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DAS Yamaha Rock The Bells

San Bernardino, CA (September 18, 2009)--Rock the Bells has become the Lollapalooza of hip-hop; this year's touring edition included appearances by NAS and Damian Marley, Cypress Hill and Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes and others. Its Southern California appearance at the San Manuel Amphitheater found 14,000 fans hearing every beat via a D.A.S. Audio Aero 2 PA.

FOH engineer Patrick Mundy
mixed Rock The Bells on a
Yamaha PM5D, sending sound
to a D.A.S. Aero 2 PA.
San Bernardino, CA (September 18, 2009)–Rock the Bells has become the Lollapalooza of hip-hop; this year’s touring edition included appearances by NAS and Damian Marley, Cypress Hill and Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes and others. Its Southern California appearance at the San Manuel Amphitheater found 14,000 fans hearing every beat via a D.A.S. Audio Aero 2 PA.

Irwindale, CA-based DBS Sound & Lighting, a provider of audio, staging, and lighting services for concerts, tours, and the special events market, was contracted to provide sound reinforcement for the event. Ruben Silva, owner/operator of DBS Sound & Lighting, knows that the San Manuel Amphitheater can be a challenging environment for delivering high SPL sound. He discussed the issues that confronted him and his decision to deploy a D.A.S. Audio Aero 2 system.

“Providing coverage to the main seating areas in front of the stage is one thing,” explained Silva, “but the grass lawn area further out is an entirely different matter, as the high winds can wreak havoc with the sound. In order to provide the long throw and broad horizontal coverage we needed, the system required serious power. Because of this, I was very concerned about rear rejection (sound emanating from the back side of the array clusters), as it complicates on stage monitoring and the ability of the performers to hear clearly. This was a huge consideration and one of the key reasons we decided on D.A.S. Audio’s Aero 50 line arrays.”

The primary sound system that DBS Sound & Lighting deployed consisted of 24 D.A.S. Audio Aero 50 line array enclosures, flown 12 per side at a height of approximately 40 feet for the top enclosure. The Aero 50 is a 3-way, large-format line array module incorporating two 15-inch loudspeakers with neodymium magnet assemblies coupled with four 8-inch transducers (also with neodymium magnetic assemblies), and two neodymium compression drivers with 1.5-inch exits. The Aero 50 line array clusters were driven by Crown Audio’s I-Tech Series I-T8000 power amplifiers.

Low frequency support was partially provided by eight D.A.S. LX-218 high performance subwoofers, distributed evenly across the lower front of the stage. The D.A.S. Audio LX-218 subwoofer features dual D.A.S. 18LX long excursion transducers in a front loaded, bass-reflex configuration. Power for the subwoofers was provided by Crown Audio I-Tech Series I-T8000 power amplifiers. DBS Sound & Lighting’s own house brand subwoofers, stage monitors, and side fill enclosures completed the system.

At the FOH position, Patrick Mundy recently mixed on a Yamaha PM5D. “The owner of DBS Sound, Ruben Silva, is the man who I credit with marketing me and developing me as a ‘go to’ front of house engineer for just about any genre of music,” says Mundy. “Ruben-pushed me to be a versatile mixer and make sure to always mix genre-specific.” He met Silva after touring with Redman, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah mixing monitors and production managing the first Rock the Bells club tour.

“The Rock the Bells tour-was a great experience from start to finish,” says Mundy. “It is my belief that the Yamaha PM5D was a big part of making North America’s largest touring hip hop festival-work. Being a festival, many acts did not get more than a line check before having to start their sets. The PM5D’s recall capability gave the engineers a great starting place to build from each day.”

Mundy carried all the main stage acts FOH files/scenes backed up redundantly on multiple cards, via email, and on his laptop, and mixed for many of the acts at Rock the Bells, like Chali Tuna, Supernatural MC, RZA, the full Wu Tang Clan while the tour was in New York City, MOP, Slaughterhouse, Ice Cube’s sole appearance, Busta Rhymes at the LA and San Francisco shows, NAS in Baltimore, Slick Rick in LA and San Francisco, KRS1, Slum Village, The Knux, as well as all the festival’s opening acts.

Mundy may be fairly new to the live sound game, but not digital mixers. He previously worked in studio recording and became familiar with them during that time and credits his audio recording mentor, Dave Fridmann, with providing him the tools to go out and mix live. Fridmann told him that the secret to a good studio sound was live sound. Mundy, as he is known, took that advice to heart and five years ago set out to use his people and mix skills learned in-studio into the world of sound reinforcement.

In terms of providing that sound reinforcement, Silva reports that the D.A.S. Audio Aero 2 Series sound system delivered. “The system did a terrific job,” said Silva. “The Aero 50’s have tremendous throw and provide very even coverage with a full, fat sound. The Aero 50’s rigging hardware is very well designed and makes the process of assembling and flying the boxes remarkably easy for a system this large. Perhaps most significant is the fact that the Aero 50’s are really well designed in terms of their ability to minimize rear rejection. There was very little noise on stage-almost none to speak of. The LX-218’s worked very well for us on this job. In addition to their low end punch, they exhibit good detail, which frequently escapes competing sub bass enclosures. I only wish I had more.”

With the Rock the Bells tour in the rear view mirror, Silva reflected on the D.A.S. Audio system’s performance. “This Aero system delivered very impressive results,” notes Silva. “Going into this project, we had some questions and, I have to say, the D.A.S. folks were extremely supportive and responsive. I received numerous compliments about the sound systems’ performance-particularly from some of the key engineers that were mixing, including the FOH engineers for The Roots, House of Pain, and Damian Marley. It was very cool to see all the people enjoying the music and my client, Guerilla Union, was very pleased with the sound. When the artists and the client are happy, I’m happy.”

DBS Sound & Lighting

D.A.S. Audio

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.

Patrick Mundy