Riverfront Park was the location of the 21st Salem (Oregon) World Beat Festival where visitors were able to experience the music, dance, food, and traditions of over 70 nations. Ten stages showcased everything from West African culture and dance workshops to Native American powwow and Irish dancers. On the main stage, attendees were treated to headlining performances by artists such as Radio Jarocho and Edna Vazquez culminating with the famous Pyrite fire performances after sunset.
“The Salem World Beat Festival has been an Alpha Sound favorite for over two decades,” states Devin Sheets, head engineer. “Given the eclectic and creative nature of so many of the artists and their global instruments, Alpha has experimented with new and unique amplification techniques which immerse the listener in a powerful sense of space and depth of sound.”
Sheets says the NEXO STM system was chosen primarily for purity of sound and the incredible headroom and clarity in the 25-50Hz low frequency range. “The cardioid subwoofer configuration allows for adequate gain in these lower ranges from instruments that are not always designed for integration with modern amplification systems. And, without a center placement option, a decision was made to consolidate the subwoofers to the house right side to produce a very consistent coverage pattern throughout the venue, avoiding stereo comb filtering.”
The main stage system consisted of 12 STM M46 line array boxes (6 per side), 12 S118 subwoofers (cardioid – 6 front, 6 rear), 2 PS15R2 speakers for extended L/R, 4 PS10 surround L/R speakers (2 per channel), and 5 NX4x4 amplifiers to power the system. Yamaha Rio-3208 and Rio-1608 input/output boxes accompanied the Yamaha CL5 at front of house.
“The Yamaha CL5 console with Rio preamps further ensured the purity of sound while many processing effects were being used simultaneously, including a special low frequency trick that is used for Taiko drum performances,” says Sheets. “The default channel compressors are particularly clean and accurate for percussive transients, especially when being stressed with low attack and release times. Also, the ability to simply recall a flattened festival scene to begin each new musical group’s soundcheck throughout the day is very useful.”
Sheets adds that the client “especially enjoyed the positive reactions from the performers who know that the sound is amazing each year, and that this has, in large part, contributed to the continuing growth of the event.”