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39th Annual American Music Awards Include HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC Line Arrays

ATK Audiotek used JBL VERTEC mains inside the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 20, 2011.

The 39th annual American Music Awards broadcast featured a star-studded lineup of artists, nominees and presenters including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Enrique Iglesias,, David Hasselhoff, Christina Aguilera, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and a host of others. Held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 20, the American Music Awards (AMA) featured more than a dozen live performances, all heard through a sound reinforcement system comprised of HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC line arrays.

ATK Audiotek of Valencia, Calif., has worked on countless television productions, special events, conventions, installations and concert tours. For the AMA broadcast, ATK Audiotek brought in an audio system that included 70 VERTEC VT4889 full-size line array loudspeakers, 15 VT4887 compact line array loudspeakers and five VRX932LA Constant Curvature loudspeakers. In addition, more than a dozen JBL VT4880A full-size arrayable subwoofers that were already installed in the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live were employed for the live broadcast.

“With any live TV awards show, there are a number of specific considerations to deal with and the American Music Awards broadcast was no exception,” says Mikael Stewart, VP of Special Events at ATK Audiotek. “A primary concern was that we had to make sure the house sound was loud enough, but also make sure that we didn’t intrude on the audio for the broadcast and overwhelm it with ambient noise.

“In order to accomplish this, we went with JBL VERTEC mains and subwoofers,” Stewart continues. “The VERTEC speakers give us more control over directionality, with fewer reflections off the theater’s walls and better accuracy in being able to cover all the seats. VERTEC’s focused coverage patterns are also an advantage in such a large venue, where reverberation and ambient noise can be a problem if you excite the room too much and don’t keep these factors under control.”

ATK Audiotek arranged the VT4889 speakers in eight clusters–four main arrays of nine, 10, 10, and nine speakers each, and four delay clusters of seven, nine, nine and seven each. In addition, ATK Audiotek placed five VRX932LAs under the balcony for additional coverage. It used the VT4880A subwoofers that were already installed throughout the theater to support the low end.

“Another very big advantage is that JBL VERTEC speakers are an industry standard and their performance capabilities are well known,” Stewart adds. “When we do these types of music awards shows, we can have something like 12 to 18 different artists and bands, and they all have their own sound engineers. It’s a big advantage for them to know the characteristics of the speakers that they are working with.

“The Nokia is a very large and versatile ‘black box’ kind of theater,” Stewart concludes, “and you can rig speakers just about anywhere in the room. There were no balcony hangs to contend with and it gave us more placement freedom than we’ve had in other theaters. Also, JBL VERTEC line arrays are lighter than most P.A. speakers, which adds to their rigging flexibility and the ability to place them at almost any angle.”

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