Brentwood, TN (November 2, 2016)—Attending the Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Black Diamond Summer Concert, Big Ticket Festival and Lifest festivals all in one summer might sound like a concert-goer’s dream, but for Nashville-based audio provider CTS Audio, it was just another summer spent keeping its JBL VTX Series system busy.
The core system included VTX V25-II loudspeakers, S28 subwoofers and Crown I-Tech 12000HD amplifiers. The VTX V25-II loudspeakers were deployed in circuits of two to maximize headroom and improve resolution for array shading. The CTS team used JBL HiQnet Performance Manager 2.1 software to configure, optimize and monitor the entire system.
“The system gave us amazing flexibility to deliver excellent results from show to show,” said Brooks Abbott, FOH and systems engineer at CTS. “It was rock solid through all of the long festival dates. We didn’t have any thermal issues or component failures, which was really impressive considering all of the heat, dust and rain the system was exposed to.”
“The performance of the VTX Series is unlike anything else JBL has put out before this,” said Mike Taylor, vice president of CTS. “The integration between HARMAN, JBL and Crown makes the PA really consistent, so we can duplicate the sound from festival to festival. The sound quality is very smooth and versatile, so we can have the DJs pumping at night, and support the acoustic acts during the day.”
At this year’s four-day Bonnaroo, CTS supplied the PA for “That Tent”, including eight VTX V25-II loudspeakers per side, 18 S28 subwoofers deployed in six spaced cardioid pairs and eight VT4886 loudspeakers for front fill. “We had everything from bluegrass to rock to DJs,” said Abbott. “The VTX rig delivered high SPL for the hip-hop and house music, and smooth and delicate top end for the bluegrass—it was pretty impressive. Heat and dust were a huge issue, but the amps and speakers held up really well…probably better than we did.”
Presented by Harley Davidson, Black Diamond was held in Marion, Illinois on June 17-18, 2016. The two-day festival featured performances by .38 Special, Foghat, Hank Williams Jr. and more. The main stage rig that CTS deployed was comprised of a dozen VTX V25-II loudspeakers per side, 24 S28 subwoofers arranged in eight cardioid pairs and 12 VT4886 loudspeakers for front fills. “One day of the festival was 80s rock, and the next day we had Hank Williams Jr. and other country artists,” Abbott explains. “The production team really wanted the system to hit, so we really pushed the system. Heat was an issue—load-in day was 115 degrees, so we really had to keep everything cool.”
For Big Ticket Festival, a three-day Christian music festival in Gaylord, Michigan, the lineup included Toby Mac, Switchfoot and NEEDTOBREATHE. At the Big Ticket main stage, CTS deployed a dozen VTX V25-II loudspeakers per side, 24 S28 subwoofers configured in eight cardioid pairs and 12 VT4886 loudspeakers for front fills. “The first night of the festival was country music and the next three nights were Christian artists,” Abbott said. “There were about 15,000 people in attendance, so we needed to cover a large distance. We used the extra long presets for the VTX, which enabled us to preserve the high end and keep the FOH engineers happy.”
One of the largest Christian music festivals in the U.S., Lifest was held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 7-10, 2016. Performers included Toby Mac, Jeremy Camp, Britt Nicole, Andy Mineo and many more. CTS supplied the audio system for the festival’s main stage, which included a dozen VTX V25-II loudspeakers per side, 24 S28 subwoofers deployed in left/right sets and 12 VT4886 loudspeakers for front fills. “We dealt with a lot of wind, which was a huge challenge,” said Abbott. “The VTX system gave us the high-end power we needed to push through the wind, without changing the sound sonically. Even as hard as we pushed the rig, we didn’t blow any drivers.”
Now in its 14th year, Forecastle was held in Louisville, Kentucky on July 15-17, 2016. The diverse lineup included Ryan Adams, Death Cab for Cutie and Big Gigantic. CTS supplied the PA for the Boom Stage, which included a dozen VTX V25-II loudspeakers per side, 24 S28 subwoofers in eight cardioid pairs, and six VRX932 loudspeakers for front fills. “We had a lot of bluegrass as well as house music like Big Gigantic,” explained Abbott. “The engineers really liked it because we were able to use Performance Manager to get every bit of power out of the system without damaging anything.”
In addition to the festivals, the VTX rig was also fielded for Motion Conference, a Christian speaking conference that also features live music performances, and The Music of John Williams with the Nashville Symphony, held at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, Tennessee.