INDIO, California - May 2009 -- If this year's Coachella and Stagecoach festivals can be viewed as a barometer for the live sound industry, it's going to be a stellar summer touring season regardless of what economists are predicting. More than 260,000 music fans from all over the nation and world converged at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, during the final two weekends in April to catch remarkable performances from Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, The Cure, The Killers, Morrissey, My Bloody Valentine, M.I.A., Public Enemy, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Kid Rock and nearly 160 other artists packed into five collective days.
However, at nearly 40 feet tall, the "biggest" performer at both festivals was undeniably the new K1 loudspeaker system from L-ACOUSTICS. The world's largest K1 system assembled to date, the rig was deployed by Oxnard, California-based Rat Sound Systems, which has spearheaded sound reinforcement duties for the past nine out of ten Coachella festivals and all three Stagecoach festivals.
Used on the main Coachella Stage (aka Stagecoach's "Mane Stage"), the PA featured twin arrays comprised of 15 K1 enclosures topped by eight K1-SUB boxes and tailed by three dV-DOSC downfills. Additional arrays of eight K1 plus three dV-DOSC were also called upon to provide far left and right side coverage.
Low-end augmentation was delivered by a total of 32 SB28 subs arranged in cardioid stacks across the front of the stage. ARCS cabinets delivered nearfill, while stage monitoring was accomplished via 115XT HiQ wedges. Two arrays of nine V-DOSC boxes each were flown out in the audience area as delays, and power for all systems was provided by numerous LA-RAK touring racks loaded with LA8 amplified controllers located under the stage.
Jon Monson, who heads up systems and tours for Rat Sound, appreciated the ease with which the massive K1 system could be flown, thanks largely to its ingenious captive rigging facilities.
But above all was the sound. "The first time I heard K1 at a demo in France, I had no doubt that it was truly an amazing system," says Rat Sound's head honcho, Dave Rat. "So much so that the challenge was not whether to acquire the K1 system but, rather, how to acquire it. What I did not know is how easily it would exceed expectations. I truly believe that K1 is the best large-scale stadium sound system on the planet right now. I also know that most, if not all, of the world-class engineers that have mixed on it agree with me. The overall response from literally every engineer at Coachella and Stagecoach was 'wow!' The clarity difference, even above V-DOSC, is immediately apparent. K1's volume, impact and low frequency control are truly distinct. And while roaming the venue, there is a clear improvement in horizontal coverage."
"The response from Goldenvoice, the promoter of both festivals, has been pure positive as well. Not only did they notice the sonic difference, but I am told they are surprised at getting calls about how amazing the show sounded."
Goldenvoice Production Manager Kevan Wilkins confirms this fact: "I was blown away when I heard that McCartney thought it was a great live sound," he says. "As for me, personally, it was amazing."
In addition to the K1 system used on the Coachella Stage (Mane Stage), Rat Sound specified L-ACOUSTICS systems for the two desert festivals' other stages, including a V-DOSC/SB28 system at the Outdoor Theatre (Palomino), V-DOSC at the Sahara Tent (Mustang), and KUDO at the Mojave Tent.
For more details on Rat Sound's experience with its new K1 system, visit www.ratsound.com or Dave Rat's blog, "Roadies In The Midst", at http://ratsound.com/blognav.htm. For information on the two festivals, visit www.coachella.com and www.stagecoachfestival.com.
L-ACOUSTICS is a leading innovator and manufacturer of high-performance loudspeakers, amplifiers and signal processing devices for touring and installed sound markets. Known around the globe for pioneering and championing the modern line array loudspeaker concept with V-DOSC, the company has received numerous accolades for its K1, KUDO, KIVA, ARCS, XT coaxial loudspeaker systems and SB line of subwoofer enclosures, all powered and processed with the LA4 and LA8 amplified controllers in fulfillment of a "total system approach." L-ACOUSTICS products for the North American market are manufactured and distributed by L-ACOUSTICS US of Oxnard, California.
Photo credit: Arden Ash
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