Arlington, TX (May 18, 2015)—A capella act Pentatonix has been building up steam in recent years since winning NBC’s The Sing-Off; a Grammy award and nearly a billion YouTube views later, the five-piece group recently finished a sold-out 21-date U.S. tour with a sizable L-Acoustics K2 system from Escondido, CA-based Sound Image in tow.
Chris Aman, who did double-duty as both the group’s FOH engineer and production manager, recalled, “Mike Adams at Sound Image and I had initially been discussing a variety of loudspeaker options for this tour, but after having a conversation with bass vocalist Avi Kaplan, I got a really good idea of what they were trying to achieve sonically, so I called Mike back and told him that K2 was the right PA for this, especially given its definition in the midrange.”
The typical array setup deployed for this tour leg comprised 14 K2 per side flanked by outfills of nine Kara. Four more Kara were spread out across the deck for frontfill, with 12 SB28 subs delivering the low-end reinforcement. All loudspeakers were powered and processed by a total of six LA-RAKs each loaded with three LA8 amplified controllers.
Although Pentatonix’ live show exclusively features five vocalists with no additional accompaniment, aside from two songs where beat-boxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola plays a cello, the group’s frequency range is surprisingly broad. “Avi hits a low A, which means he sings down to 55Hz, so I treat his vocal like a bass guitar,” the engineer notes. “One of the things I really like about K2 is that it goes down to 35Hz, so I basically do everything in the array then reinforce it a bit with the subs for a little air movement.”
Aman further points out that the system’s intelligibility and “natural-ness” also means that he can keep the overall volume levels in check without sacrificing impact. “I mix the show at around 95dB,” he says. “Having a PA that is this defined and in-your-face means that I don’t have to mix it loud to get the definition this act requires. Everything’s right there at a very comfortable volume and both the band’s management and fans love it.”