Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR) has been providing gear and production services in major cities around the US for decades. Another facet of its business in cities like New York and Nashville has been rehearsal studio rentals.
This past fall, SIR Nashville overhauled and upgraded its rehearsal rooms with the help of Powersoft amplification.
SIR co-founding partner Michael Johnson says that while SIR has been using Powersoft amplifiers for event sound for years, this is the first time they have utilized Powersoft in its own rehearsal rooms.
“We wanted to create an environment that was closer to a touring rig in terms of sound quality,” he says. “That meant better monitors, digital boards, and high quality amplification.”
SIR production coordinator John Whitehead was instrumental in bringing together the rehearsal room upgrade. which entailed replacing not only the aging power amplifiers but also the mixing boards and monitor wedges.
“We had already decided on the EAW MW15 monitor wedges, and Paul Hugo from Marshank Group recommended the Powersoft X series to drive them,” Whitehead says. “We saw the specs on the Powersoft X8 and couldn’t believe we were looking at a 2-rack-space amp that’s got 8 channels delivering 1600 watts into 8 ohms.” Whitehead arranged a demo of the X series with Hugo. “We tested it with the EAW wedges and loved the way it sounded,” he says.
With each of SIR Nashville’s 5 rehearsal rooms outfitted with between 5 and 7 of the MW15 monitor wedges, Whitehead and his team decided to purchase one X8 amplifier for each room, plus a 6th unit as a backup. They also upgraded the power provided to each amp to 3-phase 220v to make sure they were operating at optimal power and efficiency. Whitehead says the Powersoft amps and EAW monitors have worked together to improve the sound considerably.
“The wedges get plenty of power from the X8 and that really allows them to open up,” he says. “The clarity is amazing. Every client has said this is a huge upgrade.” The system was rounded out with Midas digital mixing boards in each room.
SIR Nashville’s rehearsal rooms play host to a wide range of musicians, from local up-and-comers to nationally recognizable names. “We’ve got everybody from people who are just learning how to play on stage up to Lynda Carter, The Kills, Flogging Molly, Tim McGraw and others,” Whitehead says.
For Whitehead and Johnson, the upgrade was a chance to elevate the rehearsal experience for artists at both ends of the spectrum. “We wanted to do something that would blow the artists’ minds when they come in to rehearse,” Johnson says. “Having Powersoft in our studios really helps set us apart from other rehearsal studios.” The setup also allows touring artists to familiarize themselves with a mid-sized touring-grade monitoring rig before hitting the road.
Johnson and Whitehead say Powersoft is a great choice for SIR Nashville not only because of its audio but also its reliability and small footprint.
“It’s the most power available for its size, so we can save as much room as possible for bands and their gear,” Whitehead says. The amplifiers have been workhorses, operating seamlessly amidst daily use. “The amps are running every day, 6-8 hours a day with a load on them,” says Johnson. “We haven’t had a single problem so far. They stay nice and cool and sound great.” Johnson admits that it would not be difficult to convince him to turn to Powersoft again for upgrading one of their other rehearsal facilities. “The sound, the performance, the form factor; Powersoft gear really speaks for itself,” he says.