Elite Multimedia Puts Faith in Electro-Voice for Daytona 2010
What does it take for a busy, growing company to deliver sound, lighting, and video with top-level production values across a broad spectrum of event sizes and types? For John Mills, senior engineer at Elite Multimedia in Memphis, Tennessee, a big part of the answer lies in using components whose consistent performance takes the guesswork out of system configuration and setup. That’s why, when it comes to sound systems, Elite relies on Electro-Voice loudspeakers, amplifiers, and control/DSP systems.
Active in both Christian event production and installation for the HOW market, Elite runs lean, with nine full-time employees who wear a multitude of hats. That makes it crucial for the company's gear to support what Mills refers to as "ease of deployment," meaning that it should require the minimum possible design and setup time to achieve the maximum possible sonic quality. Mills says that the Electro-Voice advantage in this area begins with the LAPS II line array prediction program.
"Part of what makes the deployment of an EV system so easy," Mills says, "is that if you take the time to accurately enter all the information about the room into LAPS and you hang the boxes as suggested your system will sound great with minimal tuning. The system performance, as measured with Smaart®, will actually be what LAPS predicted. So the fact that we can rely on our EV components to consistently perform the way they are supposed to makes our setups much easier."
Mills' confidence in Elite's Electro-Voice gear was reinforced at the recent Daytona 2010 event produced by the Christian youth organization Student Life, with its featured performance by five-time Dove Award winner Chris Tomlin. Set in the arena at the Daytona Beach Convention Center, the gathering drew a devoted audience of over 7,000. Elite configured, provided, and operated an all-EV sound reinforcement system for the event. "The system delivered amazingly accurate coverage and overall power for its size," Mills says.
The sound system's left and right main arrays were each made up primarily of a dozen Electro-Voice XLC127DVX three-way, high-output compact line-array elements. "The new DVX versions of the XLC series are completely upgraded from the previous XLC series, including neodymium drivers," Mills says. "I really like the smoothness of the sound, and they really sound great when used with EV's FIR-Drive loudspeaker processing, which is stellar."
For delays, Elite used Electro-Voice XLD281s in three hangs of five boxes each. Four XLD281s were also hung at the bottom of each main array, covering close-in areas in conjunction with a half-dozen PX1122M high-output 12-inch two-way cabinets that were used for front fill. Another eight PX1122Ms were used for on-stage monitors.
"The PX is our 'solve-all-problems' box," Mills says. "We like them because they are very versatile: we can use them as monitors, or for front fill, or as the mains for a small meeting room. For the production side of our business it's great to have a cabinet that we can use for a variety of situations. We were a little uncertain when they were first suggested to us as a multi-purpose box, but as soon as we heard them we were sold. Some of our clients who really wanted 15-inch drivers were blown away when they heard these little 12-inch guys. With the FIR-Drive processing their clarity is second-to-none."
Rounding out the low end was a set of 16 Xsub(F) X-line two x 18-inch subwoofers. "We space the subs on 6-foot centers across the front of the stage," Mills says. "To make the wave-front spread out evenly, each pair of boxes to the left and right of center is processed with progressively more delay. We have found that this gives amazingly tight and even coverage in arenas, especially compared to the 'power alley' you usually get with traditional left/right stacks of subs."
The entire system was powered by Electro-Voice TG7 tour grade amplifiers, each equipped with an optional RCM-26 DSP and control modules. "The TG7s are a killer amp; they can handle anything," Mills says. "We build each of our racks with four of these amps, and because of the RCM-26 cards we can deploy those racks in any situation. We don't need to custom-configure the racks for each job, which saves us a lot of time."
The RCM-26 modules allow each amp to be addressed over IRIS-Net from an Electro-Voice NetMax N8000 300 MIPS digital matrix controller. "NetMax lets us control any system parameter over IRIS-Net from any seat in the house, all via a tablet computer," Mills says. "It’s really great to walk around and remotely adjust things like delay and EQ."
Mills adds that "for smaller shows that don't have complicated zone setups, we can save the client some money by using EV's UCC1 USB-CAN converter instead of NetMax. The UCC1s let you talk to the RCM-26 cards directly over USB."
Taken together, Mills says, the consistency and sound quality of Electro-Voice gear is what has made it the foundation of the company's projects in both production and installation. "The combination of the XLCs with our TG series amps is super-consistent: you know how the system is going to sound and respond," he says. "Sonic accuracy and seamless integration have always been a big selling-point of the top-line PA brands, and that's exactly what we're getting with EV's FIR-Drive systems."