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Sonic Arsenal: Loud And Pure At The Arenal Festival In Spain

The systems designed to serve more than 40,000 each day for home-grown talent and renowned international acts

By Paul Watson November 14, 2012

The scene at the main stage at the Arenal Festival in Spain

The annual Arenal Sound music festival in the small coastal town of Burriana, Castellon, fuses home-grown Spanish talent and a handful of renowned international acts – this year’s headliners included Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club, and the Ting Tings.

More than 40,000 came each day to enjoy the performances and party in sweltering heat at this beach resort from noon until 7 am. (Yes, that’s AM!)

I attended Arenal this year, and while keeping to a decidedly more reasonable schedule, took plenty of time to check out the system designs.

Spanish sound rental company Acústica provided sound reinforcement gear and support for the main and beach stages, and as with last year, the systems were designed by Joel Damiano, who also served as the onsite system tech. Additional support came from D.A.S. Audio, based in nearby Valencia.

The main stage system incorporated left-right flown line arrays, each comprised of 16 D.A.S. Aero 50 modules per side, flanked by out fill arrays to extend side coverage, each made up of 12 Aero 12A modules.

Reinforcement to the rear of the audience area was bolstered with more Aero 50 arrays behind the front of house position about 150 feet from the stage.

The band Second performing at Arenal, with a D.A.S. Aero 12A in the foreground. (click to enlarge)

Low-End Change
Forty D.A.S. LX-218A subwoofers lined the front of the stage, with more LF energy for the sides supplied by stacks of two LX-218s. Damiano notes that the low-frequency portion of the design was altered.

“This year there was no cardioid element, but the principle is the same – delay on the subwoofers to make a ‘virtual electronic arc.’ So instead of narrowing the coverage pattern, because the subs are all in a line, it brings it out a little bit, so the people at the sides can get better coverage,” he explains. “It’s an old school way of working, but it just works. And these days, bands seem to like all that noise and vibration on stage anyway – you wouldn’t get that with a cardioid configuration.”

Arenal marked the concert debut of the new D.A.S. proprietary management application. Called DASnet, it interfaced with the Lab.gruppen FP10000Q amplifiers driving the Aero 50 array modules.

Catching some rays, listening to tunes on the beach at Arenal. (click to enlarge)

“Via Ethernet from the amps, the DASnet software can not only control the amps, it can also monitor the inputs and the clipping,” Damiano explains. “We can change the presets inside the loudspeakers, mute the drivers or the woofers, add delay, create groups, even see the temperature. It’s a lot more than just a monitoring system.”

Additional loudspeaker processing parameters for the main system were provided by a D.A.S. DSP-2060 at front of house working with a DSP-4080 at the state. Overall system processing was brought together with a Lake LM 26 processor with Lake Controller software.

“I used the FOH DSP to send the main L/R sends, then down at the stage, I had a second DSP to divide the PA into three throws—short, medium and long,” Damiano says. “Then I had eight sends for the subs, two for the long and short throws of the delay towers respectively, and the same for the in fills and front fills.”

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