NORTHRIDGE, California – Launched in 1995 by ESSENCE magazine, the ESSENCE Music Festival is a New
Orleans celebration of African-American music and culture that showcases a variety of classic and contemporary
artists. Premier Sound Services (PSS) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana brought in a bevy of HARMAN Professional
equipment for the festival’s Coca-Cola and Verizon Superlounge stages, including JBL VERTEC® line arrays, Crown
amps, Soundcraft mixing consoles and BSS, Lexicon and dbx signal processing.
The recent 2012 festival took place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and featured acts as diverse as Aretha
Franklin, Keyshia Cole, Mary J. Blige, Gary Clark Jr., SWV, Dru Hill, the Stylistics and many more.
“This was a major festival and we brought in a major portion of our inventory,” noted Russ Bryant, Director of
Operations and Co-Owner of PSS. “For both Superlounge stages, we had to stack the line arrays on top of the subs
as flying was not feasible in the venue. Because the rooms were very wide and had relatively low ceilings and
structural columns just on either side of both stages, for each room we put one stack on the inside of each column
pointing directly forward and one stack outside of each column at 45 degrees.”
The Coca-Cola Superlounge featured four main speaker ground stacks of three VERTEC VT4888 midsize line array
elements mounted on a VT4888-SF frame atop three SRX728S subwoofers. The speaker complement also included
four VERTEC VT4886 subcompact line array elements for front fill, four VT4886 and two VT4883 subcompact
arrayable subwoofers for side and drum fill, plus 16 SRX712M floor monitors. Thirteen Crown I-Tech 12000 HD
amps powered the main line arrays, with nine I-Tech 8000 amps for the monitors. A 96-channel Soundcraft Vi6
console handled front of house mixing.
The Verizon Superlounge stage employed four ground
stacks of four VERTEC VT4887A compact line array
elements each, mounted on a VT4887-SF frame atop three
SRX728S subwoofers. The system also included four
VERTEC VT4886’s for front fill, two stacks of two SRX722
speakers and one SRX718S sub for side fill/drum fill, plus
12 SRX712M stage monitors. Main amplification was
provided by eight Crown I-Tech 8000 amps, two I-Tech
4000 amps and one I-Tech 5000, with six I-Tech 4000’s
driving the monitors. PSS also used HARMAN HiQnet
System Architect™ and JBL HiQnet Performancer
Manager™ to set up and control both stages.
Soundcraft Series FIVE 48x4 and 52x26 consoles were
used for front of house and monitor mixing, while the
system utilized a host of HARMAN signal processors
including BSS FCS-966 and FCS-960 equalizers, other
BSS compressors and noise gates, a dbx 1046 quad
compressor limiter and Lexicon PCM96 and other stereo
reverb units/effects processors.
“I can consistently depend on JBL no matter what the situation,” said Bryant. “I have used JBL speakers since I got
into the business in 1984. When we decided to purchase a line array system, we considered all the speakers on the
market but decided that VERTEC best met our needs from a price/performance standpoint.”
“One day we’ll be hanging 16 VERTEC boxes per side in an arena and the next, stacking VT4888’s and VT4886’s in a
club with a national touring band. While other speakers may work for one application or the other, we’ve found that
our VERTEC inventory handles any requirement while delivering all the volume and quality we need. Also, since JBL
introduced the VERTEC V5 DSP preset tunings, VERTEC has become even more rider-friendly.”
“In fact, we may be the most impressed by the VT4886,” Bryant noted. “We use them as front fills, side fills, drum fills
and down fills under our VT4888’s and have even hung them 12 per side in smaller venues to do loud rock shows. It
is the best-sounding, smallest, loudest box I have ever used. We have 40 in our inventory and plan to purchase
“I also need to single out the Crown I-Tech HD Series amplifiers,” Bryant added. “We use a variety of models and
they are simply amazing. No other amplifier is as accurate—we’ve scoped them and verified this against other
amplifiers –and is as pleasing to my ear. The internal processing allows us to run the V5 presets, and I find that the
speaker limiting is sonically more pleasing and protects our transducers better. They were a big part of the superior
sound quality we achieved at the ESSENCE Music Festival.”
For more information on Premier Sound Services, please visit www.pssaudio.com
HARMAN (www.harman.com) 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 25 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.