ZZ Top performs at the 2008 Buffalo Chip Music Festival in Sturgis, S.D.
Sure Sound & Lighting showcased the all-new Renkus-Heinz VerSys VLX3 line arrays for the main stage area of the Buffalo Chip Music Festival, which is held annually at South Dakota’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The line arrays were powered by Lab.Gruppen PLM 10000Q amplifiers with built-in Dolby Lake processing.
The rally poses unique challenges for a sound company. “As well as thunderous applause,” notes Steve Cross, Kid Rock’s front-of-house engineer, “the bikers will rev their engines in appreciation.”
“The VLX3 arrays fly very easily and, with external amps, the load-in was a lot easier,” says Sure Sound’s lead system engineer, Grant Stramel. “Last year, we used the self-powered Renkus-Heinz STLA/9 line array, but with the type of weather we get here in Sturgis, when it rains it’s a major advantage to simply throw a tarpaulin over a rack of amps than climb the array and cover the [integrated] amplifiers.”
Comments from visiting sound engineers during the Buffalo Chip’s Sturgis Rally were enthusiastic. “The high-end from the VLX3 line array was very accurate,” says Greg Price, who mixed FOH for ZZ Top. “And I never ran out of headroom.”
”I was extremely happy with the new Renkus-Heinz VLX3 systems, which offered outstanding vocal clarity,” comments Randy Meullier, who handled FOH for Alice Cooper. “Our audience know Alice’s lyrics very well; we had no trouble putting the vocals where we wanted them!”
Renkus-Heinz national sales manager David Rahn with VLX3 cabinets
“Being an old-school guitar band, Foghat needs a lot of mid-range presence to relay that sound of wide-open Marshalls,” says Carl Devino, was mixed FOH for the band. “I’ve always been a big fan of Renkus-Heinz’ horns; they are accurate and very smooth sounding. We had a hectic day [at Sturgis] with little time to set up the system. The P.A. rig was real smooth, even with no adjustments. We were very happy with the experience.”
A total of 24 VLX3 cabinets were arrayed 12 left and 12 right of the stage, with four self-powered STLA/9 cabinets per side for left and left outfills, three PN102 cabinets for front-fills and two PN102s to cover a special VIP area.
“The new VLX3 is a logical evolution of the STXLA/9, designed specifically for the touring market,” offers Renkus-Heinz’ national sales manager, David Rahn. “VLX3 is acoustically the same as the STXLA/9, but now features an updated compression driver with a titanium-nitrite diaphragm; the pair of 12-inch drivers now feature neodymium rather than ceramic magnets for lighter weight and easier transport.” The three-way VLX3 cabinets also feature Renkus-Heinz’ co-entrant technology for the middle/high components.