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Rat Sound Deploys L-Acoustics For Jack Johnson Tour

For his first tour since 2014, the long-time audio provider selects K1 and K2 arrays with SB28 subs and LA8 amplified controllers to support larger venues.

By PSW Staff August 3, 2017

Jack Johnson with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena

Following the completion of his From Here To Now To You tour in 2013-2014, Jack Johnson has only played a handful of shows over the past three years.

However, with his new album, All The Light Above It Too, slated to drop in early September, the former professional surfer-turned-singer/songwriter, actor and activist recently returned to the road with his band—and Rat Sound’s L-Acoustics K1/K2-based system—to preview his upcoming material.

Like many of Rat’s clients, Johnson has enjoyed a long history with the Camarillo-based sound company, which has reinforced all of his tours since 2000. Although the 2013-2014 trek carried a Kara-based system that was ideal for the more intimate theaters and performing arts venues on that run, this latest tour stopped at much larger spaces—including California’s 17,500-seat Hollywood Bowl and Washington’s 22,000-seat Gorge Amphitheater on its collective four-week journey—all of which were completely sold out.

“This system has been the perfect size for the tour,” says Rat Sound system tech and crew chief Bjarne Hemmingsen, who was tasked with designing the loudspeaker model in L-Acoustics’ Soundvision software each morning. “The show sits at around 94dbA with some very soft delicate parts, and K1/K2 is great at providing even coverage throughout each venue while still keeping a full sound at the very back.”

The tour’s standard loudspeaker array configuration consisted of a dozen K1 plus four Kara downs flown per side, flanked by far left and right hangs of up to 12 K2. Four more Kara spread out across the stage lip handled frontfill, while six ARCS II enclosures—horizontally arrayed in threes on each side of the stage—delivered outfill. Eight SB28 subs per side, groundstacked in two stacks of four, delivered the robust low end, and all systems were powered and processed by LA8 amplified controllers.

“I appreciate that I can easily configure this system in so many different ways to perfectly suit each venue,” Hemmingsen adds. “For venues that don’t require side arrays but are still quite wide, we used four K1 paired with eight to 12 K2 for the mains—or sometimes just the K2s alone for even smaller venues. Being able to control the horizontal HF with K2 solves a lot of reflection issues, especially for the side arrays. Its ability to cover 70 degrees and keep the HF off the walls really helps a lot. And the results that I get in Soundvision are always spot on.”

“This system has a great, full, natural sound with a very controlled low end and requires almost no EQ. Jack covers a lot of musical genres with his set—from folk and reggae to pop and rock—and each variation of the L-Acoustics system worked well with them all.”

Two brief US tour legs comprised Johnson’s latest outing—an east coast trek for the first two weeks of June, followed a month later by a west coast run for the last two weeks of July.

The system that Rat Sound carried remained unchanged between the two trips and was skillfully steered by Michael Pollock, Johnson’s front of house engineer for the past 17 years. Key additional audio crew members included monitor engineer Casey McDaniel, as well as Rat Sound PA tech Mike Gazdziak and monitor tech Kyle Rogan.

L-Acoustics

Rat Sound

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