While the spotlight was on President Obama during the public ceremony of his second inauguration held on Monday, January 21st at the U.S. Capitol, there were many private parties, celebrations and events at other high profile institutions in and around D.C. for several days preceding the official event. To support the many festivities, K-array loudspeakers, distributed by Sennheiser, were enlisted to deliver powerful audio.
For All Stage & Sound, Inc., a Laytonsville, MD-based full-service event production company, the presidential inauguration brings with it a packed schedule of high profile corporate events every four years. This year was no exception, as the firm handled staging and production for activities held at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the United States Institute of Peace, The Italian Embassy, Cafe Milano and others.
“We had equipment out everywhere, and it was all being used around the clock at different venues throughout the city,” says Richard O. Benning of All Stage & Sound. The primary loudspeaker systems the company relied on were from Italian manufacturer K-array, which specializes in speakers featuring the best possible sound quality in an extremely small footprint. K-array is a fantastic solution for the kind of work that we do because these speakers are not only stealth and look great, but they sound fantastic as well.”
All Stage & Sound recently fortified its arsenal of K-array systems, anticipating the increased demand for this year’s inaugural activities, says Benning. “We already owned five sets of KR 200s, a pair of KR 400s and a pair of KR 100s. To supplement this for the inauguration, we bought two pairs of the new KR 202s, another pair of the new KR 402s and another pair of the new KR 102s. Everything was being used non-stop.”
The remarkable events included the Italian Embassy, which occurred on Sunday, January 20th and featured singer Cindy Lauper providing the entertainment through a pair of K-array KR 402s. “Everyone was thrilled that there were Italian speakers in the Italian Embassy, yet there was some initial trepidation about the speakers’ small size,” Benning recalls. “By the end of the performance, there were smiles on the faces of all concerned. They said the sound was perfect, and of course the sightlines were outstanding because there was just nothing in the way!”
For the Cyndi Lauper show, All Stage & Sound had set up KR 402s at the left and right of the stage, reinforced by a pair of KR 102s farther down the room, flanked left and right. In environments like the Italian Embassy, or the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Benning says that it is about aesthetics from the very beginning — and this is precisely where the K-array solution shines. From an acoustic perspective, K-array speakers provide optimal gain before feedback and help disperse the sound accurately in difficult acoustic environments.
“Because the K-array speakers have such a wide dispersion pattern, we can put them in corners of rooms and face them inward,” explains Benning. “With the KR 402s, you have a light that gives you a visual indication of where the dispersion begins and ends. You can stand it right in front of a lectern and when you rotate it just slightly, it rejects feedback beautifully.”
“A big portion of what we do is speech, so feedback rejection is a really important consideration,” he continues. “If a CEO or some other dignitary is speaking at an inaugural party or other high profile event, the sound must be absolutely clear and there can be no exception. K-array delivers for us on this level, time and time again.”
Benning also appreciates the portability and ease of set-up in the K-arrays, which saves not only labor costs, but also space requirements: “You can go in with a single truck and throw in a set of KR 202s with only a couple of guys.” Benning also says the K-arrays have smaller power distribution requirements compared to larger, less efficient systems, helping reduce trucking and manpower requirements. “They go in faster and also look cleaner,” he says.