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Elite Multimedia chooses Electro-Voice sound for Student Life

Elite Multimedia (Memphis, Tenn.) added to their already extensive Electro-Voice PA inventory this year to meet the growing production demands.

Elite Multimedia has provided production for Student Life’s annual summer tours and events for the past 3 years, most recently outfitting their 5 summer tours with EV’s compact XLD281 line array & Xsub system powered by all Tour Grade (TG) amplifiers.

This year, Elite added a powerful XLC127DVX mid-size line array system and additional TG power amps to their EV equipment list as part of a new sound system designed to address Student Life’s increasing number of large stadium-based events, including a worship camp held from July 13 through July 17 at Daytona Beach’s 7,000-capacity Ocean Center, led for the second year in a row by Christian music heavyweight Chris Tomlin, with support from David Crowder Band & Leeland.

John Mills of Elite

Multimedia described the company’s successful partnership with EV and the system design for the Daytona Beach event: “I was always aware of Electro-Voice products, but it wasn’t until we brought the XLD281 in as a demo rig for Student Life that I listened to an EV box with critical ears, and as I listened I became more and more convinced – the XLD is a very impressive sounding system, and offers great bang for the buck. Add to that the fact that EV’s rigging hardware so easy to use and I became an EV guy there and then.�

“We needed to take things to the next level for these larger events, and the XLC proved just as impressive as the XLD,� Mills continues. “The first thing we noticed was how wide and smooth the frequency response was; it’s hard to make a PA deliver in-your-face sound without sounding loud, and that’s what EV is really good at – delivering nice, warm, and forward sound without sounding harsh in the HF.�

Mills’ system at the Ocean Center comprised 15 XLC127DVX per side over 16 Xsubs spaced on six-foot centers stacked two-tall and progressively delayed. The system was driven by TG7 amplifiers with RCM-26 DSP modules and a NetMax N8000 System Controller, which allowed us to monitor and control the system via a computer running IRIS-Net. The entire system was optimized with EV’s FIR-Drive, employing state-of-the art Finite Impulse Response filters and processing to provide linear phase performance for sonic clarity and improved pattern control beyond all other DSP and system drive packages.

Mills and his Elite team worked closely with EV team throughout their purchase, system design, and setup. “The fact that EV runs so great out of the box is really a testament to the caliber of guys working for the company. Monte Wise, George Georgallis, Stu Schatz, Ethan Wetzell – all those guys really know what they’re doing.

 “We had 15 boxes per side to throw 250 feet, which is a lot of air for anyone to throw,� Mills explains “We checked with EV Tech Support while modeling the room and they told us ‘no problem’; they were right!� The sub configuration also added to the ‘in-your-face’ impact of the system:

“It looked like one nice, fat subwoofer right in front of the stage,� says Mills. “And being able to work with IRIS-Net and play with the numbers was great. One of my engineers had been swearing by seven-foot centers for subs, and I told him the math worked for six. I got this gorgeous wavefront from 40 to 80 Hz. You can’t argue with that. Even some of our guest engineers told us, ‘this is some of the best low-end in an arena that we’ve had in a long time.’�

In addition to the main rig at the Ocean Center, Mills flew three hangs (in a five-six-five configuration) of XLD281 loudspeakers to cover the back of the arena, approximately 50 feet behind Front-of-House. Eight PX1122M wedges were used as front-fills, powered by TG5 amps.

“The system was extremely quick to set up and tune,� Mills adds. “I had all my IRIS-Net monitoring on a portable tablet, which enabled me to walk the room and make adjustments from anywhere. I had a complete, real-time remote control of 45 amps while running the network at 256Kbit/s. The solidity of IRIS-Net’s driver and the seamless interface and data transfer on the CAN-Bus with the N8000 is excellent. And with the FIR-Drive presets, as soon as I walk up to the mic and say, ‘check,’ it’s unbelievable. The PHOENIX wedges sounded incredible. FIR gives you laser-like sound from anywhere in the room. All this adds up to make a big difference – you have inherently good-sounding boxes, but also the technology to more easily control and enhance every detail.�

Elite Multimedia and Student Life weren’t the only ones loving the sound of the new system, Tomlin’s long-time FOH engineer, Jeff Sandstrom, also noticed a positive difference in this year’s Ocean Center rig.

“Jeff is great, he’s just a joy to work with,� says Mills. “He’s just one of those guys you know is going to help make a good show. And at last year’s event we had a different manufacturer’s system. Jeff kept asking me for more and more gas from the system; it sounded good, it just wasn’t giving him everything he was looking for. This year he didn’t ask for more gas, and at one point I told him, ‘We’ve got some more room on the subs; you want any more low-end?’ and he just shrugged and said, ‘No man, it sounds good, let’s just let it breathe.’ I’ve never had an engineer say that! We also had the band Leeland – they were very happy with the sound. David Crowder Band had a great time, too. We’ve done a few shows with DCB this summer with our EV rig and they love it. In fact any engineer who hears this system is going to be impressed with the new TG amps and FIR Drive that EV has developed it sounds amazing. Especially when I tell him how much he can save by touring with it!