Local Crew: IntellasoundMID-SIZED COMPANY FINDS NICHE IN MADISON AREA 9/01/2007 8:00 AM Eastern
It never fails: The summer months prove to be an adventure in phone-tag when trying to speak with the owner of a local SR company for this column. The bigger tours are coming through their towns, county fairs and festivals are cropping up left and right, and, during these warmer months, people are going outside to hear their favorite artists. The day I spoke with Tim Woodworth, co-owner of Intellasound (Verona, Wisc.; www.intellasound.com), he was prepping a system for that coming weekend's Crossroads Festival in Chicago, where the company will handle sound, lighting, staging and backline for the second stage. The following week, Intellasound will handle one of its biggest clients: radio station WJJO's event, which is similar to the WKRQ Weenie Roast.
“They have 15, 20 bands in one day, 25,000 kids show up,” Woodworth explains. “It's a whole lot of loud music and then everyone goes away! We do two stages: The one stage is pretty big — 90×50 — and we hang a line array on it and do several consoles, and then the B stage we bring in our Stageline SL250 stage.” For this event, Intellasound will bring out its new Electro-Voice XLC DVX line array. “We had the XLCs and then they came out with an upgrade after we bought it, which includes a larger low-mid and a larger high-mid frequency,” Woodworth explains. “So we went ahead and did the upgrade. We felt that to stay on top of the curve, we need to keep up with everything.
“We have all of the new E-V TG7 amps, which have IRISNet integrated into it so you can control everything from your laptop — you can see what your ohm load is at the amp to know if you lost a speaker at the end of the night in your array without having to fly it in and listen to each speaker. And then we have — well, a little bit of everything!” Indeed, Intellasound stocks a large selection of rider-friendly gear, including Midas and Soundcraft consoles, as well as a new Yamaha M7CL digital board, “which we're really happy with,” Woodworth says. “We get a lot of engineers coming through who haven't been on a digital console and they can get the 10-minute digital one-on-one speech and be okay.”
Also being packed into the truck to make an upcoming move into a larger warehouse space are several Turbosound Floodlight and TFM300 units, and a fine complement of regularly requested mics (AKG, Shure, Sennheiser and Neumann) and outboard (Lexicon, Yamaha, TC Electronic, Drawmer, BSS Audio, XTA). When it comes to responding to rider requests and anticipating upcoming equipment needs, Woodworth can draw upon his previous engineering skills to make profitable decisions.
He had been working in the area for other local providers for 10 years, as well as with a country band in town. “The drummer [co-owner David Maier] and I thought we could create a better wheel and so we started Intellasound 10 years ago,” Woodworth recalls. “Since I had been working in the area for 10 years previously, I had a lot of contacts and then with Dave, the country band he was playing drums for was very successful in the area, so he had a lot of the festival connections.
“Most of our bread-and-butter is concerts of all scales — anywhere from 1,000-seaters up to 25,000 people outside.” But the company's main gig is with the city itself and more directly, the University of Madison, Wisconsin. “Plus, Madison supports the arts, so we stay pretty busy,” he adds. “Last year was the busiest I've ever been in my career in the months of December, January and February. We do stay busy with theaters; it's usually music-related — concerts of some sort here in town or within the tri-state area.
“The toughest thing is your people skills more than your engineering skills. You have to be able to decipher what certain requests actually mean. When they say they don't want it to sound ‘woofy,’ you have to say ‘Okay, what does woofy mean? Let me go find my woofy knob and turn that down.’ [Laughs] Madison's not a huge city and the campus is a big campus, but even with that there's only so much work in Madison. [The city] needs somebody that can serve on four, five different theater shows in one night. I feel that's what we're providing.”
Sarah Benzuly is the group managing editor for Mix, Electronic Musician and Remix magazines.