Steve Miller's longtime System Engineer, Tom Martinez, and FOH Engineer, Scott Boorey, recently had the chance to put VUE Audiotechnik's new al-8 Line Array System through the paces at Miller's tour stop in Newport News, Virginia. The VUE line array was used in place of the house system at the Ferguson Center for the Arts Concert Hall on the campus of Newport University.
Constructed in 2005, the 1,725-seat venue is a popular stop for national and international concert tours and theatrical productions.
System Engineer Tom Martinez and the VUE al-8 line array
"Steve has an extremely loyal following, so we're accustomed to the bigger line arrays deployed in the larger venues where he typically performs," Martinez says. "When I heard we'd have a chance to try the VUE system, I was initially concerned that an 8-inch box wouldn't provide enough output, or the warmth in the low midrange that Steve likes.
"I made some calls and discovered that Mike Adams designs for VUE, and that Ken Berger is also involved in the company," Martinez continues. "I respect both of these guys immensely so I decided to forge ahead and see what the al-8 was made of."
Dual al-8 arrays of 10 elements each were configured for 140-foot throw, 26-foot trim, two balconies up to 45 feet deep, and 90 degrees of vertical coverage. A pair of VUE h-15w powered two-way systems were used for additional coverage under each array. Five VUE V6 Systems Engines provided all the power and processing for the arrays.
"The VUE al-8 absolutely surpassed my expectations," Martinez says. "Steve likes a very warm guitar tone, and smooth mid frequencies. Most smaller line arrays sound harsh or inconsistent in those areas. The al-8 had all the warmth of a much larger line array and was extremely consistent."
Two hangs of 10 VUE Audiotechnik al-8 elements each, with four hs-28 subwoofers at stage-left and stage-right.
Rounding out the system in Virginia was a Midas Heritage 3000 console at FOH, and artist-owned in-ear monitors.
"We typically travel with our own FOH and monitor systems to ensure consistency," Martinez explains. "Essentially we match each speaker system to our mix as opposed to making big console adjustments."
Low frequencies came courtesy of four VUE hs-28 subwoofers. The compact dimensions of the hs-28 subs allowed for on-stage placement, which left additional space for VIP seating in front.
"The subs are a very nice complement to the al-8 array," added FOH Engineer and Miller's longtime manager, Scott Boorey. "They provided great warmth and exceptional low-end punch. They're really impressive for their size.
"For such a new company it's clear that VUE is off to a great start," Boorey adds. "This is a really capable line array with some very compelling technology inside. VUE has definitely got my attention."
Find upcoming tour dates for the Steve Miller Band at www.stevemillerband.com/tour.html.