From left: Paul Bauman, JBL; Bryan Olson and Mark Dittmar, Firehouse Productions; and Brian Divine, Crown Audio.
In a star-studded evening showcasing some of the most accomplished artists in rock ‘n’ roll history, Firehouse Productions based in Red Hook, N.Y. provided a VerTec line array system with Crown I-Tech HD power amplification for live sound reinforcement at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 4. This year’s event took place in Cleveland’s Public Auditorium and commemorated the inductions of artists such as Jeff Beck, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Bobby Womack, Run DMC and Metallica.
The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony was broadcast live on the Fuse network. In addition to performances by several of the inductees, the event included high-profile rock industry presenters like Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Flea and Smokey Robinson. With top-tier mixing engineers on hand such as Tony Blanc, Dan Gerhard, “Big Mick” Hughes (Metallica) and Greg Bess (Jeff Beck), the Firehouse audio team needed to provide a system capable of delivering high-fidelity audio with predictable coverage characteristics and maximum output power capabilities, without compromise.
For the event, Firehouse deployed a P.A. system that comprised 16 VerTec VT4889 large-format line array elements and 12 VT4880A ultra long excursion arrayable subwoofers per side, with five additional VT4889’s comprising a center cluster. Firehouse set up an additional eight VT4887 compact line array elements per side for off-stage coverage, four VT4887’s for frontfill, and four floor-located VT4880 subwoofers. Firehouse’s new Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers powered the system, which also relied on Crown and JBL’s new V4 DSP presets, developed specifically to take advantage of Crown’s new LevelMAX multi-stage limiting in the HD amps.
According to Mark Dittmar of Firehouse Productions, the Public Auditorium posed some rigging challenges. “We had to do a large number of spanner trusses to support the P.A. system and cabling in this venue,” he says. “As with all TV shows, designing a P.A. that will cover the whole room, deliver superb sound quality and not show up in any of the camera shots is a major challenge.”
With this in mind, Dittmar noted that VerTec was an ideal solution for the event. “The light weight of the VerTec line arrays and the ability to tightly wrap the P.A. and aim it down at extreme angles is very useful in designing and installing the system,” he says. “The fact that it sounds great makes its use a no-brainer.”
Firehouse has long relied on VerTec line arrays for a variety of major live sound events. “VerTec has been our speaker of choice for all TV and special events over the past eight years,” Dittmar notes. “It is light and very flexible in its rigging options. The sound quality has always made our clients and engineers very happy. From VH-1 Storytellers with only eight VerTec loudspeakers to Live Earth at Giants Stadium with more than 200, VerTec has been with us the whole way.”
The new Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers feature a new user-inspired DSP engine co-developed with BSS Audio called OMNIDRIVEHD. The new processing engine features Linear Phase FIR filters that offer unrivaled crossover performance for sonically pure tunings.
“This was our first major live sound event utilizing I-Tech HD,” Dittmar adds. “There is a big increase in power output of the amplifiers, and coupled with the new V4 DSP presets we had approximately 6dB more volume than we had before. Ultimately, the I-Tech HD gives us more power and clarity than we thought possible. The new limiters on I-Tech HD are excellent as well. They are far more efficient than anything else we have seen.”
For more information on Firehouse Productions, visit www.firehouseproductions.com or call 845/758-9898. For more on JBL’s VerTec Series, visit JBL’s VerTec Series Web page, and visit Crown Audio at www.crownaudio.com.