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Eclectic Kensington Presents Series Goes PPA

By Steve Harvey. Kensington Presents has been promoting pop-up music shows at a variety of non-traditional Los Angeles area venues for years, relying on powered portable P.A.s to cover intimate crowds.

Los Angeles, CA—Kensington Presents has been promoting pop-up music shows at a variety of non-traditional Los Angeles area venues for some years now, hosting events at locations ranging from The Viaduct, a space managed by the California State Parks Department below a downtown road bridge, to the York Manor, a renovated historical landmark in the eclectic Highland Park neighborhood. To accommodate the intimate crowds at the series’ frequently changing locations, the promoter has long relied on powered portable P.A.s. This year the team is using a Bose F1 Model 812 Flexible Array loudspeaker system.

Kensington Presents began as a series of free potlucks with live music on the porch of a Victorian house in L.A.’s Angelino Heights in 2013. In addition to family-friendly concerts intended to build community, the collective also promotes larger shows by the likes of the Crystal Method, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Gavin Turek.

At an April Kensington Presents show at the York Manor headlined by Sean Watkins & Friends, the audience ranged from young hipsters in tight jeans and scuffed boots to retirement-age folk in dungarees and trucker hats, many of whom appeared to be locals. That night’s bill, co-promoted by the Bluegrass Situation, also included Austin, Texas-based Matt the Electrician and local band Motor Sales.

Innovations: Packing Power into a Portable P.A.—Bose F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker System, by Paul Fidlin, Oct. 13, 2015

Kensington Presents called on engineer Raul A. Recendez to run the house sound. This was Recendez’s first time at the 220-capacity York Manor, he says, but not with the Bose F1 system.

Recendez was associated for three years with Swing House, a recording and rehearsal facility and equipment rental house in east L.A., and has been freelance for the past 18 months. He works regularly at the Lodge Room in Highland Park and the Peppermint Club in West Hollywood, and additionally works for independent wireless audio specialist Telesonix, which is owned by Andrew Curtis (FOH and monitor engineer for artists including Moby, Seal, OK Go and Kesha).

At Swing House, says Recendez, “We had a pair of F1s and used to take them out for intimate gigs or small corporate events. I think they’re great, especially for the intimate venue settings. You get a full range line array with those F1s.”

Bose F1 loudspeakers offer variable vertical coverage; the cabinet incorporates a mini array that is quite literally flexible. Depending on the configuration of the room or seating, the eight segments of the upper mid/high array can be physically positioned within the cabinet in one of four patterns: straight, J, reverse J or C. A custom waveguide ensures 100 degrees of horizontal coverage regardless of the array configuration. The system’s equalization automatically changes according to the selected pattern to maintain tonal balance.

At the Kensington Presents show, the Model 812 mid/high boxes were paired with the optional 2 x 12-inch F1 Subwoofer cabinets, which include an integrated stand to raise and support the array. Each F1 Model 812 and Subwoofer incorporates a 1,000W amplifier.

Review: Bose Professional F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker System, by Strother Bullins, Jan. 13, 2016

As Recendez explains, if the venue includes a raised rear audience area, such as stairs, the operator can push in the top section of the array to create a reverse J. In an auditorium with a continuously raked audience area, the operator can push in the top and bottom sections of the array to create a C.

Recendez mixed the show on an iPad, driving a compact Midas X32 digital mixer backstage. “Having an iPad really helps an engineer. You can walk around and listen to how it sounds from where people are sitting or standing and dial it in the way it should sound.”

A complement of microphones was available at the venue, he reports. “We were using Sennheiser 904s for the vocals, and guitars were the standard Shure 57s.”

But the drum kit for opening act Motor Sales, who returned to guest with Sean Watkins later in the evening, was far from standard. “The guy performing had his own rig that he made up,” says Recendez. “The only real percussion was the snare drum. His kick drum was some sort of African hand drum that he’s converted; it was maybe 15 or 16 inches [in diameter]. And his hi-hats were coconuts. But it sounded great for what he was doing, so I had no complaints.”

He miked the kick with an Audix D6, noting later, “He had three cymbals—they were pretty worn out, but the way he stacked them made it sound like an SPD [Roland drum pad] clap. That was very interesting.”

To capture an image of the entire kit, he says, Recendez used a single Blue Hummingbird condenser mic overhead. “I’ve never used it before, but it’s probably my favorite overhead condenser now.”

Bose Professional •

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