Back-to-back DFL (June 6-8) and GOP (May 30-June 1) rallies held at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN were both heard through Dynacord Cobra and VariLine sound systems deployed by Urban Communications of Plymouth, MN. Rochester, MN (July 18, 2008)--Minnesota gets its share of unusual politics--wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura was elected its governor in 1999, and now former Saturday Night Live writer/performer Al Franken is running for a Senate seat there. Tied in the polls with GOP incumbent Norm Coleman, Franken could probably use some reassurance from his old SNL character Stuart Smalley ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me"), but two things the candidates have in common besides their standings is that their parties each held a rally at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN in June, and each received audio support from Urban Communications of Plymouth, MN.
The political events both sported Dynacord Cobra and VariLine sound systems. The main hangs at both events comprised Cobra-4 TOP boxes with a single FAR throw box on the top of each array. "We needed precise vertical coverage split between the balcony and the main floor," said Andrew Loftus of Urban Communications, "aiming the upper and lower boxes in each array to avoid reflection off the 12-feet high wall at the back of the main floor below the balcony. The Cobra, as a compact vertical line array, was ideal for this application, and the hardware allowed us the fine-tuning we needed to make that critical gap in the vertical coverage.
"A couple of the cabinets were flown tight together," Loftus added; "the others were all at six and nine-degrees. We used extra bumpers on the bottom fly bars to get the extra steep angles. This was something I'd never tried before; having done it once, I'll be using that hardware for a lot more shows in the future-it's easy to use and will work well for all kinds of applications. And, aside from being extremely versatile, the system always sounds great."
Dynacord's new VariLine VL262 loudspeakers were also on-hand, deployed as out-fills. Loftus remarked, "We currently own four VL262s and are considering four more. They go out every week, and are great for an incredibly wide range of projects, from front-fills in clubs, to mains for small events, to out-fills in arena venues like the Mayo Civic Center, where we flew them from the truss. "
Completing the compact picture, new D 8 boxes were given front fill duty, while a CMS 1600 mixer and P 64 matrix manager streamlined the setup at FOH. "Again, I was amazed at the high SPL and definition the tiny D 8 boxes delivered," said Loftus. "All the Dynacord speakers added up to a really small footprint relative to the size of the venue. We also had a nicely streamlined setup at FOH, using our CMS mixing console to create sub-mixes, which we fed into the P 64 matrix manager, enabling wireless control (via IRIS-Net control software) of all the zones.
"This was the first time I'd ever taken a laptop around a venue to tune the system, and I used IRIS-Net to tune the monitors while standing at the podium," Loftus continued. "It was an exciting experience, especially when you think of the time vs. money angle. No more shouting back and forth across the venue; you can stand there and do it all yourself, tweaking any variable you can possibly imagine. And that's not to mention that having the 64 inputs on the P 64 means you can use a smaller desk at FOH, dedicated for hands-on notching and sub-mixing--no need for a large-format desk. In fact, we could have run the whole show via laptop with the P 64, but it's nice to have some hands-on mixing there, fingers on faders. Both rallies sounded excellent, and both our clients were very pleased with the results."