Tuesday, August 20, 2013
L-Acoustics ARCS WIDE Fills In Grand Canyon University Arena
Clearwing supplies fixed ARCS WIDE system for ’Lopes basketball games and touring KARA system for concert reinforcement
When Grand Canyon University’s Antelopes men’s and women’s basketball teams joined the Western Athletic Conference this summer and upgraded to Division I, GCU Arena was in need of a sound system retrofit worthy of the new division level.
To accommodate, GCU turned to the local Phoenix office of Clearwing Productions, which provided two independent L-Acoustics ARCS WIDE and KARA loudspeaker systems for the 5,000-seat multipurpose venue.
Installed in late June, the arena’s fixed audio system for athletic events, commencement ceremonies and other general assemblies now features 32 ARCS WIDE enclosures.
These are divided into four clusters of three cabinets spread across each of the long sides of the arena and complemented with a single center cluster of four at each of the far ends.
Two arrays of four SB28 subs are centrally hung back-to-back for LF reinforcement, while two six-enclosure KIVA arrays horizontally down-fire onto the court for floor coverage.
Seven LA8 amplified controllers positioned up in the catwalk area power and process the system.
“With the ’Lopes’ upgrade to a new division, GCU was looking for a sound reinforcement system that provided a truly immersive game experience for its fans, so we recommended L-Acoustics,” says Clearwing Productions Project Manager Andre St. Pierre. “The university was looking for something that performed more like a concert sound rig, and the ARCS WIDE platform provided that at a price that fit their budget.
“One of the other nice things about the ARCS WIFO series is that the enclosures are passive, which allowed us to put so many more boxes on each amplifier.
“To deliver concert-level audio to every seat in the house would have cost much more with a competitive system. ARCS WIFO offers tremendous performance at an extremely affordable price point.”
GCU Arena’s other new system is a portable touring rig featuring left and right arrays of four SB18 subs flown above 12 KARA enclosures per side that can be quickly installed and removed as needed.
Eight SB28 subs for ground-stacked LF, six ARCS II for out-fill, five 8XT for front-fill and four LA-RAK for power round out this setup, which can be configured as either a full-house or half-house system for high-profile contemporary Christian and secular touring artists, worship services and other events.
According to GCU Arena Audio Engineer Ian Schell, the university was already a fan of L-Acoustics before investing its new equipment.
“Clearwing has been providing concert sound for most of our touring events and larger productions over the past two years, and they’ve frequently brought in KARA,” he notes. “So when the time came to upgrade our basketball audio system, it made good financial sense to invest in our own in-house KARA system.”
d&b Taps Into Fashion
d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers add elegant audio to the Spazio Gessi showroom in Milan.
Located at the heart of Milan’s fashion district, the new Spazio Gessi is a showroom and meeting centre that has literally been dug in underground between two historical mansion houses on Via Manzoni.
Home to the design and manufacture of what the company calls, ‘bathroom solutions,’ Gessi’s interior designs might more readily be termed high art. The company has built a world class reputation for innovation, style, and the successful marriage of commercial enterprise and great design; skills they readily impart through their acclaimed Academy Gessi seminar program.
“The project was to create a space destined to be much more than a traditional showroom,” said architect Luca Bresciani. “So when it came to thinking about sound and how to relay information we knew we would need a system capable to offer a natural and smooth reproduction of speech and background music, but at the same time ready to bring out the energy for party and events we are planning to host in our space.”
That said, Gessi are masters of elegance and the muted understatement of style, so this would require discretion.
“Of course, we need these features in the smallest possible package, because everything had to be hidden behind the walls boiseires.”
Bresciani tapped Molpass, one of the leading audio consultants in Italy, for the project.
“We had worked for Gessi before,” began Alessandro Bertoni a Molpass executive. “We designed and installed a d&b T-Series for the company HQ in Vercelli.
“Such a system is much like Gessi itself, elegant in design, yet underneath d&b systems portray the highest standards of quality and reproduction, so I turned immediately to their catalog for this project.
“The space, some five thousand square meters in total, will host fashion shows, business conferences, corporate dinners, even gala concert events, so the sound solution needed to fulfill many varied needs yet not compromise Luca Bresciani’s exquisite interior.”
Bertoni’s solution focused primarily upon the d&b White range.
“Alessandro showed us the tiny 4S and 5S,” continued Bresciani. “After having listened to them, together with a 12S subwoofer, we agreed that those boxes had the aesthetic appearance we needed, and the sound reproduction was perfect.”
Bertoni, recognizing the need to maintain that aesthetic, conceived a signal management infrastructure based on the d&b R1 Remote control software to minimize the need to ever bring in additional sound reinforcement, even for DJ events.
“For the main system in the central event area we specified two arrays of Ti10 supported by 27S-SUBs, ideal for this environment; imagine every surface tends to be marble or other similarly dense flat reflective surfaces, the pattern control of the Ti10 was ideal, while the inherent cardioid nature of the 27S subwoofer provides power without mass in precisely the right area. Perfect.”
The system was installed earlier this year, with a grand opening in the spring; company founder Gianluca Gessi was delighted.
“Our new Milano centre is in many ways a concept laboratory,” he adds. “Here creative people and commercial enterprise will merge together in the emotional sensory environment we have created. To achieve such an environment every detail had to be carefully designed, especially for the most subtle of senses: hearing.”
Renkus-Heinz VARIA Packs A Punch At De Grote Post
Renkus-Heinz VARIA loudspeakers reinforce the main hall at De Grote Post.
The Oostende Post Office, the only public building designed by famed Ghent architect Gaston Eysselinck, has been recognized as one of the finest architectural creations of Belgium’s postwar period.
In 1981 the modernist style building was granted status as a protected monument. When the Post Office moved out in 1999, B-Architects, under the direction of Dirk Engelen, undertook the massive challenge of creating multiple modern theaters and performance spaces inside, while respecting the venue’s design ethos. The result is De Grote Post, a multi-purpose performing arts center unlike any other.
The main hall seats 431, and is designed for music, dance or traditional theatre performances. Acoustical designer Paul Mees of Daidalos Peutz worked with B-Architects to create the venue’s distinctive triangular acoustic panels, accented by neon tubes. The result is an eye-catching décor from any seat.
Designed by Marc Lambert of Gent-based theatre design group TTAS, the audio systems for De Grote Post boast the first European installation of the new VARIA modular point source line array from Renkus-Heinz.
Four VARIA VA101 cabinets are hung per side, each array consisting of two VA101-7 7.5-degree cabinets, one VA101-15 15-degree box, and one VA101-22 22.5-degree box. A center cluster of two 22.5-degree cabinets augments coverage, along with a third cabinet ground stacked atop two VA15S subwoofers. Four TRX61 loudspeakers provide front fill for the first few rows.
“Most of the systems we looked into would have required many more cabinets to provide even coverage across the entire seating area,” Steven Kemland, Sales and Project Manager of Foundation for Audiovisual Commerce and Engineering (FACE) explains. “The VARIA’s variable coverage patterns enabled us to configure a system with fewer boxes than a traditional line array.
