For the last six years Keith Kettrey and Parker Walters, owners of Showtech Productions based in Dallas, have provided the audio and video system utilized by the Opulent Temple camp at the Burning Man Festival, and this year they supplemented the low end of the left-right JBL Vertec line array system with 12 EAW SB2001 subwoofers (six per side), powered by six Powersoft K10 amplifiers equipped with DSP+KAESOP plug-in boards and Armonía Pro Audio Suite software.
The Opulent Temple, one of hundreds of camps located in Black Rock City, Burning Man’s temporary city located in an ancient lake bed in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, features live DJ music and video from dusk to dawn along with ample room for dancing.
“The Opulent Temple space was roughly defined by the DJ booth, or pod, flanked by 12-foot video screens and then 18-foot towers for the sound system. The outer edges of the area were loosely defined by some art structures,” explains Kettrey. “Overall our goal was to cover an area that was roughly 100 feet wide by 150 feet deep. Because we were in the middle of the dessert we wanted to make sure that we brought enough system for the space.”
The EAW SB2001 subs feature dual 21-inch woofers capable of up 3600 watts at 2 ohms which provide substantial low end for the electronic/DJ/Dance music.
The K10 provides 12,000 watts from a single rack space chassis. Operation with 2-ohm loads, like those presented by the SB2001s, is not only safely possible but recommended, substantially reducing the number of amplifiers the system required. Each K10 easily powered two SB2001 subs.
“Because of the music style we wanted enough power to ensure a driving low end,” Kettrey continues. “We discovered the Powersoft amps when we attended an EAW event where they used them to power the SB2000 subs – and we were amazed.”
Walter adds, “The subs provide more than enough low end and the amps offer an incredible amount of headroom. Although we were running the amps at 208 volts, the average current draw preamp was less than 10 amps per K10 during the peak performance time slots. Simply amazing.”
“By using the K10s with DSP+KAESOP and Armonía software we were able to walk out on the dance floor and make any modifications needed,” explains Kyle Kettrey, Keith’s twin brother and team advance man. “I even set up a network bridge so that we could use the tablet PC from our campsite – if some DJ got out of hand with his volume levels we could handle it.”
Because the Black Rock Dessert features sand that closely resembles sheetrock powder, occasional wind storms and temperatures that can reach 120-plus degrees during the day, Kettrey knew that the system had to be protected from the elements if it was to survive the week – so all of the Powersoft K10s along with system processing were enclosed in an sealed tent with self-contained air conditioning to keep the space cool and the air filtered.
“The Powersoft amps run pretty cool, so that wasn’t a serious concern,” Kettrey explains. “It wasn’t the heat as much as keeping the equipment clean so that they run well – the tent was the easiest solution. The rest of the gear just got really, really dirty. When we got back we literally dumped it all in the parking lot and pressure-washed everything. The amps stayed spotless and worked extremely well.”