Ballard SeafoodFest celebrates seafood and the Seattle neighborhood’s Nordic heritage with a crowd-pleasing salmon bbq, craft booths, family activities and a live music stage for the annual two-day festival.
This is the second year that Mackie and EAW have teamed up to support the performance space at the festival, this year providing a sound reinforcement system made up of EAW RADIUS loudspeakers and Mackie’s AXIS digital mixing system.
This year’s event offered a variety of music genres that appealed to a broad audience base. The lineup consisted of mostly local talent including Helio Sequence and Mudhoney – who headlined Saturday night – while Fly Moon Royalty, Polyrhythmics and Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supremes closed out the event Sunday.
SeafoodFest takes place right in the middle of a bustling urban setting near the Puget Sound. One of the key criteria for sound reinforcement was a system that could contain the sound to the audience area – approximately 1,100 people at any given time. Also, given the congested location, quick and efficient setup of the PA was another necessity.
RADIUS not only provides smart features like array self-detection and optimization to cut down on setup and tuning time, but also offers system optimization and intuitive room design and prediction via the EAWmosiac app. As a result, setup was a breeze with sound optimized for the listening area.
Chris Mael, a long-time Mackie employee and live sound veteran, managed front of house as well as setup.
“This was my first time using RADIUS,” he explains. “The flyware is self-explanatory which made flying the arrays easy. And with OptiLogic, the array knows its configuration and is essentially pre-tuned out of the box. Between this and the four pre-defined voicings, we spent almost no time dialing in the system after it was in place.”
The self-powered RADIUS PA consisted of left-right hangs of six RSX208L line array modules reinforced by 12 RSX18 subwoofers stacked six per side. Front fill was managed by two RSX89 loudspeakers. The three-way RSX208L is loaded with two 8-inch cones (LF and LF/MF) with high frequencies handled by two 1-inch compression drivers. Each module provides up to 125 dB whole space SPL ensuring more than enough bandwidth to handle any performance type. The RSX18 delivered driving low end compliments of an 18-inch cone (3-inch voice coil) loaded in a vented enclosure. Internal Class D amplification with integral DSP limiting supplies the stage with rock-solid reliability.
Mael mixed on the AXIS digital mixing system, which was designed for modern small- to mid-sized production companies. Because time and reliability are of the essence when on a gig, Mackie concentrated on creating a product that delivers an incredibly fast workflow through visual feedback and customization to help reduce setup time, allowing engineers to dial in their mix quickly and easily.
“A lot of engineers walk into a festival apprehensive about the console they have to use,” Mael adds. “With the Mackie AXIS, you get an extremely intuitive layout that just makes sense to engineers of any caliber. With so many screens and the ability to label everything, you get the visual feedback right where you need it. It really speeds up your workflow, which is great for a fast-paced festival.”
The modular AXIS system combines the power of the 32-channel DL32R rackmount digital mixer and DC16 control surface to deliver a live sound solution with the efficiency fast-paced festival stages demand. Thirty-two remote-controllable Onyx+ mic preamps and 18 outputs with built-in DSP can handle the most rigorous schedules. With both AXIS and RADIUS on the Dante network, setup time can be further minimized.
Mael notes that one of the compliments received about AXIS was the intuitive hardware interface and the convenience of working from a tablet anywhere in the venue. The front of house setup included three iPads on the DC16’s SmartBridge, which delivers control over multiple channels and smart sensing that knows when an iPad is in place. It also provides customization over each iPad view that allows for tremendous workflow flexibility. Mael opted to have EQ and compression for a specific channel on one, and a master view showing all ins and outs at once on another, leaving the third iPad for visitor use.
“This year everyone noticed the sound quality—which was pretty incredible,” concludes Mike Stewart, executive director of Ballard SeafoodFest. “For Mackie and EAW to come in and produce such a high quality event in a close urban environment was fantastic and so appreciated. I look forward to next year.”