“It’s very compact and yet it sounds like a much larger system.” Sam Serruys, technical director of De Grote Post adds, “The results we have achieved with a system using 10 inch drivers is truly remarkable.”
The smaller theatre is a more compact room, with the floor on hydraulic lifts, enabling it to be split into four separate areas, enabling artists to configure the venue to suit a wide range of performances and creations.
The room is outfitted with a ground stacked system with left and right stacks of two VA15S subs, topped by 22.5 degree and 7 degree cabinets. In addition, TTAS also specified mobile setups that could be mixed and matched to meet a wide range of program needs, from the smaller impromptu performance spaces to the larger outdoor courtyard.
Here, FACE’s recommendation of the Renkus-Heinz CF-101 point source line array system fit the bill perfectly. FACE also provided Avid SC48 digital consoles for the stages, as well as Behringer X32 mixers for the mobile setups. Microphones are a traditional mix of Shure, Audio Technica and Sennheiser, with additional system components by Radial, Omnicase, DPA, XTA, Powersoft, and ASL Intercom.
Kemland also gives the nod to FACE project engineers Stijn Vermeiren and Jeroen Willems, who completed the entire project from order to sound check, in less than four weeks’ time.
De Grote Post director Stefan Tanghe says: “Oostende has long needed a performance space for smaller performances and exhibitions, as well as providing gallery space. Along with the large Het Kursaal theatre nearby, our city can now offer national and international artists the state of the art facilities they expect to find.”
Monday, August 19, 2013
RCF Reinforces Colombian Independence Festival In Miami
20,000 people converged on the grounds of Sun Life Stadium in Miami for the Colombian Independence Music Festival featuring a RCF sound reinforcement system.
The end of July saw more than 20,000 people converge on the grounds of Sun Life Stadium in Miami for the Colombian Independence Music Festival.
The open-air, all day event drew electronic and dance music lovers from around the world with a lineup that consisted of headliners Jorge Celedón, Grupo Niche and Fonseca with other featured artists including Silvestre Dangond, Zacarías Ferreira and Plan B.
4sound Group, from Doral, Florida was tapped to provide a full RCF sound reinforcement system for the event.
“We brought out a complete RCF TTL33-A rig for the event,” Joaquin Gonzalez, president of 4sound Group explains. “Without any delay towers we still had 98 dB SPL at 560 feet – it did an outstanding job, the folks from Congo de Oro Productions were extremely happy.”
The stage featured TTL33-A II line arrays – 16 per side – hung on scaffolding to the left and right of the stage. The TTL33-A is a compact, wide dispersion, 3 way active module that offers incredibly high performance for a small size line array. It is ideally suited for mid- to large-sized outdoor festivals like the Colombian Independence Festival.
Three TTS36-A subwoofers were stacked below each array. Twelve more subs, this time the TTS28-A, were stacked 2 x 6 in front of the stage to provide the driving low end EDM demands.
“I was so impressed with how the system performed,” adds Gonzalez. “I was going to bring our TTL55-A line array but realized that the 33 would easily deliver what we needed with the added advantage of a smaller footprint and easier set-up.”
4sound provided side fill coverage with two loudspeaker stacks on stage left and right – each consisting of three TTL33-A modules and one TTS28 subwoofer.
Four TT22-A dispersed evenly across the lip of the stage handled front fill duties.
“We also supplied a full complement of RCF stage monitors for the event,” offers Gonzalez. “Four TT45-SMAs were the main monitors with another 12 TT25-SMAs in use by musicians and performers throughout the stage.”
The festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has become a large celebration that unites Hispanic communities of South Florida and elsewhere. In addition to the live music, the grounds provided amusement park rides and food. A soccer match also took place inside the stadium.
“We had a number of important individuals attending the event from the Hispanic community,” Gonzalez concludes. “Everyone was very impressed with the quality of the sound. We look forward to doing it again next year.”
From Classrooms To Stadium—Meyer Sound Brings Clarity To Texas High School
College Station High School features a cutting edge AV system designed around Meyer Sound Loudspeakers.
Located a few miles from Texas A&M University, the gleaming new campus of College Station, Tex.-based College Station High School features a wealth of cutting-edge AV systems. More than 130 Meyer Sound loudspeakers are installed in 14 separate systems in the school’s classrooms, athletic facilities, and main theatre. These systems were designed by Houston-based HFP Acoustical Consultants.
“There were several factors driving the selection of loudspeakers,” says Bill Schuermann, project consultant at HFP. “The school wanted consistency and musicality for the performing arts, power and clarity for the athletic systems, high intelligibility throughout, and proven long-term reliability. All that, coupled with limited space for amp racks, pointed to a Meyer Sound self-powered solution.”
The need for a linear and musical response was essential for the 500-seat main theatre and classrooms for band, choir, orchestra, drama, dance, and cheerleading. Each classroom is equipped with an identical system comprising two UP-4XP 48 V loudspeakers and one MM-10 subwoofer. Student performers hear the same linear response through the main theatre’s playback system of UPM-1P loudspeakers and M1D-Sub subwoofers, while the audience experiences the consistent sonic signature through 16 M1D line array loudspeakers and four M1D-Sub subwoofers.
“These systems give students and faculty a constant, uncolored reference so that what they hear is familiar and recognizable when they transition from one space to another,” says Schuermann. “Students will hear on the stage exactly what they heard in classroom rehearsals.”
In addition, College Station’s football stadium benefits with the power of four UPQ-1P and six UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers. The baseball and softball fields are equipped with identical systems of two-each UP-4XP and UPJuniorVariO loudspeakers, while UPJ-1P and UPQ-1P loudspeakers are installed in the competition and secondary gyms.
“I’ve heard all the installed systems, and they sound fantastic,” says Jon Hall, director of construction services for the College Station Independent School District. “Staff and parents have been positive about the clarity and power. In my opinion, they are the best sound systems I’ve heard at any school.”
Additional Meyer Sound systems are installed in the main dining room, lobby, and the circular LGI (Large Group Instruction) classroom, which utilizes a total of 36 MM-4 loudspeakers.
Other key AV system components include Soundcraft digital consoles, Digital Projection M-Vision Cine video projectors, Stewart Filmscreen motorized screens, and Crestron controllers.
The College Station High School campus was designed by Plano, Tex.-based SHW Group with Rayce Boyter, AIA as lead architect. AV systems were integrated and installed by Covenant Communications of Houston, under the supervision of Project Manager Greg Griffin.
Turbosound Flashline Sets The Mood For Martial Arts Trilogy Concert In Beijing
36-box Turbosound Flashline PA supplied by Phoenix Audio was configured as 12 TFS-900H high packs flown per side
Renowned composer Tan Dun joined forces with pianist Lang Lang and the China National Symphony Orchestra for a re-interpretation of three martial arts films at an open-air concert for 15,000 people in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park.
