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Taking Everything Into Account: Eric Shalem & Reason One Going And Growing As A Production Entity

Reason One owner and president Eric Shalem with one of his company’s K-array Python-KP102 column loudspeaker systems.

Unusual Approach

Reason One has deployed Pinnacle systems in some interesting and innovative ways, notably for a Fourth of July (2019) show where the columns were flown rather than mounted on their built-in bases on top of their companion subwoofers. Shalem: “It’s the first time we’ve done that. It was on a narrow street with shops on either side that were open that day, so we couldn’t block sidewalks and didn’t have a ton of space to work with from a width standpoint. With a larger line array, we’d have lost half of the video wall. So I definitely think we’re going to do that for scenarios like this again.”

Designed by Matt Westman, the company’s technical production specialist, the system was comprised of four Python-KP102 columns and two Thunder-KMT21 subs per side. A 230-foot throw distance was the primary factor that led to flying the KP102s. “The product fit best for the show because we didn’t need a whole lot of SPL and didn’t want sound bleeding off into other areas,” Westman explains. “At the same time, we needed as much throw as we could, without being too high and too loud.

At left, a scene from a 3D rendering of the main stage and coverage area handled by the system; at right, the Python columns and Thunder subs fit the smaller footprint of the Fourth of July event.

“With anything ground stacked,” he continues, “you’re going to run into issues in terms of how far you can throw with people standing in the way or things like that. Our top trim was about 18 feet, which put the bottom trim right around 6 feet, and flying the speakers allowed us to get more even coverage than we could have ground stacking them.”

The operator for the event was audio engineer Jason Brandt, just coming off a tour with Def Leppard. “He was going from that (level of production) to this, and being really excited about the K-array system was pretty cool to see,” Shalem notes.

Reason One also supplied the 16 x 9-foot LED wall, the 20 x 20-foot truss structure, and all lighting elements for the show, while the band brought its own stage monitoring rig, so the only other requirement was a suitable console at front of house. As they often do for similar-size productions, Shalem and Westman deployed one of the company’s recently purchased Allen & Heath SQ-5 48-channel desks.

“Part of what we try to do is to be efficient, not only in time but space,” Shalem says. “We did a lot of research to determine what was to be our main corporate console and the SQ-5 covered quite a bit more than most others in its range. We really liked the capabilities and we’re familiar with Allen &Heath products. So the decision to go with the SQ-5 came down to a cost-to-feature comparison.”

Moving Ahead

While Reason One will supply whatever gear a client requests, when adding to its inventory, how the technology fits the company’s overall vision is a primary driver in the decision making. This was the case with the Pinnacle and Python kit. “My goal was always to find something that looked and fit best, and sounded great,” Shalem explains. “We didn’t want to sacrifice sound quality, but we did want to appeal to corporate clients.”

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Often, he continues, a client’s unique needs and aesthetic requirements preclude using large-scale audio infrastructure. “We can hide the K-array columns anywhere, and even when you can see them – which you rarely can, especially against a black background – they look great.”

Also recently, the Python columns were mounted in the Founder’s Room at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles – a space with one entire wall of glass overlooking the playing field. “We were able to use the KP102s and not affect that view, even remotely, yet still get the coverage and SPL we needed, which was very cool,” Shalem says. “Also that whole glass wall actually opens like an accordion, and we had it open. They were actually mowing the field (during the event) and one of the concerns was whether we’d have enough SPL to cover that.” Beyond that, he adds, “The whole room is concrete – really sleek and very reflective. We actually had the sound booth between some pillars that you couldn’t hear anything between, 10 feet back from where the audience was. So it was definitely a challenging room.”

Looking forward, Shalem’s goal is for Reason One to be increasingly flexible for events of all scale. “One thing I’ve always said since we started is that we don’t want to be a big production house pushing out vast amounts of gear,” he concludes. “As we grow we want to remain agile and innovative. Our goal is to support our clients just as much in a creative way as in a technical way. So, from an inventory growth standpoint, it’s about having equipment that’s versatile and can be used in more diverse applications.”

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