K-array's Global Distributor Meeting (GDM) took place October 25-27 at the newly renovated K-hall in San Piero a Sieve, Italy. It was the ideal occasion for the Italian manufacturer to warmly welcome its worldwide distributors with traditional Italian hospitality to discuss the latest strategies for 2018, including soon-to-be-launched new products.
Sixty-two guests from over 30 countries ascended on the small Tuscan town in the Mugello countryside where the two-day event occurred on Wednesday evening. A networking and a loudspeaker assembly team-building challenge were the first initiatives of the evening on Wednesday, followed by dinner and jam session featuring those colleagues who are musically inclined.
The plenary session kicked off early the next day with the theme Changing Perspective introduced by astronaut and aviator Maurizio Cheli who participated as Mission Specialist in the 1996 STS-75 Tethered Satellite mission with NASA. Cheli illustrated the necessity for a change in way of thinking for both the most scientifically-important tasks and the small, trivial duties that were vital to the success of space mission. This interesting presentation summed up the importance of a common vision to be pursued with a good balance of roles and responsibilities of the whole team, of which each component is integral and coherent, with careful planning, the continuous effort to improve even the smallest of detail and the immediate resolution of any problem. In fact, this change in perspective is widely shared in almost every aspect of K-array's activity since its founding in 1990.
“It was fantastic,” said Shawn Teoh, President of Nextrend from Malaysia. “We were really inspired by the astronaut and we really enjoyed it a lot. I think it really captured the theme of changing perspective.”
After a recap of sales figures presented by Alessandro Tatini, Co-Founder and President of Research & Development, the day’s agenda dived into strategic planning for the next year covering the bases of marketing introduced by Marketing & Communications Manager Andrea Torelli, new market verticals focus by Strategic Sales & Business Development Manager, Stefano Zaccaria, Project Consultant Daniele Mochi and Customer Service Specialist, Daniel Strassera, and new innovations and audio solutions that were introduced by Francesco Maffei, Product Specialist.
The plenary session ended with guest presentations given by Zero55, a local team of lighting professional who discussed the importance of quality lighting to accompany audio and an interesting experiential discussion on immersive audio by innovator of Astro Spatial Audio, Bjorn van Muster with audio assistance from K-array’s famous sound engineer, Klaus Hausherr.
Once the day’s presentation had concluded, the evening began with a delicious Tuscan dinner coordinated by Gemma Braschi, Executive Assistant, followed by an awards ceremony produced by Nicolò Nisi, Visual Communication Designer, to recognize distributors who provided exemplary commitments to the brand and executed the best installations of the year, presented by Margaux Asteghene, PR & Advertising Specialist, and Ilaria Scotto, Sales Account Coordinator and Laura Giusti, HR Manager with a brief appearance by Massimo Ferrati, Co-Founder & President of Finance.
This year's award-winners were:
Best Installation – K-array America, Oculus World Trade Center Transportation Hub
Best Large-Scale Application – Lotus Technology, Land of Legend Theme Park
Best Nightclub – Procom Middle East, White Nightclub Dubai
Most Unique Project – Exhibo, D Loft Milan
Best Concert / Live Show – 2B Heard, BROS Reunion Tour at O2 Arena
2017 Distributor of the Year – Procom Middle East
The festivities did not end there, however, as the lively group Sound Beats took the stage and performed several famous crowd-pleasers obviously using the unique audio solutions of K-array.
Friday morning was devoted to product deployment, with small group meetings during which product specialists and project specialists explained in detail new products responding to distributor questions and collecting feedback to further refine their products of their final presentation.
After a quick lunch, the K-array family said their final goodbyes and parted ways motivated to help the growth of the brand in each of their respective territories:
“The conference was fascinating, exclaims Anat Mazuz, Marketing Manager of Israeli distributors, Protouch Ltd. “We enjoyed each and every moment! The innovation and creativity of the company evoke respect and curiosity and has really excited us! K-array is truly a unique and amazing family.”
“The event was extremely well organised and was a great example of the K-array team in action,” added Sam Nankivell of UK distributors 2B Heard. “We are very proud to work with and represent K-array in the UK.”