Turbosound Flashline large-scale line array helped evoke the right mood for Tan Dun, who is recognized for his use of non-traditional organic instruments such as paper and water, to create a backdrop of misty rain set against Feng Xiaogang’s Chinese tragedy “The Banquet,” for which Tan Dun wrote the score for the movie version.
It had rained all throughout the day of the concert, and a cancellation seemed inevitable. Lang Lang was worried that the piano would be soaked and that the keys would be too slippery, but just a few hours before the scheduled start Tan Dun spoke with the organizers and decided to proceed.
“Think about the 1960s — Woodstock, Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight — people coming in the rain and in the mud, just for the spirit,” Tan Dun recalls that as soon as he mentioned Woodstock, everybody said, “Yes, why not do a Beijing Woodstock.”
The 36-box Turbosound Flashline PA supplied by Phoenix Audio was configured as 12 TFS-900H high packs flown per side, with six TFS-900B subwoofers ground-stacked at each side of the huge stage. Phoenix also took care of the on-site technical support, including system set up and tuning.
Tan Dun’s FOH engineer is a long-standing client of Phoenix and user of Turbosound loudspeakers, and following a demonstration was convinced to use Flashline for this high-profile concert.
The Flashline TFS-900H is a 4-way flown line array consisting of 11 discrete drive units uniquely deployed across four frequency bands, teamed up with Lab.gruppen 4-channel DSP-based amplifiers with Lake processing in custom-designed Turbosound racks.
The TFS-900B subs are a hybrid-loaded design that makes use of energy from the rear as well as the front of the 18-inch neodymium driver cones for a stated 141 dB peak output. The Flashline high packs travel pre-rigged in groups of four on custom dollies that allow a loudspeaker array to be flown quickly and easily.
While the Steinway may have been soaked, and its slippery keyboard gave Lang Lang’s playing an unusual tonal polish, Flashline’s IP54 weather-resistant spec — consisting of stainless steel grilles and fixings, and TourTough shower-proof cabinet finish — ensured that the organically-inspired performance reached the audience uninterrupted and loud and clear.
Flashline’s coverage of the arena was very even from front to back and from side to side over all the seated areas. The many sound engineers, government sound consultants, rental companies, contractors and dealers who came to the show were very excited by the system’s audio quality and all agreed that the sound was “hi-fi.” Further the client was satisfied with the event production and intends to use Flashline again.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Japan’s Hibino Sound Division Invests In Martin Audio MLA
Decision was brought about by the need to provide consistent stadium coverage up to 650 feet deep
The Hibino Corporation, the largest production enterprise for the entertainment industry in Japan, has made its first investment in a Martin Audio Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) system.
The MLA acquisition was authorized by the Hibino Corporation’s Sound Division, which has been a market leader in international touring for many years that supports many of the world’s leading artists with premier loudspeaker systems.
The investment is for four MLA System 36 rigs, plus an additional four MLD downfill and four MLX subwoofers. This gives them a combined inventory of 92 MLA, 8 MLD, and 52 MLX enclosures, ensuring a large capability.
The decision to invest was brought about by the need to provide consistent stadium coverage up to 650 feet deep (such as Tokyo Dome), without the need for delay towers. This enables them to deliver clear sound right to the back of the venue and at the same time solve any noise pollution and sound spill issues.
Ryoichi Hashimoto, managing director of Hibino Sound, explains, “We decided on the MLA investment because the promoters of summer outdoor festivals are increasingly demanding the absence of delay towers from festival sites and a need to solve offsite noise issues.
“We also like the fact that its calculation ability is extremely accurate. The benefit of this is that we can get a result that corresponds with what we have planned in the simulation.”
MLA also benefits from its size and weight ratio, which given regulations in Japan mean that the system provides no obstacles for its deployment.
“In Japan, the weight of the rigging is strictly regulated, but MLA’s weight is similar to systems we have used in the past, even though it is powered. So, it is good for us to be able to plan as we did before,” Hashimoto says.
Hibino Sound’s new MLA will be pressed straight into festival duty. “This is the most unique loudspeaker system we have ever had,” concludes Hashimoto. “It will become the new choice for customers since it has the ability to meet all their demands.”
Martin Audio has already completed training for most of Hibino Sound’s system technicians on site, carried out by Chris Pyne, Martin Audio’s technical support specialist in APAC.
Anthony Taylor, managing director of Martin Audio, states, “We’re delighted that MLA continues to prove its technical advantage over the competition and more importantly solving sound issues that face the industry. For the number one rental company in Japan to recognize this is a great honor, and we look forward to supporting Hibino in their success moving forward.”
Meyer Sound CAL Maximizes Speech Intelligibility In Medieval Italian Cathedral
Two CAL 32 loudspeakers were deployed to focus acoustic energy precisely on the congregation seating area
Built in the early 12th century, the stately Romanesque Cathedral of Sessa Aurunca in Italy, has been outfitted with Meyer Sound CAL column array loudspeakers to solve a speech intelligibility problem commonly found in highly reverberant spaces.
The cathedral’s high, vaulted interior is acoustically reflective, with stone walls and columns surrounding a tile mosaic floor, and hard plastic seating. To bring speech clarity to this reverberant space, two CAL 32 loudspeakers were deployed to focus acoustic energy precisely on the congregation seating area with minimal energy exciting the adjacent hard surfaces. The CAL loudspeakers are adjustable to one degree of vertical dispersion.
“The cathedral is an ancient and historic building, and almost nothing is permitted that would alter the appearance of the interior,” says Lorenzo Benigna of system provider Linear Sound S.r.l. “Our objective was to design a new system that would be effective, yet practically unnoticeable.”
The two slender CAL 32 loudspeakers are mounted flush against the cathedral’s sidewall to remain unobtrusive, with each vertical beam tilted down 10 degrees. Their vertical dispersion angle is set at 30 degrees to project a uniform wedge of highly intelligible sound precisely upon the seating area.
“There really is no comparison to the cathedral’s old system,” points out Benigna. “CAL is an exceptional system with superior performance not just for speech, but for music as well.”
The system also employs eight MM-4XP and four MM-4XPD self-powered loudspeakers to discreetly fill seating area spots that are acoustically shadowed. The units receive audio signal and DC power over a single cable from dual MPS-488HP power supplies (48 V DC).
“The exceptional directivity of the MM-4XPD was very helpful, as these speakers were placed near the microphones,” says Benigna. “They provide excellent coverage without producing feedback.”
The system design was a collaborative effort involving Benigna and Giovanni Bugari of Linear Sound, together with Adriano Conte, a church AV consultant.
The Cathedral of Sessa Aurunca is a medieval basilica with a vaulted portico and two aisles formed by 18 columns. It was constructed in 1113 using materials from the ancient Roman temples of Mercury and Hercules. With a population of about 23,000, the city of Sessa Aurunca is located 140 kilometers southeast of Rome in the region of Campania.
