: “There were actually complaints from the Classic Rock Stage about the amount of bass coming from our stage. I was running at about 85 dB, ‘A’ weighted, at 150 feet and had more than enough headroom to go another 15 dB if I needed it!”
The U.S. Cellular Connection Stage also hosted the U.S. Cellular Emerging Artists Series, where audience members could text votes for their favorite up-and-coming band playing on the stage between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day. Sennheiser gave away 22 e 935 wired vocal microphones in the daily prize packs presented to the winning performers.
In addition, Sennheiser supplied Clearwing with a pair each of e 901 and e 902 models, eight e 904s, four e 905s, six e 914s, ten e 935s and four e 609s for the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, where such headline artists as the Meat Puppets, Matthew Sweet, Airborne Toxic Event, Staind, and Asher Roth also used them.
Numerous Sennheiser artists were among the 700 performers scheduled for Summerfest this year, including Jacks Mannequin, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Blake Shelton, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, The Lost Trailers, Paramore, Lady Antebellum, and Skillet.
Milwaukee’s Summerfest has been held annually at the 75-acre lakefront Henry Maier Festival Park since 1968. Traditionally held from late June through early July, Summerfest attracts up to 1 million people each year.
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