K-array’s UK distributor 2B Heard struck a deal, which saw Ireland’s Professional Audio named official dealer for the brand across the country. So, what can Professional Audio bring to the table? According to Dave Wooster, director at 2B Heard, the shared vision and symbiosis between the companies will provide the perfect platform for long-term success in the region.
“We needed a reliable partner who is strong in the pro audio install sector – and they really fit the bill in Ireland,” he explains.
“They are growing in a really strong way. They have exactly the same outlook and vision as us, and that will hopefully benefit our growth. K-array products bring them a high-end loudspeaker system that is unique in the market, in terms of quality, performance and form factor.”
Another appealing factor for 2B Heard was Professional Audio’s history with K-array. Gareth McCarthy, business development manager at Professional Audio, says "We already have experience in selling K-array into the country and it was only natural that this deal would come at this time of growth in this sector in Ireland. Both companies (Professional Audio and 2B Heard) focus on high quality product and top customer service.
"Our past experience in selling K-array gives us a unique position within the Irish market and will allow us to go back to our past customers with good news and some new products to promote and sell.”
McCarthy also claims that the business is ready to hit the ground running with K-array, with a raft of promotions and sales initiatives already in place."Besides the usual social media and marketing channels, the first thing we intend to do is the K-array open day in October,” he continues. “We have already spoken to a few key accounts within the country and interest in this is high. We also have the advantage of having a man on the ground who can visit the customers directly, and finally we have a 25+ year old address book with whom we can spread the word. The biggest challenge, and, indeed, opportunity, McCarthy adds, is differentiating K-array from the rest of the competition and enabling customers to experience exactly what it has to offer.
“We have a tremendous advantage because as soon as customers experience K-array, they understand what makes it special. It’s all about giving people the chance to see the quality and hear the fidelity of K-array solutions, and that’s precisely what we’re going to do.”
At the end of August, the city of Astrakhan in the southern Russia, hosted an impressive classical music event which gathered an audience of more than 5,000 people. Set Inside the old walls of the Astrakhan Kremlin, a fortress that began construction in the 16th century, the Astrakhan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet performed an open-air presentation of the famous opera, Prince Igor, by Alexander Borodin.
On the night of the performance, the central square of the Kremlin was transformed into the seating area while the beautiful Cathedral of the Assumption and adjacent buildings served as the stage backdrop. A temporary 40 x 20 m platform was assembled for the orchestra at center stage.
All sound equipment used for the performance, including a main K-array PA system, Allen & Heath dLive mixing consoles, and Audio-Technica microphones and wireless systems, were provided by Russian distributor MixArt.
“We worked previously with The Astrakhan Opera Theater on a few other projects including the Delta Jazz Festival, the premier of Giuseppe Verdi's Traviata and The Damnation of Faust at The Moscow Bolshoi Theater. They were extremely happy with the results and they wanted to achieve the same level of success for this project.
We were able to rely on a similar setup of equipment to meet the challenging conditions of an open-air opera performance,” says Vadim Scherbakov, the head of MixArt office in the south region and the chief sound engineer of the project at the Astrakhan Kremlin.
The main PA system consisted of two line arrays of 6 Dragon-KX12 12" coaxial point sources paired with four Thunder-KMT218 dual 18” subwoofer. Two Pinnacle-KR802 portable systems were used as delay speakers and two Pinnacle-KR102 systems were used as front fills to ensure even coverage of the entire seating area.
“The sound quality surpassed all our expectations,” says Scherbakov. “K-array provided crystal clear and natural sound while being compact and almost invisible! One of our major concerns was to make sure that the audience would hear the true vocals, choir and orchestra instruments as if they were in the theater without sound reinforcement and the K-array systems did more than help us meet that aim!”
K-array has been working tirelessly to stay ahead of the fast-growing pro audio market in the US. Director of Sales Josh Radin discusses his perspective on how the industry is performing.
How would you characterize the overall state of the pro audio market in the US from a business/economic stand point and how is this likely to change going forward?
From our standpoint, professional audio is a fast-growing market in the US. Our year vs. year sales are up quite a bit compared to 2016 due to this rapid growth.
