Miramar, San Diego, CA â€“ October 2008â€¦ Widely recognized as the most famous air show in the country, the 2008 MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar Air Show took place this past October 3 â€“ 5, 2008 in the northern section of San Diego. Through its affiliation with the United States Navy’s Navy Flight Demonstration Squadronâ€”more commonly known as the Blue Angelsâ€”along with the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) program, known as TOPGUN, the Miramar Air Show is an incredibly impressive showing of the high level of precision Navy pilots and their planes are capable of. With seven hundred thousand spectators in attendance, the sound reinforcement system selected for this event consisted entirely of products drawn from the Carvin pro sound catalog.
Prescott, AZ-based Dondi Sound, a live sound reinforcement company that operates in the special events arena and also serves as a design/build firm for the installed sound market, was contracted to provide sound for the air show. Don Weiss, who owns Dondi Sound as well as sister company Dondi Music Recording Studios, was tasked with providing coverage across a 4,200 foot spectator area known as the flight line. As if this wasnâ€™t challenging enough, Weiss also had to provide additional coverage to an area where the jets were on display.
For the flight line area, Weiss deployed forty-four Carvin LM15A self-powered loudspeakers featuring 15-inch neodymium low frequency woofers coupled with a 1.5-inch neodymium high frequency driver and an asymmetrical wide dispersion horn. â€œThe LM15A was perfect for this application,â€? explained Weiss, â€œas it has excellent sound quality and terrific throw capability. Further, it was extremely important that these loudspeakers not be visually distracting. On that note, the LM15A is a compact, good looking enclosure and the fact they were on stands helped minimize any obstruction to the line of sight. Being self powered with integrated mixers, these loudspeakers carried the added benefit of being individually adjustable, so I was able to tweak individual cabinet levels as needed. Had I been driving a string of cabinets via power amps, I wouldnâ€™t have had that flexibility.â€?
To provide additional support to select areas of the bleachers, Weiss also placed a combination of four Carvin TRx153 enclosures and four Carvin TRx218 subwoofers. The TRx153 is a 3-way loudspeaker system incorporating a 15-inch woofer, an 8-inch midrange driver, and a titanium 1-inch exit HF (high frequency) driver. The TRx218 subwoofer employs dual 18-inch transducers in a bass reflex enclosure. â€œWe placed the TRx153 horizontally on top of the sub,â€? notes Weiss. â€œSince the 153 is a trapezoidal-shaped enclosure, the wedge-shaped design projected up into the stands really well, which is exactly what we wanted.â€?
In addition to the TRx153 enclosures in the bleachers, eight additional cabinets were placed in the static display area where guests could get a first-hand, up close look at the jets. â€œAll of the TRx enclosures were powered by Carvin DCM2000 power amplifiers,â€? said Weiss. â€œWe used four amps on the TRx153/218 combinations plus another four for the TRx153â€™s in the display area. These amps performed exceptionally well. At one point, we got rained on and through it all; the amps didnâ€™t so much as hiccup.â€?
Weiss mixed the show using a Carvin S/L24 mixing console. â€œWe had almost all 24 channels in use,â€? Weiss said. â€œThere were five different announcers, numerous feeds between ground control and the pilots so that spectators could listen to the pilots as they ran through their maneuvers, plus several feeds for music playback. We ran the left and right mains in a dual mono configuration, so each output was feeding 2,100 feet of the flight line.â€?
Weiss, who takes pride in his 16+ year relationship with Carvin Corporation, commented on Carvin product quality. â€œIâ€™ve had a great experience with my Carvin gear,â€? says Weiss. â€œThe sound quality is excellent and the build quality is equally impressive. In past air shows, Iâ€™ve had loudspeakers knocked over by the sheer force of the wind output from the jets and helicopters. In all cases, I simply re-positioned the loudspeaker and it worked as if nothing had ever happened. I even had one enclosure that split under the force of the fall and much to my surprise, that too, kept working.â€?
Reflecting on this yearâ€™s MCAS Miramar Air Show, Weiss offered this closing thought before turning his attention to his forthcoming projects. â€œProviding enough sound for the announcers to be heard over the roar of the jets is no small task,â€? said Weiss. â€œNot only did we have enough level, the sound quality was clear, highly intelligible, and without so much as a hint of harshness. I received numerous compliments on the sound quality, and thatâ€™s the kind of feedback I enjoy!â€?
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