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Premier Production & Sound Services Provides Sound Reinforcement for Voodoo Experience Festival

The Le Plur/Red Bulletin stage at the Voodoo Experience festival

Premier Production & Sound Services (PSS) of Baton Rouge, La., is one of the region’s biggest sound companies, and on October 25 the company provided Harman’s JBL, Crown, dbx and BSS audio equipment for 14 locations throughout the area. The day gave PSS the chance to put its newly purchased JBL VTX Series line arrays into play at the “Le Plur/Red Bulletin” stage at the Voodoo Experience festival, which featured Skrillex, Die Antwoord, Dave Stewart, Thomas Dolby and other top artists performing for more than 100,000 fans at City Park in New Orleans.

“We recently purchased a number of the new JBL VTX Series V25 full-size line array elements and S28 arrayable subwoofers, and the Voodoo Experience was the perfect proving ground because the Le Plur/Red Bulletin stage was inside a tent, which limited the height that was available to fly the main left and right clusters,” says Brian W. Gordon, co-owner of PSS.

For the main P.A. system at the Le Plur/Red Bulletin stage, PSS hung six V25 elements per side and placed six S28 subs per side on the ground in a cardioid configuration. PSS also used four JBL VerTec VT4886 subcompact line array elements for front fill, 16 JBL SRX712M monitor wedges and three stacks each of two VerTec VT4883 subcompact arrayable subwoofers plus four VT4886 loudspeakers for side fill. The speakers were powered by two racks that each housed 18 Crown IT 12000HD amplifiers, plus six IT 8000 amps for the monitors and three IT 4×3500 HD amps for the side fills. A Soundcraft Vi6 digital console was used for front-of-house mixing.

“This was the second year we provided sound for the Le Plur/Red Bulletin stage and even though we were more limited in the available space where we could deploy the speakers, the system had more horsepower and sounded fantastic, thanks to the VTX line arrays,” Gordon said.

For the Voodoo Le Carnival stage, PSS flew left-right arrays of four JBL VerTec VT4888 midsize line array elements, four VT4886 line array elements and three SRX728S subwoofers on each side. Additional near-field left and right stacks included four VT4887A compact line array elements and three SRX728S subwoofers. Four VT4887A speakers also provided front fill, while PSS also provided 12 SRX712M stage monitors, one STX835 with two VRX918S subwoofers as side fill, and one STX835 with two VT4883 subwoofers as drum fill.

While the Voodoo Experience would qualify as a full weekend of work for any sound company, it was merely the tip of the iceberg for PSS. “We’re a big company and we’re used to doing things on a big scale, but the weekend of the Voodoo Experience was just crazy,” says Russ Bryant, Director of Operations and co-owner of PSS. “In addition to the Voodoo Experience, Harry Connick, Jr. at L’Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge, the Live After Five concert series in Baton Rouge and the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino concert series, we also provided sound for events at Tulane University, the Sheraton Galleria, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, the Roux House, Los Diablos, a private show and inside and outside the Station Sports Bar and Grill. Altogether we took out more than 700 loudspeakers, amplifiers and other pieces of gear—not counting cables!

“We also brought in the VTX line arrays for a very different situation—Harry Connick, Jr. at the L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge,” Bryant says. “For this show we used six V25 mains and three S28 subs per side, along with four VT4886s per side and four more for front fills, all driven by Crown I-Tech HD Series amps. This was a very different situation than the Voodoo festival, a quieter and more intimate indoor setting where clarity and nuance were paramount as opposed to rocking out 100,000 people. Again, the system sounded superb.”

How was PSS able to handle 14 stages and rooms in three days? “We have 20 engineers on staff,” Bryant says. “We pride ourselves in providing systems for any application from a huge festival to an intimate club.”

“Using Harman’s HiQnet System Architect, JBL HiQnet Performance Manager, JBL’s Line Array II Calculator system setup software and the VerTec V5 preset tunings makes it a lot easier and faster to set up our systems and make them sound great in any venue,” Gordon adds. “In fact, we had an unusual situation at the Voodoo Le Carnival stage. The stage had both an inside and an outside area, with 1,000 people between the stage and the set of left and right stacks that were 25 feet from the stage. Because of the unconventional tent construction and location, those stacks were sort of like a hybrid between a front fill, a really powerful main system and a set of delay towers that were only 25 feet from the stage. The fact that all the Harman loudspeakers, amps and software all talked to each other really helped us sort out and optimize this unusual acoustic situation.”

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