How would you characterize the culture of pro audio in the US?
We see that the industry is seeking complete creative, cutting-edge solutions. Consultants and integrators are pairing our products with the latest high-resolution video monitors and projectors as well as state-of-the-art control systems. As a technically innovative company, we should be seeing more of this move towards advanced solutions rather than some more traditional speaker suppliers who still are supplying more conventional systems.
Which industry verticals would you point to as showing growth in the market. What is driving that growth and what solutions are in demand?
We are seeing the greatest growth in dining/hospitality and multi-use educational facilities. In both of these vertical markets, our line array modules like the Kobra-KK102 and compact subwoofers have been the solution of choice. These products can produce the clarity and resolution that today’s sophisticated public demands, whether they are in a corporate meeting or in the public areas of a boutique hotel. In addition, our products' unique form factor allows them to blend in seamlessly with the high end architectural designs that are prevalent in these vertical markets.
Another vertical with much potential is houses of worship. There is a great need for high-performance audio for clear spoken word which can be very difficult at times given the complicated architecture of arches and domes, long corridors and large auditoriums with raised audience seating. Many sanctuaries benefit from the narrow vertical coverage of our loudspeakers which minimizes sound spill towards the ceiling and floor which reduces any reverberation.
What is the biggest challenge in doing business in the North American market?
Our biggest challenge at this point is educating the pro audio market about our products. Once they see and hear them, like at this year’s InfoComm, they quickly become converts and think of applications for our products that we have never even considered.
In fact, an incredible opportunity is fast approaching to hear our unique products in person. K-array will be participating in the Live Sound International (LSI) Loudspeaker Demo at WFX Worship Facilities Conference and Expo in Exhibit Hall C at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. Attendees will be able to listen to, evaluate, and compare our Portable and Installed Sound systems with other top professional loudspeaker systems in a controlled listening environment as well as hear from our team of line array experts.
We will fly a 6-meter line array of Python-KP102 loudspeakers and pair it with a Thunder-KMT21 subwoofer for the Compact Systems portion of the demo, while our Axle-KRX202 system will be demo'd for the Portable Systems category. You have to come and hear the difference yourself!
Learn more about the demo and register here.
A house of worship situated in the seaside town of Jieh, Lebanon has been undergoing renovations since the construction boom at the end of the country’s civil war in 1990. Still unfinished, the Our Lady of the Star Church has recently opened its doors to the parish for service.
Before the first congregation, church representative Mr. Georges El Azzi approached the professional team of system designers at Beirut-based distributor Prolites to support him with a complete overhaul of the church sound system. His main requirement was a discreet, yet powerful sound system to suit the necessities of the church audio and for it to be installed quickly in time for the opening.
With sleek, compact design and high-quality sound performance, Prolites proposed K-array speakers in a setup that integrates seamlessly with the interior of the church and meets the client’s exact expectations.
A pair of two white Kobra-KK102 loudspeakers coupled with two Kobra-KK52 half-meter loudspeakers were installed in a line array on each side of the nave. These speakers provide true line array characteristics, phase coherence, low distortion and focused listening in both the near field and at a distance from the speaker. The system was completed with two Thunder-KMT12 powered 12" subwoofers.
To fulfil the live sound needs of the choir, two KF12P full range multi-purpose speakers were installed for monitoring. Coverage the altar area was achieved with two Kobra-KK52 line arrays. The full audio setup was controlled with one Kommander-KA84 and one Kommander-KA24 audio power amplifier and processor.
"The results were outstanding and exceeded our expectations," said Mr. Azzi, who highly admires the work done by the team and the quality of the church sound system installation and added: “I strongly recommend this K-array system for its innovative design and high quality."
The first week of September saw Italian loudspeaker manufacturer K-array performing a string of pro audio training and demo events in Malaysia and Singapore. Beginning in Kuala Lumpur and hosted by its distributor, Nextrend, a two-day K-academy was attended by distribution partners from neighboringSingapore Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and a select few of their clients.
