IN CONCERT: SPANISH RENTAL FIRM SONOAL S.A. SATISFIES INTERNATIONAL
TOURING ARTISTS WITH NEW JBL HLA SYSTEM
Old Audio Rental Firm Supplies Popular Touring Acts With New Technology
International touring artists perform in foreign countries, many
surprises often await them. When a group travels with its own sound
equipment package, things can be relatively consistent. However,
when a touring group relies on regional sound production companies,
results can be mixed. Sound system professionals can do their best
with advance work and onsite system adjustments to minimize unpleasant
surprises for the artists they work for, but the truth is that
available rental sound systems in many corners of the globe can
range from 'superb' to mediocre at best.
one of Mexico's hot new acts, recently undertook a nationwide tour
of Spain, stopping in 16 different cities on a whirlwind tour that
had them performing on systems from more than one dozen different
rental sound companies. The band's hit single, "Mighty Power",
is currently in heavy play rotation on European MTV. This has led
to a dramatic increase in the group's live concert profile in Europe.
band's twin bass guitar lineup and powerful, hypnotic guitar/drum
rhythms place serious demands on the portable sound reinforcement
systems they require for concert use. "We always try to get
the best rig we can, but in reality we must work with what the
promoter supplies for us," commented Molotov's front-of-house
mixer, Jose "Chico" Luis. "In our home country,
we have service providers who are used to our needs. Here, we must
take what we get."
Molotov's show in Granada, Spain, Sonoal S.A. of Almemia in Southern
part of the nation was selected. The firm brought in 16 of its
new HLA model 4895 3-way array modules and 8 HLA model 4897 bass
units. "The HLA system is very clear, with low distortion," noted
soundmixer Jose Luis. "My challenge is to ensure that the
audiences hear live music that sounds like Molotov's records, and
the music is really powerful. We demand a lot from a concert system."
S.A., based in Almeria on Spain's southern coast, has supplied
portable sound systems for many of Spain's popular music acts,
and regularly supports international artists who come to the country.
The firm recently purchased the new HLA system from JBL Professional
specifically to provide high-level, full-bandwidth sound to a wide
variety of concert artists.
are many choices today in speaker systems," advised Sonoal
owner Daniel Osorio Herrera, who founded the company in 1976. Together
with his brother Juan "J" Antonio Osorio, he has supplied
audio services for everything from symphonic and opera productions
to heavy-metal music festivals. "There is probably no single
system that would make everybody happy
some engineers think
they prefer this type, some prefer that type. It is like fashion.
So, the truth is that as a businessman, if I wish to actually stay
in business and make a profit, I must go with the proven names
in equipment instead of just spending money every time there is
a new trend. A rental firm must have equipment that is universally-respected,
that can sound good for many types of customers, and that is flexible
enough to handle many different types of events."
relies on mixing consoles from Midas. "In fact, we were the
first company in Spain to receive Midas 200 desks, which we've
used reliably for some time now. That has proven to be an excellent
investment. We mainly rely on Crest amplifiers, which most touring
audio engineers are familiar with. Our most recent new equipment
investment has been the HLA system from JBL, which is rather new
but is becoming more popular as time goes on. When people use it,
they are quite impressed with its clarity and power."
reports that, while the company often services international artists
that come through the country, about 80% of their overall business
comes from regional acts based in Spain. "For the regional
bands, having the lowest price is usually their first consideration.
For the international touring groups, having the best quality system
is what they look for. So it is a fine balance. A system has to
both pay its own way on smaller events, and be able to satisfy
the high-end clients."
Molotov's show, held in Granada's 8,000-seat Palacio Deportes Zaidin,
Sonoal technicians set up main left and right stacked arrays, each
made up of 8 HLA 4895 mid/high units loaded with JBL's new Differential
Driveď technology (10" and 14" cone speakers) and 4 HLA
4897 2-18" carbon-fiber (non-wood) bass enclosures equipped
with JBL's Linear Dynamics Apertureď vent design. These special,
aerodynamically-modeled ports increase the efficiency of each bass
cabinet by enabling more VLF (Very Low Frequency) energy to be
developed by the direct-radiating design of the 4897 through reduced
air turbulence in the port area. The 4897's rigid construction
also increases output by reducing the amount of sound lost to cabinet
vibration such as occurs in traditional wooden enclosures.
4895 3-way unit and 4897 bass unit is built into JBL's patented
Spaceframeď, and both units are the same exact size and are fitted
with identical hanging hardware. This enables sound technicians
to readily assemble speaker arrays with different performance characteristics
as needed. A plus when configuring arrays to meet the architectural
configurations of different venues is that the 4895's tilting waveguide
lets low, mid and high frequency elements be positioned as desired.
power the HLA speaker system, Sonoal relies on power amplifiers
from Crest Audio. Each amplifier rack houses Crest Model 9001's
to handle the 4897 bass units and the low-frequency sections of
the HLA system. A Crest Model 8001 is used to power the dual-coil
mid-frequency drivers, and a 7001 powers the high-frequency compression
drivers. "The system is very efficient, when it comes to power
consumption and overall output," noted Juan Fava, system engineer
for Sonoal. "We get a great amount of power output from a
relatively small amplifier stock."
CHECK & SHOWTIME
their tour of Spain, Molotov was supported by different opening
acts in each city. "Our band will often try to get a complete
sound check," noted front-of-house mixer Jose "Chico" Luis. "If
we can't get the musicians in, then the stage technicians often
check out everything. Our crew almost all play some instruments,
so that is a help."
supplied Chico with Klark-Teknik graphic equalizers and a K/T real
time analyzer. Compressor-limiters from dbx and special effects
processing from proven manufacturers like Lexicon and Yamaha rounded
out the electronics racks. A JBL DSC280 system controller was located
at the front of house position, and Chico made his own subtle adjustments
to suit his needs for Molotov's sound. "We supply all the
professional tools that are commonly expected by a touring engineer," noted
Sonoal owner Dianel Osorio Herrera.
Molotov's set started up upon completion of the opening act's performance,
Chico worked to achieve a thick, low-frequency rich mix that was
supported by the band's two bass guitarists, who played simultaneously. "Each
plays a different part on each tune," he noted. "And
one of our featured lead vocalists is also one of the bass guitarists,
so that is unique as well."
of Spanish music fans happily sang along with the band's major
hit singles, recognizable from the region's theavy radio and MTV
play. "Like the record, that's what they expect", noted
Chico. "Although we are from Mexico, the people know Molotov
here in Spain from the sound of our music, not from personalities
or anything like that."
A WIDE VARIETY OF EVENTS
addition to supplying concert audio services for touring rock acts,
Sonoal is well-versed in sound reinforcement needs for civic ceremonies
and religious pageants, classical and orchestral productions and
jazz, traditional and other types of music festivals. The company
can be reached by contacting:
Osorio Herrera, Owner
Carretera de Ronda
375 O4008 Almeria
Phone 349 5025 0887
Fax 349 5026 3956