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Huge Electro-Voice Deployment at the Houston Rodeo!


LD Systems Takes Sound Reinforcement to a New Level at Houston Livestock Show and RodeoLD Systems delivers massive sound reinforcement with precision, performance, and control at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held annually at Reliant Park, Houston.

Running for three weeks in February and March every year, and celebrating its 76th year in 2008, Rodeo Houston is both the world’s largest livestock exhibition and the world’s largest rodeo event. And, every night after the rodeo competition winds down, the Rodeo rolls out big name entertainment to match.

Everyone from Elvis to Beyonce has performed under the Rodeo Houston banner. With nightly attendances at Reliant Stadium often reaching 73,000–this year both Hannah Montana and Brad Paisley hit the mark–the Rodeo continues to be among the highest attended live concert series in the world.

An essential element of Rodeo Houston‘s huge success is its consistently excellent sound quality. For 15 years, Houston-based LD Systems has designed and deployed sound reinforcement and lighting on a suitably massive scale for the Rodeo, upping the ante every year. Long time Electro-Voice users, the LD Systems team oversee what is probably the largest temporary installation of EV equipment in the world for the three week run.

For the past five years, LD has used a main stadium rig based around 108 EV X-Line boxes powered by an equal number of EV P3000RL remote control DSP amplifiers running IRIS-Net control and supervision software. 54 P3000RL amps a side sit racked on two catwalks over 200ft above the ground, powering 12 eight and ten-box hangs of X-Line Xvls and Xvlt, with each array alternating left and right channel output for a full coverage stereo image around the room. Where else but Texas would you expect to hear what has got to be the loudest stereo in the world?!

Working closely with the EV tech support team, LD‘s commitment to continuous improvement is clearly demonstrated by this huge deployment. Employing the latest digital control, supervision, and distribution technologies from EV–this year saw LD incorporate 14 NetMax N8000 controllers–the rig gets more streamlined, precisely controlled, and sonically impressive every year, as Robert Ausmus, Director of Production Services, LD Systems explains:

“For the last five years, LD Systems has been working very closely with Electro-Voice, trying to raise the bar not only in terms of our capabilities, but also with regard to developing a strategic R&D relationship that raises the bar for audio in general. This relationship has proven extremely positive; working with everyone at EV is like working with our Texas counterparts from the north: no nonsense, hands-on, and thinking big. The EV team loves audio like we love audio; we‘re committed to providing the absolute best that there can be, and as a result, we can up the ante every year here at the Rodeo.”

“This is a very large X-Line system” Ausmus adds, “with a total of 108 cabinets powered by 108 RL amplifiers distributed over a 12-array zone coverage configuration. This system has rewarded us with the absolute best results yet in our 15 years handling sound for the Rodeo. We started out in the Astrodome in the early ‘90s, and moved to Reliant Stadium five years ago, where the acoustical challenges are even more complex. It‘s mind-boggling how much more presence and performance we get out of the EV system than from our former products.”

“This year we integrated the NetMax N8000 processors, which have reduced our cabling significantly while providing far better speaker management and control,” Ausmus continues. “We only have one vantage point, in the middle of two arrays, from the mix position. The other ten arrays are off the radar, as it were, so they need continuous monitoring to ensure they‘re providing the same quality audio as the two facing us. The IRIS-Net control and supervision software (supervised by LD‘s Mike “Monk” Shear) affords us that capability via a single screen, along with a very high level of control over the whole show from a technical standpoint.”

“Using the EV equipment with CobraNet and the Ethernet control software backbone has also improved the sonic quality–the impact, as I call it. It‘s on a whole new level this year, as opposed to running standard crossovers. We‘ve really enjoyed the results, and are eager to get back to work with the technical team at EV after this run, to give them good solid feedback to make sure we continue to raise the bar. We know they will work with us with open ears through the course of us integrating NetMax into our other systems.”