The Villages, FL â€“ October 2008â€¦ With the 2008 Presidential election in its final weeks, the pace of the McCain and Obama political campaigns is reaching a fever pitch. In order to gain maximum advantage from appearances of the political contenders, both parties frequently move their candidates from point to point with very short notice. Such was the case with a recent appearance of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who addressed a crowd approaching 60,000 in this massive retirement community in central Florida. Smyrna, TN-based Allstar Audio Systems, Inc. was contracted to handle sound and video for the event and their D.A.S. Audio Aero sound reinforcement system enabled them to make it all happen.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palinâ€™s appearance took place at Market Place Town Square at Lake Sumterâ€”one of several town squares in The Villages. Palin was to speak from a gazebo in the center of this large open paved gathering area. According to Mike Borne, President of Allstar Audio, the project involved a 360-degree setup, as the crowds would surround the gazebo.
â€œIn order to address such a large capacity crowd,â€? explained Borne, â€œwe needed to fly a significant number of loudspeakersâ€”not just facing forward from the gazebo, but also to the sides and rear. To accomplish this, we erected a large box truss structure all around the gazebo and then flew the loudspeakers and several video displays. Governor Palin spoke from a small stage erected in front of the gazebo. Our primary loudspeaker systems addressed the crowds both in front and to the rear, while smaller, secondary systems covered the crowds on both sides of the gazebo.â€?
For the forward and rear facing systems, twenty-four D.A.S. Audio Aero 38A line array elements were flownâ€”six modules each for the front left and right, and another six modules each for the rear left and right on each side of a large LED video wall. The Aero 38A is a self-powered, medium format line array module that integrates low, mid, and high frequency transducers into a single unit. A large video display was suspended on the gazeboâ€™s rear center beneath the line array clusters. â€œThe crowds at the front and rear were really large,â€? said Borne, â€œso we needed a system with long throw and broad horizontal dispersion capabilities. The Aero 38A was the perfect choice for the size of the crowds.â€?
While sizeable, the crowds on both sides of the gazebo were smaller. For these areas, the Allstar Audio crew flew twelve D.A.S. Audio Aero CA-28A enclosuresâ€” three modules each for the left and right on each side. The CA-28A is a self-powered, bi-amplified, two-way compact line array module designed for use in multi-box arrays. Two additional video displays were suspended, with one on each side of the gazebo between the Aero CA-28A clusters. â€œSince we didnâ€™t need as much throw at the sides,â€? explained Borne, â€œthe CA-28Aâ€™s were angled down at a considerably greater angle. The size and dispersion pattern of the 28Aâ€™s made them a really good fit for the side areas.â€?
With huge crowds extending a considerable distance from the gazeboâ€™s front, the Allstar Audio team erected two video delay towers to ensure suitable coverage for those spectators. â€œEach of the delay towers was equipped with a video display that was accompanied by a single Aero CA-28Aâ€”positioned dead center below the screen to cover the area directly in front of the video walls that were blocking the sound from the main speaker arrays. With all these loudspeakers and video displays, the crowds were able to hear and see Governor Palin very clearly, no matter where they were standing,â€? said Borne.
Eight D.A.S. Audio Aero 218A 2K subwoofers augmented the flown loudspeaker systems. These were positioned on the groundâ€”two at each corner of the truss structureâ€”facing the direction of the loudspeakers above them. â€œThis event was primarily one of speech reinforcement,â€? said Borne, â€œso we took a minimum number of subs, knowing that there was limited music playback before and after Palinâ€™s speech. But rest assured, we had a very full, rich low end.â€?
Borne reports the incredibly short amount of preparation and setup time presented the projectâ€™s biggest challenge. â€œGovernor Palin was scheduled to speak on Sunday September 21st,â€? explained Borne, â€œbut events leading up to this day really tested our ability to handle such a large scale project on very little notice. We were offered the job on the preceding Monday morning, and then on Tuesday morning, the job was cancelled. Then at 10:30 PM on Tuesday, it was on once again. Not only did we have to prepare, we also had to ship the equipment from our warehouse in Nashville, Tennessee, and this is where the self-powered design of the Aero loudspeaker systems really paid huge dividends for us. The truck pack characteristics of the D.A.S. equipment is first-rate and since we didnâ€™t have to transport separate power amps, there was less gear to keep track of, less weight to move, and easier setup. With such short notice to transport all the equipment to Florida, set it up, and get everything operational, the D.A.S. loudspeakers proved to be a huge time saver.â€?
With the Palin rally behind them, Borne reflected on the project. â€œThe D.A.S. Aero system was the best possible choice for this event,â€? notes Borne. â€œThe fully captive rigging hardware makes the loudspeakers quick and easy to fly while the self-powered design minimizes cable clutter and makes for a clean look that sets up quickly. We received numerous compliments for the sound quality and the efficiency with which we handled this project. For me, D.A.S. is an acronym for success.â€?
For additional information about Allstar Audio Systems, visit the company online at www.allstaraudio.com.
About D.A.S. Audio
Headquartered in Valencia, Spain, D.A.S. Audio is one of the worldâ€™s leading manufacturers of loudspeaker systems, power amplification, signal processing, and related components. For better than thirty years, D.A.S. Audio products have been found on tour with the worldâ€™s greatest performing artists and installed in many of the most prestigious facilities. For additional information about the company, visit them online at www.dasaudio.com.