Arizona-Based Pro Production Services Deploys Greybox-Enabled Powersoft K Series
Optimizes EAW loudspeakers with K10 DSP+KAESOP power amplifiers
Arizona-based Pro Production Services is deploying its inventory of 12 Powersoft K10 DSP+KAESOP power amplifiers, which are under the management of Powersoft’s Armonía Pro Audio Suite software, specifically to take advantage of the product’s EAW Greybox implementation.
Powersoft and EAW entered into a strategic partnership several years ago that enables both companies to integrate EAW’s proprietary DSP algorithms into K Series power amplifiers fitted with DSP modules.
”The main reason that we purchased the Powersoft K10 amplifiers was because of the Greybox implementation,” says Donovan Mote, director of operations, who is based at the Phoenix office of Pro Production Services. “We have several hundred EAW products, and when we were introduced to the Greybox processing we were blown away with how much it improved the performance of the products.”
Mote continues, “We like the ability to take any of our amplifiers and deploy them with any speaker system that we have. So having processing built into the amplifiers and being able to recall that at any particular gig really appealed to us. Not having to have an external processor really fit in well with our methodology.”
On more complex systems Pro Production Services will occasionally use a processor for overall system control, with Mote adding: “But often I’ll use the grouping function in Armonía to fine-tune the different zones being powered by Powersoft.”
Paul Hugo of southwest regional manufacturer rep firm Marshank Sales, introduced Pro Production Services to Powersoft’s Greybox implementation at a demo in Phoenix.
“Paul invited us to bring our current products and to compare them both functionally and sonically,” Mote recalls. “We took a passive 2-way box and the amps that we had at the time and did a full range listening test against the Powersoft amps. Just the K Series amp—with no processing—made a stunning improvement to the sound.
“It was quite noticeably different. It had a wider frequency response, it seemed to have more depth and it was a little bit more three-dimensional. That was a good indication that the amp was going to perform well for us.”
Unlike other “black box” software, which blocks user intervention, EAW’s Greybox algorithms, implemented in Powersoft’s K Series amplifier DSP, ensure optimal results from the company’s speaker products while also allowing access to certain parameters, including EQ and signal delay.
Standard Powersoft technologies such as universal switch mode power supplies with Power Factor Correction (PFC) and patented Class D technology further improve sonic performance. Powersoft’s optional DSP cards additionally offer users Active DampingControl, LiveImpedance Measurement, TruePower Limiter and other unique functionality.
Pro Production Services, which maintains offices in Phoenix and Tucson, is very much a full-service provider, according to Mote, offering clients throughout the southwestern states a variety of audio, lighting, staging, power, backline and video services.
“We do it all,” he says. “But the forte of our office in Phoenix is audio. We’re pretty diverse, which I really am proud of. We do a lot of large format PA work such as festivals, we do a fair amount of corporate work and special events, we do high school graduations, and we do a lot of political events. We’ve worked for the White House a couple dozen times.
“We can go from an outdoor festival where we’re in the middle of a mud pit to a televised political event a couple of days later, so it requires a lot of work on our part to keep the gear in good shape,” he continues. “We pride ourselves on having very well maintained gear that’s reliable. Powersoft has certainly helped us in that regard. We haven’t had any mechanical issues with them.”
Friday, August 16, 2013
Sound Image Deploys JBL VTX & Crown I-Tech HD For 2013 Sunset Strip Music Festival
The epicenter of rock music on the west coast will find you on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and at no time of year is the iconic street louder than the annual Sunset Strip Music Festival.
Featuring artists such as Street Drum Corps, Finch, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Awolnation and headlined by Linkin Park. Escondido, CA-based Sound Image supplied a Harman’s JBL Professional VTX system powered by Crown Audio I-Tech HD amplifiers for the festival.
The system Sound Image deployed for the festival featured 24 JBL VTX V25 full-size line array elements (12 per side) along with four VerTec VT 4887A compact line array elements for front fill, 18 VTX S28 subwoofers (nine per side) and eight VTX G28 subwoofers in a single cardioid array. Crown I-Tech 12000 HD amplifiers powered the entire system.
“The VTX line arrays are a huge step forward sonically. It’s very smooth and the low-end is tighter and you have more headroom at the high-end as well. Plus using JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software is extremely straight forward and intuitive,” explains Rich Davis, audio engineer for Sound Image.
Considering the time crunch, the combination of the Crown-powered VTX system used in conjunction with Performance Manager made the entire production more efficient. “This was a one day festival and we didn’t have the ability to do load in the day before. We were onsite at 3 am and once the stage was in place we had everything set-up quickly,” Davis says.
“Paul Bauman from JBL had visited the site and done some preliminary work and then it was just a matter of refining some of the angles and the distance we needed to throw. Being able to do everything from assigning the amplifiers to tuning the PA with delay times in the software is a major time saver,” he adds.
For headliners Linkin Park, the difference in the VTX rig is preferred. “My favorite PA out there is the JBL VTX. At the high-end it really shines, there is no distortion and its capabilities are unlike anything else that is out there right now, when I’m out with Linkin Park it’s our first choice,” states Ken “Pooch” Van Druten, FOH engineer for Linkin Park.
Sunset Music Festival head of production Phil Jaurigui explains how this was a unique year for the festival. “After years of using JBL systems for smaller staging applications, I was overjoyed by the sound and performance of the VTX system for the main stage at the Sunset Strip Music Festival. It was not only twice as loud than the previous system we have used that fit into the same footprint, it also had a punch that was clear and noticeable even two blocks away. This performance has made me a firm believer in large-scale JBL touring rigs forever.”
“We’re extremely pleased to be specified on Linkin Park’s technical rider and it was a pleasure to support them on this event. Ken Van Druten always does a fantastic job in making the VTX system sound great. Rich Davis and the Sound Image crew did a great job as always in ensuring that everything ran smoothly and the VTX system performed flawlessly,” says JBL’s Paul Bauman.
“In particular, the EDS cardioid subwoofer array provided excellent onstage rejection - something that is important to the band members of Linkin Park - while providing high impact out front combined with very even horizontal coverage without any power alley issues whatsoever.”
Fresh Start: Deploying A New Rig For Kenny Chesney’s “No Shoes Nation”
A different approach for one of the summer's largest tours
Kenny Chesney has established himself as one of the top touring artists in North America, consistently filling stadiums, arenas, and sheds year after year.
His ongoing “No Shoes Nation” tour with his superb band is no exception, keeping a busy schedule at venues such as Dallas Cowboys Stadium and Ford Field in Detroit while also featuring opening performances by Eric Church, the Eli Young Band and emerging artist Kacey Musgraves.
We detailed the sound reinforcement approach for Chesney’s tour last year (here), but this tour is quite notable due to several significant changes. Chief among them is Morris Light and Sound (based in Nashville) deploying a completely new house sound system headed by NEXO STM modular line arrays, as well as Chris Rabold now providing the front of house mix.