“We wanted to arrange these audio technical training seminars in the APAC region to reinforce our committment to educating our clients, existing and potential, about our unique products and innovative technologies,” said presenter Daniele Mochi, K-array’s project consultant, “And we will continue doing so on a global scale.”
Joined onsite by K-array’s director of sales APAC, Marc Vincent, and customer service manager Daniel Strassera, Mochi’s detailed explanations of K-array’s Pure Array Technology (PAT), Electronic Beam Steering (EBS) and Slim Array Technology (SAT), paired with in-depth examples of system design and setup, including the manufacturer’s dedicated software solutions, as well as EASE Focus, provided plenty of tips and tricks for both portable and installed applications.
"Learning about K-array’s specific FIR filter optimization and beam steering capabilities will prove to be very useful for audio technicians and future projects,” confirmed Tran Quang Huy, technical sales and A/V project consultant of Bac Dau Group in Vietnam.
A stage and a wide variety of K-array products set up by Nextrend let attendees experience the systems hands-on and, of course, listen to them:
"It’s absolutely worth the effort,” stated Shawn Teoh, Nextrend’s general manager. “For us as a solutions provider to high-quality projects, K-array’s unique designs and sound quality are ideal.
The third day in KL was K-day, attended by more than 70 people from the local industry, enjoying product demos with recorded material, as well as a live band on stage, again moderated by the K-array team.
The K-array trio then travelled on to Singapore, where its distributor, Loud Technologies Asia (LTA), had set up for a K-Day. Approximately 60 local consultants, SIs, rental houses and venue personnel participated in technology presentations and demos of K-array Lizards, Vypers, Anakondas, Pythons, Dragons and more.
"We’re very happy with the turnout," said LTA’s president Colin Quek about attendance. "We look forward to equipping more venues with K-array, which proves to be perfect for our market here."
"The achievements of this week are clearly showing that, with Nextrend and LTA, we have the right partners,’ concluded Vincent. "We are ultimately thankful for their support and engagement towards their clients and K-array."
Article and photo credit: Thomas Mittelmann of Pro AVL Asia Magazine
The famed Salone dei 500 of Palazzo Vecchio has long held great importance for the city of Florence. Measuring 54 meters long, 23 meters wide, and 18 meters high, it is the largest and most important room in terms of artistic and historic value in the old place and the largest room in Italy made for a civil power palace.
Originally built during the Renaissance to host meetings for representatives of the democratic government of the Florentine Republic, or the Great Council of 500, the Salone dei 500 has changed overtime to accommodate every owner of the palace, transforming from a hall commemorating important battles with artworks to be commissioned by the two greatest Florentine artists of the time, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, to the boardroom of the Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, where he received ambassadors and gave audience to the people.
Richly decorated and wildly popular, the Salone dei 500 has remained incredibly relevant through modern times by hosting private large-scale events including the filming of director Ron Howards’ movie adaptation of the Dan Brown novel, Inferno, starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones as well as hosting its world premier.
With the sheer number of events held in the hall, organizers saw the need for a fixed audio system with the ability to adapt to the different occasions. The audio installation required optimal coverage of the Salon di 500, keeping the visual impact as low as possible. Given their discreetness and powerful throw as well as their Florentine connection, K-array audio solutions was the obvious choice.
The biggest challenge the hall poses is that it is very reverberant. The large frescoed walls, the very high ceilings and lack of specific acoustic treatment are inclined to abruptly reflect the sound. And with traditional speakers, they tend to distribute the sound in all directions, resulting in a great deal of energy sent to the walls and ceiling. To avoid the resulting reflections, which creates a sort of rumble sound and greatly damages the intelligibility inside the room, integrators Expomeeting proposed a portable line array speaker system composed of 8 Kobra-KK102 loudspeakers and 2 Thunder-KMT18 subwoofers.
Composed of closely-spaced, full-range sound sources, the Kobra line arrays boast Pure Array Technology (PAT). With no crossover and no reflex, a perfect phase response is achieved in both the near and far fields, making these columns the perfect solution to cover long distances, like in the hall, uniformly. The portable columns are able focus the sound beam on the vertical plane, meaning the sound energy concentrates along the axis of the diffuser and the narrow vertical coverage minimizes the sound spill towards the ceiling and the floor increasing the intelligibility.
