Electro‑Voice XLC line‑array system covers concerts & corporate for Rhode Island’s Ambient Sound

January 13, 2014

For a sound reinforcement rentals company, deciding on a new system sometimes involves taking a step back from the technical details and focusing instead on a very important big-picture question: what does it take to get the job done? Sound quality is a given; today’s digitally-aware listeners are conditioned to expect clarity and fidelity, and to accept nothing less. But it takes more than that to make a system practical for everyday use in high-pressure, fast setup conditions. There’s no time to engineer complex hangs or to indulge in extended tuning. A rental company needs to be sure that in almost any circumstance the system they provide will go up fast and sound excellent with a minimum of on-site adjustment. That’s why Ambient Sound, a Warwick, Rhode Island AV production and rental company with a long history of relying on Electro-Voice, chose EV again for its most recent rental system.

The new Ambient system was acquired to serve several functions. One is to handle the Sunset Music Series that runs in Newport, Rhode Island each year from May through October. Another is to cover corporate and other events that come up year round. And a third is for the occasional larger event that requires a bigger system. “We already have a couple of smaller systems,” says Mario Pregoni, Ambient Sound production manager. “But we wanted to be able to really put our best foot forward with one main line array system, so we can either make one monster system out of it or cut it into two decent-sized systems.”

“Our EV system is very easy to get a good mix on”

The ultimate solution was a line-array loudspeaker system from Electro-Voice built around 24 XLC127DVX three-way full range line-array elements and 12 Xsub dual 18-inch subwoofers. “We’ve been in business for 27 years,” Barrett says, “and we’ve been using EV for at least 20 years of that, since back when the boxes were carpeted!” One factor in choosing Electro-Voice again this time around was what Pregoni calls the “easy relationship with EV. It’s the technical support and product support from EV itself and also from our EV rep, Audio Pros up in Charlton, Mass. They’re close to us, and they’re pretty quick to get us stuff when we need it. They’ve never left us stranded.”

Ambient had several key requirements for the new system, Pregoni says. One main one was to “get something that was rider-friendly for all the productions that come in, because we do a fair number of concerts throughout the year.” The needs of the Sunset Music Series in particular were an important factor. “We’ve been doing it for 10-plus years,” explains Tim Quigley, vice president of Ambient Sound. “They’re promoted by Live Nation now, and they’ve really started to expand and to get top-level acts coming through, so we needed to make sure that our system there is up to the challenge.”

Staged in an oceanside tented venue, the Series features not only a charming setting, but also a combination of vinyl, steel and asphalt that makes it a challenging mix environment. “The response from everybody who’s come in — people who’ve mixed on all different brands of systems — is that even in that environment our EV system is very easy to get a good mix on,” Pregoni says. “They’ve all been very pleased with the performance and sound quality of our system.”

A sure bet

EV was a sure bet for the series and for other concerts, Pregoni says. “The people we talk to in our industry always say good things about how easy it is to get a mix with EV, because it is pretty much a transparent box. And EV is very well noted for touring, with big acts like AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and Kenny Chesney. So based on that reputation we felt that EV would be a good fit sound-wise.”

Another consideration, Pregoni adds, was that “we wanted something that was flexible enough to use for a lot of corporate events, where they don’t want to see a lot of big bulky boxes or something that’s not going to fit with their decor. The XLC127DVXs fit that category. The boxes are very light considering what they do; I think they come in at about 110 pounds. And we love the rigging on these things; there’s no big bulky fly grid, and the rigging design is a lot better than most of the other manufacturers we’ve seen out there. The arrays go up easy; two guys can put it up and two guys can take it down.”

Before the purchase, Ambient was able to try out a similar system, combining both XLC and smaller-format XLD boxes, for a couple of events, including a visit to Providence by the Dalai Lama. “It was an open, cavernous area with lots of concrete,” Pregoni recalls. “But the system performed very well. Both coverage-wise and sound-wise, it was great.”

Having demoed the boxes, Ambient purchased its own system, which also includes 20 Tour Grade amplifiers, 16 TG7s and four TG5s, that are each equipped with an RCM-28 two-channel digital controller module. The RCM-28s enable system monitoring and DSP, including sound-optimizing FIR filters, and also allow Tour Grade amplifiers to be integrated without additional hardware into OMNEO networks of up to 100 devices per subnet. With this new system Ambient is now able to provide high-quality sound for all manner of corporate functions while maintaining a dozen XLCs and eight Xsubs at the Sunset Music Series venue throughout the season.

Needless to say, happy customers make Ambient very comfortable with its decision to buy EV. “We continue to be very happy with our system,” Quigley says. “It’s been out on several shows already and so far we’ve had nothing but good luck.”

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