I caught up with the tour in late June for a show at Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH, an outdoor venue with a capacity of more than 20,000. Arriving at the back gate that morning, I was greeted by audio crew chief/system engineer John Mills, who’s also the VP of Morris Light and Sound, where he works closely with president David Haskell in managing the company.
We wandered out to the large stage (interestingly, a permanent structure at this facility), where a busy team – PA techs Phil Spina, Justin Meeks, Kyle Fletcher, and Tanner Freese joined by stage patch Jamison “Jamo” Beck – was assembling and flying the main system.
Audio crew chief John Mills at “laptop central” at front of house. (click to enlarge)
As Mills departed to join assistant system engineer Preston Gray in handling some things at front of house, I took a seat in the front row to observe the construction of the arrays, which were up in the air within an hour.
Later, I spoke with Mills about the new system, including specific technical aspects as well as more general topics. He and Haskell began contemplating a change quite some time ago, with an eye on serving the particular needs of the Chesney’s annual touring schedule while also strongly considering the countless events, shows and productions the company serves on a yearly basis.
Local stage hands in Columbus assist the sound team’s array assembly. (click to enlarge)
“We took a look at the market and identified three systems of interest, with one of them being NEXO STM,” he notes. “Our previous large-format system, while still quite good, was aging in terms of technology, and it lacked flexibility. So we determined that an upgrade was in order from both quality and business standpoints.”
He and Haskell arranged for direct comparisons of their list’s top three systems with their existing rig, all conducted in the same controlled environment. They also evaluated each of the three in terms of musicality, throw, and headroom, and significantly, modularity.
Out of this exhaustive process, NEXO STM emerged as their preference. “All of these systems were excellent, one a bit better at a certain aspect, the next a bit better at another aspect, and so on,” Mills says. “But in terms of overall sonic quality combined with extremely flexible modularity, STM won the day.
One of the completed STM array sets with M46 and and B112 modules forming main and side arrays, backed by an S118 subbass array. (click to enlarge)
“The truly modular nature is a big attraction,” he continues. “This is our biggest tour, by far, and then we also work a wide range of smaller tours and events of varying scale. This system allows us to provide a PA that is ideally scaled to the needs of the particular coverage requirements and program material of every one of those events, large down to small.”
“The bottom line is that we wanted to move beyond a ‘stadium box’ approach to something that’s going to be out of the shop, working constantly and delivering consistent revenue.”
The STM (Scale Through Modularity) concept enables line arrays to scale up or down depending on audience size, ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 people.
Arrays can be configured from three loudspeaker modules with the same cabinet width: M46 main, B112 bass, and S118 subbass. (An M28 “Omni” module for dedicated down fill is also coming soon.) Configurations can comprise arrays of main cabinets only, or main plus bass, or bass plus main plus bass.
The M46 main cabinet includes 4 x 6.5-inch LF/MF drivers and 4 x 2.5-inch voice coil neodymium HF compression drivers. The drivers have flat membranes that help produce even full-range coverage over the entire 90-degree horizontal dispersion. Frequency response is 85 Hz to 20 kHz.
The cabinet measures 13.8 (h) x 22.6 (w) x 28.2 (d) inches, sharing the exact same dimensions as the B112 bass cabinet, which is outfitted with a neodymium high-excursion 12-inch bass driver in a hybrid horn-loaded design that helps maximize the efficiency of the driver. Frequency response is 63 Hz to 200 Hz.
M46 and B112 boxes can be arrayed together in a variety of configurations, the most common being paired side by side to form a full-range loudspeakers that are then linked in a vertical array. “It’s this flexibility that really appeals to us,” Mills says. “Want more mid-low? Add some boxes. Want less? Take some away. You can tailor it by both the number and type of boxes in the arrays, as well as the array structures.”
The S118 subbass cabinet, extending response down to 25 Hz, has a neodymium high-excursion 3,000-watt 18-inch driver, with a bandpass load incorporated to help provide output equivalent to some dual 18-inch units. These cabinets can be stacked, flown with other elements, or flown as their own arrays.
The proprietary PistonRig system built into each cabinet offers streamlined compression-mode rigging and allows pre-setting of inter-cabinet angle values, while a “REDLock” handle locks front rigging points from rear of cabinet. All rigging adjustments are made from one position at the rear of an array.
STM cabinets are paired with the NEXO Universal Amp Rack (NUAR), which contains plug-and-play digital patches, real-time system monitoring, and control network functionality in addition to two NXAMP4x4s, which together can power up to 12 loudspeakers in groups of three.
A Morris Light and Sound tech climbing “Mount Line Array” to check a connection. (click to enlarge)
NUAR includes a dual-voltage version of the NXAMP and works in conjunction with the Digital Meter Unit (DMU), an intelligent input patch panel providing digital communication with the NXAMP, and the Digital Patch Unit (DPU), an intelligent output patch panel.
“These drive racks are another aspect of the advantage of modularity. You only carry what you need, and it’s all very efficient,” Mills explains. “We needed 17 drive racks per side for the old system, and on this tour, with a much more powerful system, we’re down to an average of only 11 racks per side, which saves a lot of space, not to mention effort.
“The racks are also flyable, which we’ve chosen not to do on this tour, but it would be great for things like corporate gigs where the client usually wants a very clean stage,” he adds. “For companies of our scope, and even smaller, this package can be a great investment. You can easily handle the occasional big show, or multiple smaller gigs, with the same system, and without having to cross-rent.”
NEXO Universal Amp Racks (NUAR) that drive the arrays. (click to enlarge)
Mills models each venue prior to a show on the Chesney tour, using the NEXO NS1 program that he’s found to be “very consistent,” with the array structures remaining relatively constant from show to show.
Main left and right flown arrays usually run 22 deep (22 M46 mated with 22 B112), with flown side fill arrays of 15 M46 and 15 B112. The flown S118 sub arrays, located several feet behind the mains, are 2 boxes wide, 12 deep.
“Something I’ve been considering for the next tour is going to triple-wide main arrays, with two B112s flanking an M46, and then a single M46 line for each side,” he notes. “We’ll evaluate that fully after this tour is complete.
A closer look at the rigging on the back side of an M46/B112 array. (click to enlarge)
“But I’ve been doing some preliminary modeling and it looks like it will work quite well. Of course, we’ll also need to see what happens with it in actual practice.”
The arrays are supplemented by four NEXO S12s on each end for the stage for near fill, with five to six PS10s spaced on the stage for front fill. Eight RS18 “Ray Sub” subs on the ground provide bolstered low-end presence right up front, and they’re run in their cardioid setting to move stray energy up and away from the stage, and in particular Chesney’s runway “T” stage that runs well out into the audience area. Delay towers are also deployed on stadium shows a couple hundred feet from the stage, with their number and location varying by venue.
As noted earlier, the tour also welcomes Chris Rabold as front of house engineer, and he’s melded nicely with the veteran sound team. He’s mixing on a Midas PRO9 console, his first experience with that particular digital platform.