“This behavior is all the more accentuated as the column is long which is why we proposed to install two 3-meter columns on each side of the stage. This configuration not only minimizes reverb, but also effectively covers the entire salon, despite its 50m in length,” explained K-array product specialist and system designer, Daniele Mochi.
To ensure sufficient sound pressure at lower frequencies, the two 18” subwoofers were added which also served as support for the column speakers. The amplifier inside the subwoofers also allows the passive columns to be piloted, making the installation extremely easy and functional.
And for proper monitoring for guest speakers or performers on the stage, two additional Kobra-KK102 line array speakers were installed vertically behind the main system.
"All parties were quite pleased with the installation. The integrators felt the column arrays are the perfect setup for the room,” says Mochi. “And the Kobras meet all the clients requirements needed to make the installation a success.”
With over 35 years industry expertise, K-array’s Product Specialist, Klaus Hausherr is the Italian manufacturer’s go-to man for all things live sound. His vast audio knowledge and friendly demeanor have made him an in-demand sound engineer also among industry peers, accumulating an impressive list of international artists with whom he has collaborated like Santana, Bon Jovi, Vasco Rossi, Shakira, Sting and many others. Here, Hausherr gives us a bit of insight into his journey through live sound.
Not surprisingly, Hausherr’s start in the pro audio industry began as most: for the love of music: “I have always had a strong passion for music which was my biggest motivator to work in this industry. I began as a DJ in 1972 and loved connecting with the audience on such a personal level. It was when I started sound engineering at a Club Valtur resort in Greece that I began to develop a stronger interest in the technology aspect of it all and that’s when I transitioned from artist to engineer.
“In the 80s I moved on from working in resorts and took a job with a small rental company in Rome. I was put in charge of engineering local concerts in town squares, pretty basic work. But with every show, my passion grew and so did the industry’s trust in me. I was hired by larger rental companies which meant bigger artists. I went from working with relatively unknowns to more famous Italian artists like Umberto Tozzi, Renato Zero, Antonello Venditti and Pino Daniele.”
Yet it wasn’t until 1992 when Hausherr hit the biggest turning point in his career. He was brought on as monitor engineer for an Eros Ramazzotti world tour. After about 2 months of tuning and rehearsals, he was fired. And in a rather cruel way: “They told me a was a Serie B sound engineer!”
Serie B is the lower-division soccer league in Italy and the phrase is used as an insult in this sport-crazed country. Even decades later, his incredulousness is difficult to hide although he retells the story hesitantly so as not to offend those involved at the time. He chalks it up to part of his journey because it obviously didn’t stop there.
Hausherr felt the doors close on him in Italy so as a necessity he sought refuge in Switzerland, his birthplace, and contemplated his next move. “Honestly, I wanted to get out of the world of live sound, change career paths completely even, but it was a bit unrealistic given my background so I settled working for a local rental company. I didn’t have much experience in the commercial aspects of the industry, but it was a welcomed change.”
But soon enough Hausherr found his way back to live music. “The owner of the company approached me to work at Out in the Green festival where Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel and Rod Stewart were headlining. I was worried I would be disgusted all over again by the tension and stress that I was used to working FOH, but he convinced me that it would be different, that I could run a smaller second stage by myself. And he was right; there was such a calmness and professionalism. I did everything – monitoring, instrument setup, system tuning – and when the festival was over after three days, a colleague looked at me and said ‘Wow, that was impressive’. The moral of the story is that I had to accept that this was my true calling.”
That very next week, Hausherr picked up where he left off in the world of live sound, working at open-air festivals popular in the warmer months in Switzerland and throughout Europe. After a packed summer, he was put in contact with a bigger rental company that had a strong partnership with Clair Brothers. Hausherr was immediately brought on board and it was at this time that he collected an impressive list of artists with whom he collaborated, working shows and festivals in Europe and throughout the world. He was even presented with the opportunity to dispel his critics from the notorious Serie B incident when he was working as sound engineer for Santana. He was brought face-to-face with those who just a year earlier thought he wasn’t up to par and they demanded to know what he was doing there, shocked to see him behind the console. True to his character, Hausherr thought the better of a snarky comeback and just smiled and waved.
