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Halestorm rocks Illinois State Fair with Electro‑Voice X2 line array system

October 25, 2018

Halestorm rocks Illinois State Fair with Electro-Voice X2 line array system

  • Mixing on an X-Line Advance system for the first time, FOH engineer Mike Mahar praised its sound quality, coverage and headroom
  • System audio routed over a Dante network controlled via an Electro-Voice NetMax N8000 controller
  • System provider Mason Sound required just 16 new tour grade Dynacord TGX20 amplifiers to power the system with 320,000 watts

Burnsville, MN (October 2018): When Halestorm showed up for their headlining gig at the recent Illinois State Fair in Springfield, tour/production manager and FOH engineer Mike Mahar didn’t know what to expect. Seeing the compact Electro-Voice X-Line Advance arrays flanking the stage across from a very wide grandstand across a dirt racetrack did not initially inspire a lot of confidence.

“A high performance audio system can allow you as an engineer to have the rare transcendental moment that really brings you back to your basic love of music – which is why I do this in the first place.”

“I remember thinking, ‘that system doesn’t look familiar and the boxes are kind of small.’ Plus, there was horse racing all afternoon, which meant no time for a sound check. So I knew we would just have to roll with it,” he recalls. “Fortunately, the tech crew was from Mason Sound. I’m always happy to see Dave Mason and his guys on a gig, so when they assured me the EV X2 was their system of choice, I figured we were in good hands.”

The system consisted of twin 18-box hangs of X2-212/120 line array loudspeakers, with a total of 32 X12-128 dual 18-inch subwoofer providing the lows. Two six-box X2-212 arrays were groundstacked as outfills to cover the extreme ends of the very wide 10,000-seat grandstand. A total of 16 new Dynacord TGX20 amplifiers – each one packing 20,000 watts into just two rack spaces – provided ample power. Everything was Dante networked via an Electro-Voice NetMax N8000 system controller, enabling monitoring and control of each line array element’s parameters via laptop.

“The Illinois State Fair was our first time using the new Dynacord amps, and they were flawless for full the 10-day run,” says Dave Mason, president of Mason Sound. "Each rack of four powered a full 18-box array plus outfills, or a block of 16 dual-18 subs, and with tons of headroom. They really help get the most out of our X2 systems, and are an amazing addition for us.”

For Mike Mahar and Halestorm, that night’s show was a revelation. “It’s always a bit of a nervous moment coming out of the gate with no sound check,” he says. “But once the band hit, I was instantly overcome with the feeling that this was going to be a good night. The quality of the audio being reproduced was outstanding. The low end was nice and fluffy, punchy but without the dreaded power alley we all love to hate. Nice, even coverage, plenty of headroom in all the right places, and very little need for EQ.”

Having mixed Halestorm for seven years across three albums, Mike Mahar has experienced his fair share of “first time” concerts with an unfamiliar sound system. He counts the 2018 Illinois State Fair as being among the best of those experiences.

“I recall being surprisingly happy. Everything was good as gold right from the start, so I felt like I could just relax, enjoy myself, and mix a great rock show,” he reports. “A high performance audio system can allow you as an engineer to have the rare transcendental moment that really brings you back to your basic love of music – which is why I do this in the first place. It doesn’t happen often, but that is exactly what I experienced on this particular night, mixing on the EV X2 rig for the first time.”

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