“It really sounds good,” he notes. “The EQ isn’t like any other digital EQ I’ve used, very smooth and very musical. This desk has just enough color to have some personality, which is nice. I’m happy to say it’s a personality that I get along very well with.”
Rabold got his start at the age of 19 when he hooked up with Widespread Panic, working a few tours with no specific role. “I did everything from sell T-shirts to load the truck. I was in heaven,” he notes, and it spurred him to focus on a career in audio. He attended Middle Tennessee State University and also took any mixing gig available, served as a stagehand, and worked at Soundcheck rehearsal studios in Nashville. His path eventually led back to Widespread Panic, who he mixed for more than a decade.
“I spent 11 incredible years with them, and also mixed whatever else I could during their downtime,” he says. “At a certain point I found myself in the pop world and have been doing mainly that for the past few years.” This includes stints with Beyonce and Lady Gaga, and when the latter’s latest tour was unexpectedly cut short, he got a call from Chesney production manager Ed Wannebo.
Chris Rabold at his Midas PRO9 console at front of house. (click to enlarge)
“I was told coming into this gig that Kenny wanted a big sound, a rockin’ sound with big guitars and what-not,” Rabold says. “Even if I hadn’t been told that, the musical design of the show just begs for it. There’s a whole lot more of a rock feel then I would have expected, as well as some down-tempo stuff and a few songs that flirt with traditional country arrangements, but for the most parts its just a fairly sizeable band going at it with Kenny running around right there with them all night.
“I just went whichever way I thought the music wanted to go, and it worked out really well,” he continues. “Kenny gives me all the vocal I need too, so fitting his vocal on top was pretty easy from the beginning. I really believe that whatever the gig, whatever the genre, if you just focus and listen to what you’re being given, the music will let you know how it needs to be mixed.”
His outboard rack is relatively sparse, chosen for select purposes to augment what he’s able to do with the console’s onboard dynamics and effects. Mainstays are an Empirical Labs Distressor, Fatso, and Derresser, as well as API 2500 stereo compressors, and an SPL Transient Designer. “By far, the coolest piece of gear I’ve stumbled upon lately is the Sonic Farm Creamliner,” he adds. “It’s a tube-based processor that gives some extra weight and muscle to my stereo bus. It’s one of those ‘you have to use it to understand’ pieces.”
A percpective of the stage and arrays in Columbus. Photo by Steve Jennings
Also in the rack is a Neve Designs 5045 primary source enhancer from Yamaha that’s impressed both Mills and Rabold. Essentially, the unit is designed to reduce stray noise that can compromise vocals. “
It stays parked on Wyatt’s vocal, Kenny’s primary backing vocal, and I’ll use it when needed on Kenny himself,” Rabold states. “It’s just a useful problem-solver of a unit. It takes the input signal and splits it into parallel paths. Those paths sum at the output. The trick is that the two paths are out of phase with one another until the signal level crosses a user determined threshold. Think of it like a gate with a really cool way of achieving the gating!
“A vocal mic can sit there amidst all kinds of stage volume and crowd noise and you’ll never hear it open until the vocalists give you the input you want, assuming, of course, their singing creates a level great enough. It’s a threshold dependant process, and it’s not a magic box by any means, but it’s a damn witty way of achieving what it sets out to do.”
Solid & Consistent
On stage, monitor engineers Phill “Sidephill” Robinson (Chesney) and Brain “Opie” Baxley (the band) both utilize Midas PRO9 consoles. Robinson delivers his mix to Chesney’s Shure PSM1000 personal monitoring system, while Baxley serves the band’s Sennheiser in-ear mixes along with a few NEXO 45-N12 line monitors.
Chesney’s distinct vocal is captured by a Shure SKM9HS capsule on an Axient AXT200 wireless transmitter. The upgrade to the Axient system came about on last year’s tour, where Chesney started each show on a second stage out in the audience, roughly 200 feet in front of the PA, and then was transported to the main stage on a flying metal chair.
At front of house, signal from both PRO9s there goes digitally to two Yamaha DME64 digital mix engines outfitted with 16 channels of Lake Mesa EQ for zone control.
Four inputs of Lake are set up for left, right, sub and fill, with 12 outputs running to house left and right, out fill, ground subs, and so on.
Audinate Dante networking takes signal to the NUAR drive racks on stage. The DME64s are also used to switch the two PRO9 consoles as well as the Avid VENUE Profile favored by Eric Church front of house engineer Brent Sparks.
Chesney performing with Shure Axient wireless mic and PSM personal monitoring systems. (click to enlarge)
The sound team performs meticulous system tuning prior to each show, working a zone grid to capture input that’s interpreted with an assist from Rational Acoustics Smaart.
Mills runs the NEXO NeMo remote monitoring app on his iPad that provides control over the NXAMP network, providing him with access to key system factors before and during a show from anywhere in the venue. Rabold also does tuning via a tablet equipped with the Lake app.
“Once John and his crew have verified the rig and its components, he hands it over to me,” Rabold says. “I get his input on why things are the way they are that day, and if there’s anything out of the ordinary. I have a very specific curve I want to achieve every day, and I can honestly say we get that. I don’t want to have to recreate the wheel every day in terms of my mix.
“I like to tune my own system. At the end of the day I’m being paid to deliver a certain level of sound quality to the audience,” he adds. “The better acquainted I am with the sonic characteristics of the room and the system, the better and faster I can confidently react to what’s given to me on a daily basis.
Mills checking things via the NeMo remote monitoring app, with Chris Rabold doing some tuning with the Lake app. (click to enlarge)
“I’ve been blessed with incredible system engineers for most of my career, and we’ve got a great one on this tour.”
For his part, Mills and his team have been quite pleased with the performance of the new rig. “It’s beautiful – musical, solid, and consistent throughout the coverage area, night after night,” he concludes. “The front row and the back row do really sound the same. The vocal is gorgeous everywhere, and there’s great separation of instruments. And Chris does such a great mix, bringing out and then blending just the right elements.”
Keith Clark is editor in chief of ProSoundWeb and Live Sound International.
Danley Delivers Flexibility And Pattern Control To Olivet Nazarene University
The university recently completed construction on the new Student Life and Recreation Center -- the new field house boasts Danley Genesis horns.
Located an hour south of Chicago in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet Nazarene University serves over 4,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
In order to support the campus community and to promote student health and wellness, the university recently completed construction on the new Student Life and Recreation Center. Among many other amenities (including a four-story climbing wall) the new facility features a 72,000 square-foot field house with four full basketball courts ringed by a running track.
Olivet Nazarene University plans to eventually use the space for concerts, ceremonies, and other large events in addition to its day-to-day activities. With that goal in mind, the field house sound reinforcement system is a high-powered combination of Danley Sound Labs GH-60 Genesis horns (with SH-100 loudspeakers for fill) paired with Danley TH-118 subwoofers which are configured in a steered cardioid array.
AVI Systems, of Bensenville, Illinois, designed and installed the system with significant design and commissioning assistance from Johnson AV Engineering of Chicago.
