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Peavey Flies in AthFest

Peavey’s Versarray was recently brought in for Athens, Ga.’s outdoor AthFest 2006, featuring the city’s homegrown musicians and groups. “The Versarray is the best sound system we have ever had for our festival,” says Jared Bailey, AthFest director. “I was amazed at how clear and clean the performers sounded, and it’s so much more compact and easier to set up than traditional sound systems; that saved us a lot of time and labor.”

Peavey, a major AthFest sponsor almost since its inception, hosted 187 bands at multiple stages and clubs in downtown Athens during the 10th anniversary of AthFest. While plenty of Peavey and Crest Audio sound equipment past and present supported the event across the city, the main Outdoor Stage showcased the new Peavey Versarray system.

Longtime Peavey live audio guru Marty McCann and a staff of Peavey
experts made the annual trip to Athens with the new Versarray, Peavey VSX loudspeaker-management systems, a 48-channel Crest Audio mixing console and Crest Audio Pro 200 power amplifiers. Front-of-house engineer Ric Wallace, a veteran of nearly 30 years, manned the boards for the stable of indie rock, rap and pop performers during the three-day festival.

“The system’s performance was very consistent between so many diverse groups,” says Wallace. “We had acoustic performers mixed in with everything from punk rock to modern pop music, and I didn’t really have to touch the graphs for any corrective EQ’ing. I had plenty of gain before feedback, especially when punching up the mids and low-mids in acoustic instruments.”

The crew flew eight dual-ribbon driver-loaded Versarray 112 enclosures with 90×15-degree (HxV) coverage per side from two lift towers, with two Versarray 218 subwoofers on each side and another four Versarray 218s in the center. Crest Audio Pro 5200 amps provided power to the ribbon drivers on each Versarray 112, while Pro 9200 models handled their 12-inch Neo Black Widow woofers. Additional Pro 9200 amps were applied to each Versarray 218 subwoofer.

“With just 1.5dB SPL difference between the downstage edge and 100
feet away, the Versarray allowed me to achieve very even coverage
throughout the listening area,” comments Wallace. “The Versarray is very smooth and devoid of the problems and harshness associated with high-frequency compression drivers. The true ribbon drivers give the system a very warm, musical sound with really punchy vocals.”

McCann and Wallace aligned and controlled the Versarray system through VSX 26 digital loudspeaker managers. Using the Versarray Project Eight factory preset as the crossover and processing foundation, they slightly altered the delay settings to align the subwoofers and enclosures to the backline. This made the sound system even more transparent by positioning the sound to arrive at the listener’s ears as a coherent reinforcement of the actual sound from the stage.

The four stage-centered 218 subwoofers—each controlled by a VSX 26 and driven through the console’s dedicated aux sends—contained a mix of the kick drum, floor tom, bass guitar and other sources with significant output below 80 Hz. Two Versarray 218 subwoofers per side were employed from 60 Hz to 200 Hz without bass lift to fill and overlap the four aux-driven subs.

“The beauty of employing separate aux-driven subs is that the mix
engineer can emphasize the low end when needed without muddying up the vocals or other instruments,” McCann notes.

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