Romeo Santos is known as the King of Bachata, garnering seven number one hits on the Hot Latin Songs chart in the last three years alone and selling out stadiums in the US and Latin America.
A recent tour stop at Mexico’s Arena Monterrey was one of the tour’s most challenging for sound contractor Pro Audio, as the concert was centered around a rotating stage with 360-degree sound, provided by a Harman Professional audio system featuring JBL VTX Series line array loudspeakers and Crown I-Tech HD Series amplifiers.
A total of 48 JBL VTX V25 line array elements were arranged in four clusters of 12 V25 loudspeakers each, with two left and right hangs on the north side of the arena and two left and right hangs on the south side. Thirty-two JBL VERTEC VT4889 line array elements were deployed on the east and west sides of the arena in a similar manner in four clusters of eight each. In addition, 24 VTX G28 ground-stackable subwoofers were arranged around the stage and 12 VTX V20 loudspeakers were used for front fill.
The loudspeakers were driven by Crown VRack amplifier systems. VRack is a complete, transportable amplifier management solution that includes Crown I-Tech HD Series power amps, analog and digital connections and a universal power distribution system, all housed in a wheeled rack with a captive suspension system that enables VRack to be flown in the same manner as a line array loudspeaker system.
For the Santos concert Pro Audio furnished 16 VRacks with Crown I-Tech 12000HD power amps to drive the V25 loudspeakers and V28 subs, and 16 I-Tech 6000 and I-Tech 4000 amps to power the VT4889 arrays. A dbx DriveRack 4800 handled loudspeaker management and the entire system was set up, calibrated and controlled using JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software.
“A big event like this always presents great challenges,” noted Victor Gutierrez Zubieta, director of Pro Audio, “and the 360-degree arrangement also meant that setting up the sound system was far from what we usually have to deal with.” Pro Audio had to determine the correct positions for all the loudspeakers that would provide even coverage throughout the venue in a complete circular pattern, but would not block the four central video screens and would not visually intrude upon the elaborate and extensive lighting and video design. In addition, because of the full 360-degree arrangement Zubieta and his crew had to run cables over much longer distances than usual.
On top of it all, the assembly of the rotating stage took a very long time, which took away from the time the crew had to set up the sound system. Here, Zubieta found distinct advantages in the VTX’s lighter weight and ease of assembly and transportation and the VRack’s modular, pre-assembled design. “The networked integration of the VTX speakers, Crown VRacks and JBL Performance Manager is simply spectacular. It has been extremely helpful to have total control of the entire system from front of house.”
Pro Audio was the first sound contractor in Mexico to add VTX to its inventory about a year ago, and since then the company has been using the line arrays in all their events. “We’ve used VTX in over 30 shows with excellent results. They deliver focused coverage yet over a wide area considering their size, attributes we knew would work to our advantage in delivering sound to all areas of Arena Monterrey even though it was an unusual 360-degree rather than the standard front-to-back hall arrangement.”
He pointed out that Arena Monterrey has a capacity of 17,000 people and high SPL is required for Romeo Santos and his band. “With VTX that has never been a problem – we always have plenty of headroom to spare and zero distortion. The combination of the VTX and Crown VRack modules gives us great power and clarity – which do not always go hand in hand. With Romeo it’s all about his voice – and this system conveys his range and dynamics with remarkable naturalness and presence.”
“The VTX system is one of the best in the market,” Zubieta states. “Some people may have a different opinion and I respect that but in all our shows, everyone who has heard them has loved the VTX and I-Tech HD amps, whether they’ve had much experience with them or are hearing the combination for the first time.”