“The school officials already had their heart set on the sound of the Danley GH-60 Genesis Horn,” explained Aaron Johnson, president and principal engineer at Johnson AV Engineering. “AVI brought us on board based on our prior experience with Danley systems. I agreed with their choice.
“The GH-60 sounds great and, like all Danley boxes, exhibits excellent pattern control. Good pattern control was essential to keep direct energy off of the walls as much as possible.”
The system they arrived at uses six Danley GH-60 Genesis Horns in two groups of three arrayed in a ring at the center of the field house. A Danley SH-100 provides down-fill below each cluster of GH-60s.
Depending on the configuration of the room, the university’s A/V staff can use the entire ring of loudspeakers for full 360-degree coverage or they can split the ring in half and use only one side or the other. A line of ten additional Danley SH-100s cover the bleachers along one side of the room.
Initial acoustic models of the space suggested the room would have a very long reverb time. Johnson knew that it would be essential to control the low-frequency energy. To that end, he worked with Danley Sound Labs’ DDT 2D modeling software to design a steered cardioid subwoofer array whose pattern would approximately match the coverage pattern of the GH-60 Genesis Horns.
He used two hangs of two Danley TH-118 subwoofers each. Each TH-118 is separately processed and powered, and the net effect delivers low-frequency energy centered at 60Hz in a ring which is steered down towards the floor with very little LF energy radiating up towards the ceiling.
When only half the space is used and the GH-60 Genesis Horn ring is cut in half, the subwoofer array can also be cut in half to focus low-frequency energy in the appropriate direction.
Biamp Audio DSP provides all of the system processing, with Lab.gruppen C-series amplifiers providing the power to the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers.
AVI designed the system so that the main GH-60s, the downfill SH-100s, the bleacher SH-100s, and the subwoofers are all capable of independent control. For daily use, a Crestron control system provides intuitive input selection and volume control.
“The reverb time turned out to be close to 5.5 seconds,” said Johnson. “That’s very long, but with the high directivity of the Danley loudspeakers and the subwoofer array, the direct-to-reflected ratio is really good.
“The original plan called for acoustic treatment, but when the school officials heard the installed system and considered their budgetary priorities, they opted to forestall the acoustic treatment. It’s really to Danley’s credit – a less controlled system would have required significant acoustic treatment just to sound passable.”
Danley Sound Labs
Signal-Iduna-Park Upgrades With RCF
During a recent sound reinforcement renovation at Signal-Iduna-Park in Dortmund, Germany, new state of the art technology was combined with older components to create a system that would ensure perfect coverage of the soccer stadium.
Signal-Iduna-Park is the home of Borussia Dortmund, the 2011 and 2012 German champions. To cover the tiered seating in the soccer arena, 14 RCF TTL 33A line array units were installed at the stadium utilizing a custom BGV-C1 compliant mounting system.
Each array consists of 14 RCF TTL 33A modules along with a subwoofer. The custom mounting system provides accessibility to the arrays via a cable. Because the line array is self-powered, only one power supply, two signal lines (A/B) and two control buses (A/B) are required to make each unit redundant.
RCF’s new amplifiers modules provide an impedance monitoring option on all chassis that are integrated in the speaker, with reporting carried out via bus systems.
Eighteen of the units in use for the sound system play a dual role in the arena – when rotated 180 degrees they can be used to evacuate the stadium’s inside areas (the pitch).
Closed signal distribution of security footage is implemented via eight ATEIS IDA8 units (EN54-16 compliant) in a optic fiber ring, which communicate directly with the line arrays with regards to signal monitoring.
The installation was possible with cooperation from the RCF Group German subsidiary, RCF Engineering Support Group (ESG) department and RCF R&D in Italy, ATEIS Germany, and Fulfil engineering GmbH from Gelsenkirchen.
Fulfill Engineering GmbH initiated, coordinated and supervised the installation.
Key facts about the installation:
- Speakers configured as a line array system can provides significant acoustic advantages over distribution via individual speakers. When a distributed solution is used, the sound waves from several speakers reach listeners at different times, which can result in phase cancellations and reduced sound quality.
- Monitoring of the line arrays is fully integrated into the voice alarm system concept. Speaker failures or outages in the amplifier components are immediately reported to and recorded in the voice alarm system, and transmitted to the central building control system. Using PC software, a technician can carry out an accurate error analysis whereby even the failure of a single speaker chassis can be accurately located.
- All audio signal routing is conducted via the voice alarm systems manufactured by ATEIS. Additional, unmonitored audio routers can be omitted, ensuring the highest levels of reliability and the immediate detection of faults.
- The network technology between the stands’ alarm systems is fully redundant with its fibre optic ring feature.
- The system can very easily be extended at any time. Additional audio inputs and outputs can easily be integrated by installing additional components.
- Operating the system and visualising its operating status is carried out sophisticatedly and intuitively via a media control that uses graphically appealing user interfaces. The increased demands placed on a stadium sound system can be met in a way that takes into consideration the use of the system outside of game days.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Community ENTASYS Helps Historic Navy Chapel Improve Coverage And Intelligibility
In order to keep the sound out of the dome as much as possible, DFX installed a Community ENTASYS triple-stack on each side in the front on each side towards the rear to cover the mezzanine and choir loft.
The Naval Academy Chapel is a historic focal point for the U.S. Naval Academy and the city of Annapolis, Maryland. Dedicated in 1908 and remodeled in 1940, the Chapel underwent an extensive restoration in 2009.
Its classic cruciform design centers on a 121-foot-high dome, seats 2500 worshipers and includes a 268-rank pipe organ.
The Chapel’s large volume, hard surfaces and large, high dome present substantial acoustical issues. As a result, the Chapel has always suffered from poor speech intelligibility and uneven coverage.
In an attempt to deal with these issues, the Chapel tried several different sound systems including a distributed system and a pew-back system. Finally, in 2010, while operating with an unsatisfactory mix of these different systems, the Chapel published an RFP asking for proposals for an entirely new sound reinforcement system.
After an extended, formal evaluation of several proposals, the Chapel chose a design presented by DFX Sound Vision of West Berlin, New Jersey. To improve intelligibility in the Chapel and solve its coverage issues, DFX proposed a design based on Community ENTASYS column line arrays.
“We knew we had to keep sound out of the dome as much as possible,” said Drew Juliano, DFX’ Design Engineer, who designed the new Chapel system. “So we installed an ENTASYS triple-stack on each side in the front and added an ENTASYS double-stack on each side towards the rear to cover the mezzanine and choir loft. ENTASYS’ narrow vertical coverage helped us keep sound away from the ceiling and the dome and its wide horizontal coverage helped provide even coverage throughout the seating areas.”
DFX completed its installation in late 2012 and aimed the ENTASYS stacks with a laser to avoid slap echoes from the back wall. They added delay to the rear stacks to match the sound arrivals from the front. And, they carefully adjusted levels of the individual loudspeakers to get even coverage throughout the Chapel.
