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PA Plus and HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC® Line Arrays Bring Out the Best at the Canadian Country Music Awards


NORTHRIDGE, California– North York, Canada-based PA Plus recently provided HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC® line arrays for the Canadian Country Music Awards. Held at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, highlights for this year’s Awards included Dean Brody earning “Artist of the Year” honors and “Album of the Year” for DIRT, with Taylor Swift winning the CCMA Generation Award.

With 19 live performances over two hours, Mark Radu, Systems Engineer for PA Plus and FOH engineer for the awards show, was challenged with accommodating a large number of artists in a short time span, while adjusting for some other unusual conditions. “This setup was a little different because there were two satellite stages in front of the main stage where presentations and smaller performances took place, so it was a bit complex since we had two completely different zero time reference points,” Radu said. “Independently delaying and processing the main stage and satellite stage inputs provided a seamless, real-time transition between the two.”

PA Plus deployed a system that featured 48 JBL VERTEC VT4889 fullsize line array elements (12 per side for the main PA and 12 per side for outfill), supplemented with 16 VT4880 fullsize arrayable subwoofers. An additional eight SRX712M loudspeakers were used for front fill and a total of 68 Crown I-Tech 5000 HD amplifiers powered the system.

The entire system was configured, tuned and controlled with JBL HiQnet Performance Manager™. “We have used Performance Manager quite a bit but I think this is the biggest event we’ve used it on, and we really stretched the limits this time, using absolutely everything it has to offer,” Radu commented. “Once again, it worked amazingly well for us.”

Prior to setting up the system for the awards, Radu worked with his Performance Manager show file offline. “I was mostly maximizing what I would call the ‘array-specific correction tools’—circuit level gain shading, tapering EQ, etc.,” he said. “I did this in conjunction with the virtual test mics at my disposal in Performance Manager and JBL Line Array Calculator II. I basically tuned the system from my office a week out from the show. Once onsite, seven live test mics confirmed the accuracy of the virtual tuning. It was so on the money it was scary. The entire system was within +/- 1.5dB from the front row to the last seat in the house.”

Radu continued to note three qualities that set Performance Manager apart from the pack: “Firstly, from start to finish, the entire process is all self-contained. Secondly, failure-wise, I’m not tied to a single FOH processor. Worst-case scenario, f my computer dies, the system is still up and running, because Performance Manager is a GUI at the end of the day. Lastly, because everything is happening within the amps, having no more cable runs or additional A/D D/A conversions between my system DSP and amps is a welcome change. I don’t have the 300-foot snake anymore because everything is happening in the amps. I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of the Performance Manager platform and now I’d be hard-pressed to do a show any other way.”

In addition, Radu and PA Plus continue to rely on VERTEC for the most critical and highest-profile events. “It doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re mixing or what volume level the performance is, the VERTEC boxes hit everything,” Radu noted. “It sounds great with country acts, it sounds great with rock and roll acts, and everything in between. It’s the most predictable line array loudspeaker I’ve worked with and, having worked with it so much, I know exactly what to expect every time.”

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HARMAN ( designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson. The company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,400 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $4.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.