Athens, GA (August 14, 2006)–AthFest, the alternative music festival held in the home of 1980s alt rock, is a decade old now, but the old dog is still trying new tricks. Peavey, an AthFest sponsor almost since its inception, hosted 187 bands from the city’s talent pool this year–including headliners Modern Skirts, Now It’s Overhead and Drivin ‘n’ Cryin–at multiple stages and clubs in downtown Athens.
While plenty of Peavey and Crest Audio sound equipment past and present supported the event across the city, the main Outdoor Stage showcased the new Peavey Versarray system.
Longtime Peavey live audio guru Marty McCann and a staff of Peavey experts made the annual trip to Athens with the new Versarray, Peavey VSX loudspeaker management systems, a 48-channel Crest Audio mixing console and Crest Audio Pro 200 power amplifiers. The crew flew eight Versarray 112 enclosures per side from two lift towers, with two Versarray 218 subwoofers on each side and another four Versarray 218s in the center. Crest Audio Pro 5200 amps provided power to the ribbon drivers on each Versarray 112, while Pro 9200 models handled their 12″ Neo Black Widow woofers. Additional Pro 9200 amps were applied to each Versarray 218 subwoofer.
Front-of-house engineer Ric Wallace, a veteran of nearly 30 years, manned the boards for the stable of indie rock, rap and pop performers during the three-day festival. “The system’s performance was very consistent between so many diverse groups,” said Wallace. “We had acoustic performers mixed in with everything from punk rock to modern pop music, and I didn’t really have to touch the graphs for any corrective EQ’ing. I had plenty of gain before feedback, especially when punching up the mids and low-mids in acoustic instruments.”
McCann and Wallace aligned and controlled the Versarray system through VSX 26 digital loudspeaker managers. Using the Versarray Project Eight factory preset as the crossover and processing foundation, they slightly altered the delay settings to align the subwoofers and enclosures to the backline.
The four stage-centered 218 subwoofers–each controlled by a VSX 26 and driven through the console’s dedicated aux sends–contained a mix of the kick drum, floor tom, bass guitar and other sources. A pair of Versarray 218 subwoofers per side were employed from 60 Hz to 200 Hz without bass lift to fill and overlap the four aux-driven subs. “The beauty of employing separate aux-driven subs is that the mix engineer can emphasize the low end when needed without muddying up the vocals or other instruments, ” McCann noted.