By 1998, Hausherr finally made his way back to Italy. Tired of the tour life and looking for more time with his family, Italian band Litfiba requested his expertise for their national tour. With his industry credibility and international visibility, he was able to find his place once again in Italian live sound, touring annually with Vasco Rossi and Ligabue.
It was during this time Klaus had his “fatal encounter” with K-array. He came to the offices in Florence with little expectations and ended up connecting on a more personal level. “It wasn’t the sound quality of the products that impressed me, although it was absolutely evident. I really connected with the passion the company had and it immediately felt right.”
Hasherr taps into that jargon when he starts talking about the technology in live sound the he benefits from the most: “The best part of a show is definitely the system setup. I really enjoy the projection and simulation phase, using the speakers’ software to tune the system to adapt to the venue. And when I have a K-array system, it gets even better. The Electronic Beam Steering gives me control of the sound distribution and I can cover the audience area uniformly. When the sound is very defined and precise, the sound engineer is happy. If the sound engineer is happy, then everyone from the artists to the audience is happy.”
“As a FOH, your best equipment is a good console connected to a good PA and, of course, a band with good musicians. If I had to choose a PA, it would be the Firenze-KH8 followed by the Firenze-KH7. They are powerful, yet very precise with high-definition sound. You really don’t see speakers that compact but their slim design (Slim Array Technology) allows sound to exit instantly without resonance for clean and exceptionally clear sound. An excellent result, especially with a talented artist performing.”
And while his career might have been varied, it's apparent Hausherr’s journey hasn't strayed from his original objective when he talks about what being an FOH means to him still using passion as his biggest motivator.
“A sound engineer is obviously someone who is very knowledgeable, but who loves music, has good taste and also a good ear for sound.”
K-array's next generation touring system, Firenze has now distinguished itself across to stages at the 2017 Isle of Wight Festival. Teams working on both the Hard Rock and Jack Rocks stages confirmed that the K-array systems facilitated a speedy setup process and helped combat challenging on-site noise conditions.
"Once again, the easy-rigging, space-conscious and consistent performance of the K-array technology proved to be an important asset throughout the event, freeing the engineers up to concentrate on getting the best possible mixes for what was a diverse roll-call of artists on both stages,” says Dave Wooster of UK K-array distributor 2B Heard.
Starsailor frontman James Walsh was one of the established acts appearing on the outdoor Hard Rock stage alongside more up-and-coming names such as My Girl The River, Germein Sisters and The Novatones. Providing the core of the system on this stage were just six Firenze-KH8 panels per side. Low-end extension was courtesy of four Firenze-KS8 subwoofers per side, while five Dragon-KX12 front fills were also deployed.
“It really took no time at all from setting the system up – itself a quick process – to getting great results and knowing that we would be able to deliver excellent sound for the many acts playing the stage over the course of the festival’s three days,” says Hard Rock stage FOH engineer Christian Lewis, who also mixed on a Firenze system for Diversity’s recent UK tour, including the aforementioned O2 show. “Part of the appeal of the Firenze system is how quick it is to use, from unloading to rigging and then tuning.”
Previously described by Lewis as the “next step in the evolution of speaker systems”, the Firenze KH8 dismisses the limitations of more traditional touring solutions with its incorporation of Slim Array Technology (SAT). Based on an innovative flat panel design that enables optimum directivity via Electronic Beam Steering (EBS), each self-powered IP45-rated enclosure houses 16 neodymium transducers (eight 8-inch for LF, eight 4-inch for MF and four 1.4-inch high frequency compression drivers). Panels are anchored in pre-cabled groups of three for rapid rigging and deployment, while entire systems are flown in a straight line with the option to precisely tilt individual panels as required.
