Exmouth, UK (June 28, 2016)—The annual Exmouth Festival in the southwest of England is a provincial event, celebrating the music, crafts and traditions of the region, but for this year’s 20th anniversary edition, it broadened its horizons, inviting national acts like ska legends Bad Manners to headline the opening night. Stepping up the entertainment meant stepping up the audio requirements as well. As it happened, the festival became the UK debut of Proel’s brand-new Axiom AX800A compact line array, used for the very first time at a live event after the first units of the new product began shipping tin May.
Regional audio provider ESW Solutions tested the AX800A system at the Festival with sound engineer Darren Campan, overseen by senior project manager Richard Hawkins. Proel’s Mike Roissetter offered a product demonstration system for the festival, and ESW’s managing director Martin Nicholls took it on.
The AX800A is Proel’s newest line array, based around two 8-inch low frequency drivers back loaded with an acoustic transmission line intended to reduce some of the high bass energy present at the rear of the cabinet. The LF drivers are matched to a 1.4-inch titanium diaphragm high frequency compression driver in a symmetrical WTW configuration and housed in an organically styled polypropylene enclosure, measuring 600mm wide by 516mm deep and weighing in at 25 kilos, including the integrated rigging hardware.
For the festival, ESW’s project manager Richard Hawkins elected to fly six AX800A cabinets each side of stage – the top two on long throw factory presets, the next three on standard presets, and the bottom cabinet on the downfill setting – from rigging towers trimmed at a height of around six meters to optimize coverage over the 100 meter by 75 meter audience space, which numbered at times at around 5,000 people.
On the floor were two SW1800A dual 18-inch powered subwoofers each side, and on top of those were two SW215A dual 15-inch powered subwoofers per side from ESW’s regular PA rig providing the upper bass octave. AX2065 dual 6.5-inch cabinets were placed on the sub stacks as front fills, with a further AX2065 as a centre stage lip fill. All monitoring was provided by Proel Flash 12A wedges, with Hawkins taking care of all monitor mixes.
Front of house engineer Darren Campan had plenty of opportunity to check the AX800A’s capabilities in an ideal outdoor setting: “I was surprised at how much power there was from a small box, I didn’t feel I was running out of headroom at any time. And the system covers really well especially from front to back of the audience, with plenty of clarity in the high end. Having double 15s and double 18s on the floor was very effective for the rather bass-heavy bands like Bad Manners so we didn’t struggle at all for low end, and I was impressed with the system’s ease of transition from two- and three-piece acts to full bands. We had some good comments from the audience, and the compere John Johnson said that we made even him sound good!”