Long-time Steve Miller system engineer Tom Martinez and FOH engineer Scott Boorey recently had the opportunity to evaluate the new VUE Audiotechnik al-8 line array, using it for a tour stop in Newport News, VA.
The al-8 arrays were used in place of the house system at the Ferguson Center for the Arts Concert Hall on the campus of Newport University. Constructed in 2005, the 1,725-seat venue is a popular stop for national and international concert tours and theatrical productions.
“Steve has an extremely loyal following, so we’re accustomed to the bigger line arrays deployed in the larger venues where he typically performs,” explains Martinez. “When I heard we’d have a chance to try the VUE system, I was initially concerned that an 8-inch box wouldn’t provide enough output, or the warmth in the low mid-range that Steve likes.”
Martinez continues, “I made some calls and discovered that Mike Adams designs for VUE, and that Ken Berger is also involved in the company. I respect both of these guys immensely so I decided to forge ahead and see what the al-8 was made of.”
Dual al-8 arrays of ten elements each were configured for 140-foot throw, 26-foot trim, two balconies up to 45 feet deep, and 90 degrees of vertical coverage. A pair of VUE h-15w powered 2-way loudspeakers were used for additional coverage under each array. Five VUE V6 Systems Engines provided all the power and processing for the arrays.
“The VUE al-8 absolutely surpassed my expectations,” Martinez says. “Steve likes a very warm guitar tone, and smooth mid frequencies. Most smaller line arrays sound harsh or inconsistent in those areas. The al-8 had all the warmth of a much larger line array and was extremely consistent.”
Getting sufficient coverage and output from the compact VUE line array was an additional concern for Martinez, who admits that he rarely takes chances with new systems in live situations. “There’s always a certain amount of trial and error when working with a new system,” he notes. “But I was really impressed with how great the al-8 sounded from the moment we sent signal to it. With almost no tweaking, the imaging was spot on and the coverage was really consistent.”
Rounding out the system in Virginia was a Midas Heritage 3000 console at FOH, and artist-owned in-ear monitors.
Low frequencies came courtesy of four VUE hs-28 subwoofers. The compact dimensions of the hs-28 subs allowed for on-stage placement, which left additional space for VIP seating in front.
“The subs are a very nice complement to the al-8 array,” states FOH engineer Boorey. “They provided great warmth and exceptional low-end punch. They’re really impressive for their size.
“For such a new company it’s clear that VUE is off to a great start,” he concludes. “This is a really capable line array with some very compelling technology inside. VUE has definitely got my attention.”