“System aesthetics were very important to the Chapel,” said DFX’ Sales Manager Rene DiPeri. “We provided them with a rendering of the installed loudspeakers as part of our proposal,” she continued. “So, Community custom-painted the ENTASYS columns to an RAL color number we provided, and we took care to match all of our work to the Chapel’s interior design and colors.”
The Chapel hosts religious services for several faiths as well as weddings, funerals and other services. DFX added a Crestron touch-panel control to reconfigure the system to match the needs of these varied events. An Avid Venue Digital Mixing Console is available for special events that need extra microphones and a professional operator. DFX completed the system with a BSS DSP system and Lab Gruppen power amplifiers.
“The Chapel is very pleased with the system’s intelligibility and coverage,” said Juliano, “and we provided a service contract so we can continue to train new users and adjust the Crestron settings as their needs change.”
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Turbosound Flashline Goes Wireless At Olympic Park
A turbosound Flashline PA was deployed by Britannia Row Productions for the Pepsi Max Stage, which also saw appearances by Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah.
The Wireless Festival, now in its ninth consecutive year, is the quintessential urban open-air music experience, with headliners Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, will.i.am, Snoop Dog, A Tribe Called Quest, and Rita Ora drawing record crowds to London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
A Turbosound Flashline PA was deployed by Britannia Row Productions for the Pepsi Max Stage, which also saw appearances by Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah.
Britannia Row Productions’ Johnny Keirle was systems tech for the event and, despite arriving in the UK from New Zealand recently, has seen plenty of Flashline action.
“I’m pretty familiar with Turbosound as I worked a lot with Oceania back in New Zealand, they have a large Flashlight and Floodlight rig that’s one of the best sounding systems around. The very first time I heard Flashline, I loved it. Since then, the more I work with Flashline the more I like it,” he says.
“Mechanically, the rigging is very well thought out. The flying and angling system is very thoughtfully laid out and labeled, making it easy and straightforward to put in the air. With four boxes to a dolly you can set the majority of angles on the ground, resulting in a quick and easy flying process.
“The flybar case is a clever design and it’s tidy and compact. Flashline is extremely easy to put in the air and equally importantly, very easy to land after a long day’s work!”
For the Pepsi Max Stage – which measured about 100 metres by 50 metres wide– Turbosound’s latest large scale line array system consisted of 10 TFS-900H high packs flown per side, with six each TFS-900B subs at left and right, plus a centre stack of six TFS-900Bs.
Extra subs were added to the original specification in order to beef up the sub-bass frequencies for will.i.am and the festival’s hugely popular and predominantly electronic-based hip-hop, RnB and rap artist line-up.
Flashline is a complete turnkey sound reinforcement system designed to deliver ultra-high quality audio to large audiences. The TFS-900H is a four-way flown line array comprising 11 discrete drive units uniquely deployed across four frequency bands, teamed up with Lab.gruppen’s industry-leading four channel DSP-based amplifiers with Lake processing in custom-designed Turbosound racks.
The TFS-900B subs are a hybrid-loaded design that makes use of energy from the rear as well as the front of the 18-inch neodymium drivers’ cones for an impressive 141dB peak output. The Flashline high packs travel pre-rigged in groups of four on custom dollies allowing a loudspeaker array to be flown quickly and easily.
An EASE Focus plot run on the morning of the festival set up day helped to determine the optimum inter-box angles, which were then implemented while still on the dollies.
“It takes only five or ten minutes to go through the configuration to make sure it’s going to look good, and once you’ve got them in the air you can trim levels accordingly from the Lake software,” explains Keirle. “We can do that because of the way the racks are configured.
“I’m running the top three cabinets on one amplifier channel, the next three on one channel, and the bottom four as two pairs. This way we have a lot of control over the directivity of the array – such as trimming the lower cabinets back quite a bit at the bottom to hit the first 30 metres, and as it’s around 100 metres to the back we’re going to push the tops to achieve that long throw. There are no delays at all, which is great from the audience’s point of view.”
Flex Array TFA-600H three-way mid/high in-fills positioned just in front of the side fills covered the front audience area. “We have this curved crowd barrier and those cabinets cover the centre really nicely, and then we have a couple more Flex Array boxes at the outside to cover the flanks,” says Keirle.
Low end was provided by a total of 18 TFA-900B subwoofers, ground stacked three high by two wide at left and right, and a centre block two high by three wide which was phase aligned appropriately to break up the power alley/power valley complications frequently encountered with widely spaced traditional left/right sub configurations.
“The subs were great in the room,” he says. “We had very even coverage for the majority of the space and easily reached the back of the tent. In fact I was running the subs at -6dB over the weekend; we had plenty of headroom there!”
According to Keirle, the coverage of the flown Flashline boxes was exceptional. “We weren’t dealing with a huge amount of boxes but achieved a great result,” he says. “Vertically (front to back) our coverage was great – I trimmed and EQ’d boxes independently to accommodate throws varying from10 metres to 100 metres in the array, but the transitions were pretty seamless across the room.
“We had no issues in the horizontal domain. The TFS-900H high packs offer a true 90° horizontal spread, and the areas closer to the stage were covered very nicely with Flex array boxes positioned where needed and delayed appropriately.”
Flashline was put through its paces with a broad range of music and was particularly impressive on the DJ sets. The commercially mastered music presented an opportunity to demonstrate the accuracy of the PA and display the responsiveness of the sub and low frequencies, as well as the articulated reproduction of high frequencies.
“During Calvin Harris’ set I was sitting at FOH, 60 odd metres from the source, and could still feel the extreme highs from 16kHz on up being pushed forcefully past my ears,” enthuses Keirle.
“Flashline offers a unique HF – the majority of modern line arrays have a very smooth, soft-sounding top end, whereas Flashline gives you a more in-your-face, up-front top end,” he comments. “Even when the HF needs boosting, when at a good level you can definitely feel the extreme highs pushing past you a lot more noticeably than other modern line array boxes.
“The Flashline subs definitely stand out. The large enclosure offers an extremely deep sound more reminiscent of the older 21-inch Turbosound folded horns, while retaining the tightness and responsiveness of modern double 18-inch configurations.
“The levels were running reasonably comfortably at FOH. Due to the long throw, the HF was getting more of a workout than the other elements, but overall we were sitting pretty comfortably. Our limit was just over 100dB and I’m confident we could have achieved a lot more before running out of headroom.”
Based purely on audience reaction, the public and visiting FOH engineers alike enjoyed the sound of the Flashline PA, reports Keirle. “As with every show, engineers are never afraid to ask for a little more gain, more low end, less of this or that frequency, and I always do my best to keep them happy with on-going collective improvements to the system processing.
“Over the entire weekend, we had no complaints whatsoever.”
The Britannia Row crew for the Pepsi Max stage at Wireless were Craig Ross (FOH), Alex Hore (monitors), Johnny Keirle (systems technician), Hector Rivera and Danilo Z (stage technicians), and Lez Dwight (audio coordinator).