Firehouse Productions Has A Ball With L-Acoustics K1
SR company deploys L-Acoustics’ flagship system on iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour 2014
RED HOOK, New York -- Santa Claus came early again last year as the annual iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour spread its Yuletide rock, pop and R&B across the United States throughout December. Although the roster of artists appearing on each stop varied from city to city, one constant during the trek was the L-Acoustics K1 PA system that helped make every show a success. Provided by Red Hook, NY-based Firehouse Productions, the K1 system’s stellar sound, predictable tunability and compact packaging made it the right choice for the logistically challenging holiday music parade.
The fun began at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 5 with more than a dozen artists, including 5 Seconds of Summer, Ariana Grande, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift. Succeeding shows in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and culminating at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay saw a constant mix of other hit makers take the stages, including Maroon 5, Iggy Azalea, Fall Out Boy, Calvin Harris, OneRepublic, Pharrell, Meghan Trainor, Jessie J and others.
“We were looking at nearly a dozen artists in each city, and every show was a different combination of acts, so it was challenging,” recalls Chris “Radar” Russo, director of touring for Firehouse Productions, which sent out a baker’s dozen crewmembers on its second consecutive Jingle Ball Tour led by Simon Welch along with Dave Natale and Monty Curry.
But it was the first time out for the L-Acoustics K1 on this tour and it made all the difference this year. “The K1 sounds fantastic,” Russo exclaims. “That’s where you start; a great-sounding PA system is the baseline for a roster of artists of this caliber. You can only go out with the absolute best system you have.”
Russo notes that K1 made Curry’s job easier with L-Acoustics’ Soundvision simulation software, which enables system designers to create accurate 3D acoustical models of systems configured precisely for each venue on the tour. “Soundvision was a huge advantage in letting Monty configure the system perfectly for each stop,” says Russo.
On a tour this complex and extensive, it’s a given that logistics can be challenging, but the K1 system is packaged ergonomically for fast load-in, setup, breakdown and load-out. “When you’re doing 10 shows in 16 days, ergonomics are critical, and the K1 comes packaged four modules to a cart, so it goes in, up, down and out quickly and easily,” Russo marvels. “I know that Simon and the rest of the team on the road certainly appreciated that.”
The K1 rig that traveled with the Jingle Ball Tour 2014 consisted of 48 K1 modules, with 14 per side for the two main arrays and 10 per side for the side-fill hangs. Four Kara modules were placed under each hang as down fills, while four more were used as additional side fills. Eight ARCS enclosures were also deployed as side fills, with 22 SB28 subs used for low-end reinforcement. Sixteen LA-Raks, each loaded with three LA8 amplified controllers, powered the entire system, and shows were mixed through DiGiCo SD7 digital consoles at both FOH and monitors.
“Our crew on the tour said that system performed perfectly, every night, every show,” says Russo, who adds that Firehouse’s K1 has become the favorite choice of other leading artists they support, including Radiohead and Peter Gabriel. “They like the same things about it that we do: its fidelity, predictability and ease of operation. And on a challenging tour like this one, you need all of those things in your favor.”
Firehouse Productions can be found online at www.firehouseproductions.com.