Sam Smith performing on the 2014 Jingle Ball Tour
New York, NY(January 29, 2015)—To celebrate the holiday season, the annual iHeartRadio Jingle Ball brings top rock, pop, and R&B artists across the U.S. each December. On hand this year for sound was Red Hook, NY-based FireHouse Productions, using a L-Acoustics K1 PA system.
The tour began at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 5 with more than a dozen artists, including 5 Seconds of Summer, Ariana Grande, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift. Succeeding shows in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and culminating at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.
“We were looking at nearly a dozen artists in each city, and every show was a different combination of acts, so it was challenging,” recalls Chris “Radar” Russo, director of touring for Firehouse Productions, which sent out a baker’s dozen crew members on its second consecutive Jingle Ball Tour led by Simon Welch along with Dave Natale and Monty Curry.
But it was the first time out for the L-Acoustics K1 on this tour and it made all the difference this year. “The K1 sounds fantastic,” Russo exclaims. “That’s where you start; a great-sounding PA system is the baseline for a roster of artists of this caliber. You can only go out with the absolute best system you have.”
Russo notes that K1 made Curry’s job easier with L-Acoustics’ Soundvision simulation software, which enables system designers to create accurate 3D acoustical models of systems configured precisely for each venue on the tour. “Soundvision was a huge advantage in letting Monty configure the system perfectly for each stop,” says Russo.
On a tour this complex and extensive, it’s a given that logistics can be challenging, but the K1 system is packaged ergonomically for fast load-in, setup, breakdown and load-out. “When you’re doing 10 shows in 16 days, ergonomics are critical, and the K1 comes packaged four modules to a cart, so it goes in, up, down and out quickly and easily,” Russo marvels. “I know that Simon and the rest of the team on the road certainly appreciated that.”
The K1 rig that traveled with the Jingle Ball Tour 2014 consisted of 48 K1 modules, with 14 per side for the two main arrays and 10 per side for the side-fill hangs. Four Kara modules were placed under each hang as down fills, while four more were used as additional side fills. Eight ARCS enclosures were also deployed as side fills, with 22 SB28 subs used for low-end reinforcement. Sixteen LA-Raks, each loaded with three LA8 amplified controllers, powered the entire system, and shows were mixed through DiGiCo SD7 digital consoles at both FOH and monitors.