On board each panel is an IP65-rated electronics module delivering eight channels of Powersoft DSP and amplification, utilising the Armonia platform for system EQ and control, and providing 2,000W of power on each output. System optimisation to suit the venue can be achieved using AFMG’s EASE Focus software, which also forms the control interface for the creation of all required FIR algorithms. Additionally, all of the Powersoft amplifier modules are IP-addressable, paving the way for quick and seamless configuration updates. The result is a system that suits every environment, no matter how challenging.
“The location of the stage near to a busy thoroughfare as well as typical festival noise regulations meant that we faced challenges that had to be accommodated throughout the event,” says Lewis. “But I am glad to say that we were able to achieve dynamic, impactful audio for all of the artists that appeared.”
Similar to the KH8, the self-powered, mid-high Firenze-KH7 line array speaker employs Slim Array Technology, and features a quartet of 12” coaxial Neodymium magnet woofers, providing multiple setups, including both vertical and horizontal use. Designed to be able to cover everything “from Bach to rock” – including the rock acts who graced the Jack Rocks stage – the KH7 offers auto configuration, Electronic Beam Steering and Firenze’s characteristic quick setup and ease of use.
“I do a lot of gigs where the PA has to be like the opposite of a well-mannered Victorian child: heard but not seen,” says Trotter. “The JD Rocks stage was housed in a small marquee with close sides and a low roof, which meant that the bands' backline and stage spill was extremely loud, and I was impressed that a box as visually discreet as the KH7 could keep up.”
With around 60,000 fans making the trip to Newport for this year’s Isle of Wight Festival, the 2017 event was another successful instalment in the long history of this iconic musical extravaganza. It was also a powerful demonstration of why K-array’s Firenze is likely to appear at many more festivals to come.
“The performance of the SAT at the Isle of Wight Festival underlines the fact that it is more than capable of coping with the time-poor expectation-heavy requirements of a busy festival site,” said Wooster. “I think it’s safe to say that we can look forward to both the KH8 and KH7 systems popping up on more festival specs during the months ahead.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on tour is not an unfamiliar occurrence. After all, the legendary band has been on the road since it was established in 1976 and has since been considered one of the most successful and long-running American rock groups in history. This year’s tour, however, has a different air to it: not only are the Heartbreakers commemorating their 40th anniversary, but 2017 is expected to be the last year the group will tour on such a large scale.
With the additional pressure to mark these milestones, touring sound reinforcement powerhouse Sound Image was called upon for their services. And when it came to designing the front fill element of the customized electro-acoustic system, president Dave Shadoan and touring director Mike Sprague didn’t spare any effort in finding a speaker with a small visual impact, but with high power handling. The solution also had to be expandable and arrayable.
After conducting auditions of numerous systems under the guidance of the band’s long-time sound engineer Robert Scovill, SI selected K-array’s 12” coaxial loudspeaker, Dragon-KX12 proposed by K-array America as it matched expectations and beyond of a nearfield solution for the touring audio system.
We were quite pleased that we were given the opportunity to be considered for the Tom Petty tour front fills,” explains Josh Radin, Sales Director at K-array America, of his choice speaker.
“The tour wanted a touring system that could provide high SPL, handle hard-hitting rock music and yet not throw so far into the audience that it would interfere with the main audio system. Also, rear rejection was important as the front fills would be right in front of where Tom Petty and his band would be standing."
The compact line array element features an asymmetric 100° by 30° horn with an adjustable orientation and delivers a continuous SPL of 127 dB - perfect for when high pressure is needed close to the source.
“During the extensive testing, the KX12 excelled on all fronts and defeated some very respected and high performing systems from other manufacturers,” continues Radin.
“I think everyone who witnessed the test was impressed with the KX12’s clarity and musical presentation. Of course, since sight lines for the audience were a very important factor, the KX12’s low profile helped win the day and the demo.”
Now as the tour draws to a close and the most of the final farewells have been made, the client is assured more than ever that the right choice was made during testing.
“K-array provided an extremely elegant solution to a challenging situation for the tour. We needed a product that was flexible and very easily deployed,” explained Tom Petty FOH, Robert Scovill.
“The product also needed to be high powered and full-range but at the same time offer a very small visual foot print in that the boxes would be positioned and working in very close proximity to audience members. K-array simply met all the criteria. I’ve been thrilled with the results."