[ATTACH=CONFIG]197271.vB5-legacyid=7714[/ATTACH]8/8/2013 — The Wireless Festival, now in its ninth consecutive year, is the quintessential urban open-air music experience, with headliners Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, will.i.am, Snoop Dog, A Tribe Called Quest, and Rita Ora drawing record crowds to London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. A TURBOSOUND Flashline PA was deployed by Britannia Row Productions for the Pepsi Max Stage, which also saw appearances by Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah.
Britannia Row Productions’ Johnny Keirle was systems tech for the event and, despite arriving in the UK from New Zealand recently, has seen plenty of Flashline action: “I’m pretty familiar with TURBOSOUND as I worked a lot with Oceania back in New Zealand, they have a large Flashlight and Floodlight rig that’s one of the best sounding systems around. The very first time I heard Flashline, I loved it. Since then, the more I work with Flashline the more I like it,” he says.
“Mechanically, the rigging is very well thought out. The flying and angling system is very thoughtfully laid out and labeled, making it easy and straightforward to put in the air. With four boxes to a dolly you can set the majority of angles on the ground, resulting in a quick and easy flying process. The flybar case is a clever design and it’s tidy and compact. Flashline is extremely easy to put in the air and equally importantly, very easy to land after a long day’s work!”
For the Pepsi Max Stage — which measured about 100 metres by 50 metres wide — TURBOSOUND’s latest large scale line array system consisted of 10 TFS-900H high packs flown per side, with six each TFS-900B subs at left and right, plus a centre stack of six TFS-900Bs. Extra subs were added to the original specification in order to beef up the sub-bass frequencies for will.i.am and the festival’s hugely popular and predominantly electronic-based hip-hop, RnB and rap artist line-up.
Flashline is a complete turnkey sound reinforcement system designed to deliver ultra-high quality audio to large audiences. The TFS-900H is a four-way flown line array comprising 11 discrete drive units uniquely deployed across four frequency bands, teamed up with Lab.gruppen’s industry-leading four channel DSP-based amplifiers with Lake processing in custom-designed TURBOSOUND racks. The TFS-900B subs are a hybrid-loaded design that makes use of energy from the rear as well as the front of the 18-inch neodymium drivers’ cones for an impressive 141dB peak output. The Flashline high packs travel pre-rigged in groups of four on custom dollies allowing a loudspeaker array to be flown quickly and easily.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]197272.vB5-legacyid=7715[/ATTACH]An EASE Focus plot run on the morning of the festival set up day helped to determine the optimum inter-box angles, which were then implemented while still on the dollies. “It takes only five or ten minutes to go through the configuration to make sure it’s going to look good, and once you’ve got them in the air you can trim levels accordingly from the amp racks,” explains Keirle. “We can do that because of the way the racks are configured.
“I’m running the top three cabinets on one amplifier channel, the next three on one channel, and the bottom four as two pairs. This way we have a lot of control over the directivity of the array — such as trimming the lower cabinets back quite a bit at the bottom to hit the first 30 metres, and as it’s around 100 metres to the back we’re going to push the tops to achieve that long throw. There are no delays at all, which is great from the audience’s point of view.”
Flex Array TFA-600H three-way mid/high in-fills positioned just in front of the side fills covered the front audience area. “We have this curved crowd barrier and those cabinets cover the centre really nicely, and then we have a couple more Flex Array boxes at the outside to cover the flanks,” says Keirle.
Low end was provided by a total of 18 TFA-900B subwoofers, ground stacked three high by two wide at left and right, and a centre block two high by three wide which was phase aligned appropriately to break up the power alley/power valley complications frequently encountered with widely spaced traditional left/right sub configurations. “The subs were great in the room,” he says. “We had very even coverage for the majority of the space and easily reached the back of the tent. In fact I was running the subs at -6dB over the weekend; we had plenty of headroom there!”
According to Keirle, the coverage of the flown Flashline boxes was exceptional. “We weren’t dealing with a huge amount of boxes but achieved a great result,” he says. “Vertically (front to back) our coverage was great — I trimmed and EQ’d boxes independently to accommodate throws varying from 10 metres to 100 metres in the array, but the transitions were pretty seamless across the room.
“We had no issues in the horizontal domain. The TFS-900H high packs offer a true 90° horizontal spread, and the areas closer to the stage were covered very nicely with Flex array boxes positioned where needed and delayed appropriately.”
[ATTACH=CONFIG]197273.vB5-legacyid=7716[/ATTACH]Flashline was put through its paces with a broad range of music and was particularly impressive on the DJ sets. The commercially mastered music presented an opportunity to demonstrate the accuracy of the PA and display the responsiveness of the sub and low frequencies, as well as the articulated reproduction of high frequencies. “During Calvin Harris’ set I was sitting at FOH, 60 odd metres from the source, and could still feel the extreme highs from 16kHz on up being pushed forcefully past my ears,” enthuses Keirle.
“Flashline offers a unique HF — the majority of modern line arrays have a very smooth, soft-sounding top end, whereas Flashline gives you a more in-your-face, up-front top end,” he comments. “Even when the HF needs boosting, when at a good level you can definitely feel the extreme highs pushing past you a lot more noticeably than other modern line array boxes.
“The Flashline subs definitely stand out. The large enclosure offers an extremely deep sound more reminiscent of the older 21-inch TURBOSOUND folded horns, while retaining the tightness and responsiveness of modern double 18-inch configurations.
“The levels were running reasonably comfortably at FOH. Due to the long throw, the HF was getting more of a workout than the other elements, but overall we were sitting pretty comfortably. Our limit was just over 100dB and I’m confident we could have achieved a lot more before running out of headroom.”
Based purely on audience reaction, the public and visiting FOH engineers alike enjoyed the sound of the Flashline PA, reports Keirle. “As with every show, engineers are never afraid to ask for a little more gain, more low end, less of this or that frequency, and I always do my best to keep them happy with on-going collective improvements to the system processing.
“Over the entire weekend, we had no complaints whatsoever.”
The Britannia Row crew for the Pepsi Max stage at Wireless were Craig Ross (FOH), Alex Hore (monitors), Johnny Keirle (systems / stage technician), Hector Rivera and Danilo Z (stage technicians), and Lez Dwight (audio coordinator).
TURBOSOUND is a leading designer and manufacturer of professional loudspeaker systems. The company’s award winning designs are defined by a harmony between high technology and an instinctive approach to the art of acoustical and electronic engineering. Since inception a number of principle patents have been awarded to TURBOSOUND including three Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement in 1987 and 1997, and for Innovation in 2012, which recognise the success of two ground-breaking design concepts — the Polyhorn and Dendritic waveguides. Both now form the heart of TURBOSOUND’s core product ranges — Aspect, Flex Array and large-scale Flashline loudspeaker systems. TURBOSOUND has also applied its design principles and patented technology to the specialist requirements of the fixed installation, theatre, worship, corporate and A/V markets.
TURBOSOUND is owned by MUSIC Group.