Last week I had the opportunity to work on some really great gigs and implement different system designs for each of them.
The most crucial part of work as a System Engineer is to design the system properly. If the system isn’t designed properly, then no amount of processing will ever suffice!
While doing Systems there’s no “ONE SOLUTION FITS ALL” and hence one needs to asses one gig at a time and design according to the requirements, taking into consideration multiple factors. Venue dimensions, venue surroundings, stage dimensions, stage height, programme content, and at times the artist preferences, are some of the factors to be considered.
Asthetics is another factor that too matters a lot. We tend to get carried away while designing the system, only for best audio quality and not considering asthetics at all. We definitely do not want the artists to be covered by our stack of subwoofers or Center Fills, leaving all the front row seats (one’s who have paid the most) looking at that beautiful logo on our Subwoofers.
Anyway’s coming back to the point, here i’m sharing a few different subwoofer setups I implemented in the past week, which is just one aspect of the entire spectrum of work as a System Engineer.
Before I dive into it, a big Thanks to J Live, Ahmedabad for believing in me and having an open mind. I find myself fortunate enough to be associated with J Live, a company which gives great importance to Systems and emphasises on perfectly executing every single gig. J Live, Ahmedabad is a proud owner of the beautiful L – Acoustics K2 Rig and a superb arsenal of back line gear!
Gig Setup no : 1 – Center Stack of Subwoofers.
This is a setup of subwoofers I use to have maximum power. The FOH just sounds killer, with gradual decrease as we move to the sides, without any drastic cancellation zones. However, at the same time, the amount of low end on the stage is insane. A go to setup, when the artist is someone who likes that low end on stage.
Gig Setup 2 : Spaced Single Subwoofer Array.
In wider venues with wide stage I prefer to carefully space the subs, so that they cover the entire width of the venue, without major cancellation zones.
Gig Setup 3 : Spaced Stacked Subwoofer Array.
Here, the stage had an height of 6 feet, plus there was a center ramp, and the venue was way deeper than it was wide. The ramp ruled out the center stack, and having a high stage allowed me to stack 2 subwoofers helping them to travel the distance. And then spacing these stacks, helped cover the width, again leading to as uniform coverage as possible. The artist at this particular gig wasn’t a fan of low end on stage, and having a 16ft ramp provided me with the distance, leading to a much quiter stage.
Gig Setup 4 : Subwoofer Array.
Here this was a really small venue, with a stage height of just 3 feet, so decided to go with a subwoofer array, seperated by stairs in the center, creating a space of 4 feet in between, which is completely within the acceptable spacing. Had nice coverage at this particular gig too!
Gig Setup 5 : LR Subwoofers.
This is the type of setup I personally avoid the most, as it causes lots of cancellation. However, for this one I had a JBL Vertec series, and it was my first time with this system, to add to it, the system was already rigged and subwoofers already placed according to the vendors in a somewhat LR Setup. There’s one thing I really try to take care of! To not make the riggers/labour work twice for the same thing, as they already do a lot of physical labour. So, I just modified their already placed setup so that its more acceptable. With the quantity of subs at hand, the cancellation zones fell out of the most important crowd zones and so was an acceptable situation.
Gig Setup 6 : My Fav : Spaced Subwoofer Array.
On this particular occasion I was working with another great Vendor : Dwarika Light and Sound, Pune who owns an amazing d&b rig. This venue was an open area within a Shopping Mall, so it was all surrounded by showrooms full of glass and I wanted to avoid that zone as much as possible. So,went with a spaced array with absolutely no arcing on the subs. The tonal quality was very well maintained thoughout the entire venue.
Systems is something that has always attracted me and the best part is having to deal with every situation with a fresh approach. There’s something new I learn in every gig I do and I love to share such things and so here it is!
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