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The Eleventh Hour


Last-minute relocations and narrow stages were no obstacle to the dynamic AV setup at this year's Jordan Festival. The run-up to this year's Jordan Festival had its fair share of upheaval. The annual festival, which attracts musicians and performers from across the globe, was to feature headline act Sir Tom Jones. With Jordan's tourism board jumping at the chance to flaunt its rich historical heritage, the Amman Citadel was the perfect location - sitting majestically on top of a hill, overlooking the eastern part of the city. Triad Live Productions Co was assigned the project in its entirety, from lighting to audio, staging and IMAG.

Only, there was a spanner in the works. 'Sir Tom Jones had to cancel five shows due to illness in Europe just days before his Jordan concert date, pushing the promoters to relocate the festival to two new locations,' explains Amjad T Marar, general manager at Triad Live Productions Co. 'The decision to relocate was because of the uncertainty of whether he was going to be able to perform or not. Any last-minute cancellation at the Citadel would have resulted in a colossal loss for the promoters as a setup at the Citadel would be extensive, including erecting seating grandstands, staging, backstage areas and catering venues.'

The Odeon theatre - a small amphitheatre in downtown Amman - would now host the opening concerts for Tom Odell, Emel Mathlouthi and Reham Abdel Hakim. While the man of the moment - Sir Tom Jones - was appointed a separate, more convenient venue: the Palace of Culture. With such drastic changes at the eleventh hour, any AV commissioned for the prestigious annual event had to adapt and rise to the challenge.

With Triaďs knowledge that KV2 Audio had been used for other events across Jordan over the past seven years, the Czech audio manufacturer seemed the best fit for the project, having handled sound duties for local and regional festivals such as the Jerash and Moments Festival. For this particular festival, Triad had received technical riders with line array systems specified. After calling in technical support from KV2 Audio's Andy Austin-Brown for a recommended setup, as well as KV2's Angus Davidson to conduct the EASE simulation for the venue, the preferences of the artisťs sound engineer were soon swayed.

'As an artisťs sound engineer, your main concern is achieving clear, full-range dynamic sound that is constant in every seat in the house with plenty of headroom and this is where the strength of KV2 Audio lies,' continues Marar. The 800-seat Odeon theatre setup comprised four KV2 Audio ES1.0 3-way, active-driven, point source, horn-loaded systems and four KV2 Audio ES2.6 double, 15-inch subwoofer cabinets, with EPAK2500 for control and amplification. Front-fills were handled by three KV2 Audio EX12 full-range loudspeakers and monitors, and side-fills were all KV2 Audio EX12s. The setup at the Palace of Culture, seating 1,800, was quite a different matter.

'The system we used was flown in an L-R configuration and consisted of the following speakers per side: one KV2 Audio VHD2.0 top, one VHD1.0 down-fill, four ground-stacked KV2 Audio VHD4.18 subwoofers and two flown KV2 Audio VHD2.16 subwoofers. System controllers / amplifiers consisted of VHD2000s and VHD3200s. The audio setup more than fulfilled its promíse, and we received nothing but praise for the sound quality and incredible headroom that was available to the sound engineers at these concerts,' adds Marar. While Marar's days are spent running the live production company, as a live musician also, he is deeply passionate about his decision to use point source systems for these type s of events. 'lt is difficult to visualise the sonic impact of KV2 Audio on the listener until you actually hear it. Like every musician and sound engineer, I am moved by great sound, and the impact that KV2 Audio systems have on the listener is just immeasurable,' he enthuses.

'Many large concert sound production companies would argue that line array technology is the way to go in this business and, in fact, that is reflected in most of the technical riders of major touring artists. Our company was no different - we purchased two well-known brands of rider-friendly line arrays to be deployed for all our live production work. But, in 2007, we witnessed a demonstration of the KV2 Audio VHD system at the Frankfurt Prolight + Sound show for the very first time. From that moment on, we decided to go with KV2 Audio systems for all our production needs,' expands Marar. 

'The idea with line arrays is to fly speakers vertically to  gain maximum forward coverage, by using narrow vertical dispersion loudspeakers to minimise interference between loudspeakers. ln reality, interference, although reduced, is not eliminated, in addition to time shift issues between listening positions. KV2 Audio was able to offer us a single point source with virtually zero interference and without any of the negative issues associated with line arrays. lt was a no-brainer for us. They are constantly evolving and, with the recent introduction of the VHD5.0 for large-capacity audiences, they have raised the bar in this business to new heights,' he adds. 

With audio specifications fulfilled and made-to-measure  in the restricted time frame, the next hurdle was lighting. While the Tom Jones concert at the Palace of Culture had minimal restrictions and could be set up as per the artisťs requirements, the Odeon theatre presented some issues. 'The Odeon is not your typical theatre - iťs a small, very old Roman amphitheatre and the stage there was extremely narrow, so we had to modify the lighting setup accordingly for all three opening artists,' explains Marar. Several DTS XR9 spot and wash moving heads were employed to distribute light across the stage, enhanced with PR Lighting XR 200 5R beam moving heads, follow spots, LED PAR cans and LED bars to intensity the drama and highlight the architecture; all things considered a seamless audiovisual experience. And, in this particular case, one that seems to have only benefited from any adverse conditions thrown at it. 

Source: PRO AVL Asia
Photos: Ali-Barqawi Studios



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