PA rental and sound reinforcement specialist SFL Group has become the first company to deploy an L-Acoustics X Series stage monitoring system in the UK. Reading-based SFL used the boxes at the bi-annual Festival of Life Pentecostal gathering (with a congregation of 40,000) in the acoustically-tricky ExCeL venue last month, alongside a flown L-Acoustics KARA line array system.
“I think we had the first [X12 monitors] boxes made,” says Mark Payne, technical director at SFL. “We had them through the summer on a pilot phase, but this was their first real time out and they were fantastic.” The new series were first shown at Prolight + Sound earlier this year.
“L-Acoustics has just released a new preset for them, which has really improved the limiting. They can run really loud without any obvious signs of the box protecting and the limiter squeezing in.
“They’re everything a 12XT was but lighter, louder and they’re beautifully made,” he waxes. “The way the screws hold together is delightful, the grille is a work of art and then you look at the dispersion characteristics of the box… and they’re incredibly tough.”
“From my perspective, the most obvious trend that really testifies to the incredible performance of both sets of L-Acoustics boxes – the KARAs in the air and the X12s on stage – is, ironically, the elimination of a particular sound from my spectrum of responsibility: the sound of complaints,” adds Ayobami Olunloyo, technical production manager at Festival of Life.
SFL Group has supplied sound for the Pentecostal Redeemed Christian Church of God’s twice-yearly shindig for the last eight years. “Over the years […] I can confidently say that we have reached a point where complaints about sound clarity and levels simply no longer exist, both within our congregation and the various stakeholders on stage,” continues Olunloyo. This is the ultimate end result – that sound is seamless and unobtrusive in its delivery.”
“We love doing this kind of job,” Payne concludes (pictured here, right, with FOH engineer Phil Whitaker). “Gospel worship is such an energetic performance art. This congregation will sing at 96dB, so we actually have two performance groups: the people on stage; plus the 40,000 audience and it’s wonderful to be able to deliver such great quality audio for it.”