Contracted by the United Service Organizations (USO) for the sixth year to integrate the sound at the 4th of July concert on the South Lawn of the White House, live production company Event Tech deployed Harman’s JBL Professional VTX line arrays, Crown Audio amplifiers and dbx Professional signal processing to meet the demands of the venue and to deliver high-quality sound.
International pop star Pitbull gave an hour-long performance for the 1,200 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen that were present, as well as their families and the White House staff. Besides the show, there were various activities such as barbecue, lawn-games, photo stands and meet-and-greets.
Because of a gradient on the South Lawn, it was a challenge to balance the sound between the two ends of the stage; stage-left was elevated two feet above the ground, and stage-right was elevated five-and-a-half feet above ground. To provide coverage of 280 degrees, Event Tech used four stacks of six ground-stacked JBL VTX V20 loudspeakers and one VTX S25 subwoofer per stack, as well as six VTX G28 subwoofers per side in cardioid arrangement as the main PA. Two VTX F12 and two VTX F15 loudspeakers were deployed for front and out fills.
Four VRack 4x3500HD and two VRack 12000HD amplification systems powered all loudspeakers. A dbx DriveRack 4800 unit delivered the signal processing and routing for the overall system. The system was configured and controlled with JBL HiQnet Performance Manager.
“We did a lot of pre-work at our office with the VTX rig, because we wanted to make sure that the coverage was precise and make it drop off 300 feet from stage left, so that the sound did not penetrate the White House,” says Jeremy Meyers, account executive and audio systems designer for Event Tech. “I was very impressed with the output from these small V20 boxes, given their relative size compared to those from other manufacturers that I have worked with in the past. The detailed coverage from JBL’s patented waveguide and the precise frequency output of the D2 drivers allowed us to accomplish our goal.”
Since the stage was set up between the fountain and the White House, space was tight and the front of house position was at an awkward location. Also, the crew was forced to use smaller sized loudspeakers in order to fit all the equipment onto the stage. However, compromising on power was not an option either, since Pitbull’s music has significant output requirements, especially for low frequencies.
“The VTX V20s were truly perfect because of their power-to-size ratio and the Crown amplifiers were also compact and powerful enough for this event,” says Raul Gonzalez of Harman. “The front stacks could throw the music 225 feet to the back of the audience, and the stacks on the side were so powerful that we did not need separate loudspeakers for the FOH position. Overall, the performance was great and we were able to deliver everything in a compact, tightly-integrated package.”
“We were also impressed with the VTX F12 and F15 fills, which had amazing output, even when compared to the V20 boxes,” adds Meyers. “Thanks to our experience in live corporate events and the incredible caliber of these JBL loudspeakers, our veterans received a terrific 4th of July gift.”