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Live Sound

Bassnectar Brings It at Bass Center XI

Bassnectar goes deep with PK Sound for top EDM event

Hampton, VA (December 5, 2018)— DJ and record producer Lorin Ashto—AKA Bassnectar—holds numerous events throughout the year, but the premium pick is always his trademark Bass Center, attracting fans from far and wide to wherever its held. This year’s event—Bass Center XI: Return to the Mothership—saw him performing multiple shows with Noisa, Barclay Crenshaw, Stylust, Hatcha, Ill-esha and Ana Si inside Hampton Coliseum in Virginia.

Given the event’s name, you might guess that low end would be considered a crucial element of the festivities—and you’d be right. With that in mind, Kyle Pace, Bassnectar’s FOH engineer, and Arlen Cormack, senior vice president of touring and production at loudspeaker manufacturer PK Sound and system designer for the event, worked to ensure the crowd was duly buzzed by the bass. “Bassnectar is very adamant about wanting every single person at his events to feel like they have a speaker directly in front of them,” Pace explained. “So that’s what we tried to accomplish.”

Cormack and Pace started with 16 Trinity Advanced Robotic Line Array boxes per side for the main hangs, which were set to a full 270-degree pattern, with the sound field in the top three boxes narrowed for longer throw to help the mids and highs reach the top bleachers. In addition, they included outfills of six Trinity boxes per side to cover the space directly right and left of the stage, with the sound field carved toward the audience to avoid unwanted reflections.

Evaluating the room before the event, both Cormack and Pace noticed bass traps in the furthest bleachers. “We spent about 16 hours making adjustments and going through frequency ranges, just seeing how they travel through the venue,” Pace said, “and we were getting a lot of 2 kHz dropping off at 200 feet out, which can make the sound muddy, because you can’t hear the highs.” To solve the problem, they flew 32 VX10 Compact Line Array boxes across five house delay hangs in an arc around the bowl to provide the intended mid- to high-frequency sparkle for every seat in the house.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cormack and Pace didn’t hold back when it came to subs. Building upon a foundation of 32 CX800 High Power Subwoofers on the ground, Cormack brought in an additional 12 Gravity 30 High Power Subwoofers, which they also deployed on the ground, splitting them up to fill in the bleachers on the far right and left sides of the stage.

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Finally, Cormack and Pace also decided to fly six CX800s per side behind the main hangs, which they time-aligned with the Gravity 30s for a uniform arc wall throughout the arena. “Fans reached out to let us know how great it sounded,” said Pace, “And we couldn’t have done that without PK Sound’s speakers. What we did in Hampton this year would have smoked any other system out there.”

PK Sound •