Phoenix-based AVL rental and staging company adds K2/Kara system to support both national corporate and festival clients
Although its moniker may only suggest visual facilities for a specific geographical area, Video West, Inc. is a full-service AVL rental and staging company that supports corporate and festival clients across the entire United States. To best serve its national client base, Video West has invested in a sizable L-Acoustics K2/Kara system, which has been kept busy this summer on a number of events, including the North Dakota State Fair, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and Citadel Country Spirit USA music festival.
The L-Acoustics system—primarily comprised of 48 K2 and 24 Kara enclosures, 24 K1-SB and 24 KS28 subs, and a full complement of LA12X and LA8 amplified controllers—joins Video West’s preexisting inventory of L-Acoustics V-DOSC and Kudo enclosures, which it purchased when Precise Corporate Staging’s David Stern joined the company as Vice President of National Corporate and Entertainment Accounts last year.
With Video West’s Kara system in near constant use on a steady string of corporate productions—including a series of auto shows in Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York—most of the company’s K2 systems have been on the road this summer for a string of fairs and festivals, starting with the North Dakota State Fair in late July, which featured headline performances from Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Cheap Trick, Nickelback, and others.
In early August, the K2 rig rolled down to South Dakota to provide concert sound for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the world’s largest motorcycle event, which drew half a million bikers to the Black Hills. Used on the Wolfman Jack Stage, Buffalo Chip Campground’s main stage, the L-Acoustics system was utilized over the festival’s ten-day run by Kid Rock, Foreigner, Eric Church, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queensrÿche, and numerous other well-known acts playing for nightly crowds of 15,000 or more.
“Prior to us bringing K2 into Buffalo Chip, the festival happily used V-DOSC for half a dozen years,” notes Video West Chief Operating Officer Aaron Feller. “V-DOSC is certainly a great loudspeaker system, but K2 has been absolutely instrumental in making this festival sound better than ever thanks, in part, to its three-inch horns, which really do a much better job of dealing with the stage’s ‘advertising-heavy’ weather scrims. The high-frequency horsepower of the K2 allows it to beautifully cut through these giant billboards in front of the arrays like they’re not even there. The K2 PA makes everyone happy—festival management, sponsors, bands, and fans alike.”
Less than two weeks after Sturgis, the same system was trucked to Chester County, Pennsylvania where it was deployed for Citadel Country Spirit USA, which hosted performances by Alabama, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Dustin Lynch, Trace Adkins, and Jake Owens, among others.
The system setup for each of these multi-day, multi-artist events was nearly identical: 15 K2 plus eight K1-SB subs per side for the main arrays, nine Kudo enclosures per side as the outfill hangs, and two dozen ground-stacked KS28 subs anchoring the low end. With four Kara spread across the stage lip for front-fill, a dozen X15 HiQ wedges plus ARCS II side-fills atop SB28 side-subs accommodated the musicians onstage. LA12X and LA8 amplified controllers provided loudspeaker power and processing.
“All of the artists that aren’t on in-ears absolutely love the X15 HiQ wedges,” Feller notes. “They’re remarkably lightweight but absolutely huge sounding. I’m not sure how L-Acoustics engineered out the weight—they still sound like big, heavy, wooden boxes, but they’re so much easier to deploy.”
The big sound and light weight of the X15 HiQ, praised by artists and crew, draw from lessons learned based on mechanical and vibrational analysis in the course of manufacturing K2. The K2 findings were applied to the development of the X Series, and the X15 HiQ in particular, to eliminate wood where structure was not needed. “Combined with the ARCS II and SB28, we’ve got a stage rig that keeps all of the bands happy,” enthuses Feller.
Helping keep the Video West crew happy is having a loudspeaker system that not only sounds fantastic but also is able to be flown quickly and efficiently. “One of the touring challenges that L-Acoustics has addressed very well is deployment in a chariot format,” he adds. “Most other PAs are flown using a train system, which requires a lot of real estate on the deck. With our K2, K1-SB, and now even our Kudo loaded onto chariots, they pack and unpack quickly from the truck, roll out easily, and require very little deck space and time to get up into the air. From a logistics standpoint, that’s a great thing.”
Pointing out that the best concert sound system is only as good as the people who set up and run it, Feller is quick to praise Video West Head Audio Engineer Rusty Gage, who worked closely with independent audio contractors Pete Barbaree and Jimmy Kluge to help make this summer’s fair and festival run a success. “These guys have really dialed in our L-Acoustics system to ensure that it performs at its peak,” Feller shares. “And we’ve had such great compliments on it this summer. At Buffalo Chip, the guys from Foreigner were ‘over the moon’ in telling Rusty that it was the best sound they’d had, which is amazing to hear from a band of that caliber. So the compliment goes to both the guys and the gear—together they make everybody look and sound great.”