The Gorge Amphitheatre is among the most spectacular outdoor venues in the United States. Ford Audio (Burbank, Wa.) is on-hand to make sure things sound as impressive as the surrounding scenery looks.
At a recent concert featuring ’80s rockers Styx, REO Speedwagon and Foreigner, Ford’s XLC rig was combined with additional XLC and XLD boxes rented from Horne Audio (Portland, Ore.) for use as the main P.A. Ford tried an experimental configuration that incorporated four XLD281 boxes (from E-V’s new X-Line very compact line) at the bottom of each 12-box XLC line array.
Says Ford, “The idea was to use the XLDs as near-field fills with a little more down angle and more drivers in the same amount of space to help maintain a more even frequency response throughout the entire array. Horne Audio successfully beta-tested this configuration throughout the summer, and we were eager to give it a try.”
“The top of the hill that encloses the amphitheatre is nearly 500 feet away. The XLC delays pick up at 255 feet, carrying from 120 Hz on up. Using the XLDs was really an advantage because it freed up eight of the 12 XLCs per side to throw-long range.
“The other four XLC boxes in each array could be used to cover the mid-field more effectively. This is a broad, asymmetrical venue, and in addition to the house delays, we usually fly side arrays of five XLCs to cover the audience areas adjacent to the stage. Most of the tours that come to the Gorge need these side hangs to augment their touring rig. For this show, the wide dispersion of the XLC and XLD combination made a stage-right side array unnecessary. There was no sacrifice in SPL, coverage nor intelligibility, and the whole P.A.— 32 subs and 38 mid/high boxes—packed into the back of two 24-foot rental trucks. This really was a case of less is more, and we look forward to working with this configuration again.”