Miami, FL – August 2009… Never one to hold back when it comes to “telling it like it is,” American radio and television host, author, and conservative political commentator Sean Hannity was on the road during August 2009 with his Freedom Concerts 2009. Featuring Country music greats Lee Greenwood, the Charlie Daniels Band, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Christian artist Michael W. Smith, along with high profile personalities including actor Jon Voight, comedian Rich Little, former Miss America Carrie Prejean, plus Colonel Oliver North and conservative author Mark Levin, the Freedom Concerts 2009 helped raise capital for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to the children of fallen or permanently disabled solders. Sound reinforcement was critical to the success of the tour and, to ensure everything went off without a hitch, a system from D.A.S. Audio was selected.
Smyrna, TN-based Allstar Audio Systems, Inc., a full-service sound, lighting, video, and staging design firm specializing in concert tours, festivals, and the special events market, was contracted to provide sound for the Sean Hannity tour. With stops in Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, Phoenix, AZ, Jackson, NJ, San Diego, CA, Cincinnati, OH, Las Vegas, NV, and Atlanta, GA, this year's Freedom Concerts kept the Allstar Audio crew on the move. Mike Borne, President of Allstar Audio, discussed the challenges the tour presented.
“These concerts were both indoor and outdoor â€˜shed-type' events,” said Borne, “and we averaged between 8,500 – 12,000 people for each concert. Since this tour was for the non-profit organization Freedom Alliance, we were very concerned about controlling expenses. For this reason, all production was kept within two 53-foot semis. Lighting and trussing travelled in one truck, while video (including a large 12-ft. by 16-ft. LED video wall) and the entire sound package travelled in the second truck.”
The sound system deployed by the Allstar crew consisted of thirty-two D.A.S. Audio Aero 38A self-powered, 3-way line arrays—flown sixteen elements per side in a left-right configuration—along with twelve Aero CA-28A self-powered, 2-way, mid-high line array modules for front fill and side coverage. Sixteen powered D.A.S. Audio Compact 218 Sub 2K subwoofers provided low frequency support.
“When the semi backed into our shop, we had about half of the truck available to us for this massive D.A.S. sound system,” notes Borne, “so truck pack had to be extremely efficient. We designed the pack so all of the subs remained on the floor, and we laid plywood on top of them. We then filled that area with the Aero 38A line array cabinets and the other D.A.S. enclosures. It made for a tight, but efficient usage of space. The compactness of the loudspeaker system, including the captive rigging, onboard signal processing, and amplification made this PA the perfect choice for the job. No other system would have packed into the limited amount of truck space and delivered the punch that it did. D.A.S. quality is hard to beat.”
Borne continued, “At each of the venues, we took measurements of the seating areas, as well as angles and elevations. We entered these measurements in our Ease Focus software to develop custom hang configurations for our Aero 38 rig at each location. Due to the large arenas, we found the optimum rigging height to be approximately 40 – 45 feet to the fly bar. This allowed us to point most of the cabinets in a down firing configuration and adequately reach the seating at the farthest distances.”
In addition to long throw and broad, even horizontal dispersion that made for a very present music reproduction system throughout the various tour stops, Borne was equally complimentary of the D.A.S. system's speech intelligibility characteristics. “This is where the D.A.S. Audio system excels and separates itself from others,” said Borne. “Not only did the D.A.S. system work well for the musical portions of this tour, it also provided extremely clear sound for the talking portions. You could understand every spoken word emanating from the stage, even when the guest speaker had the microphone a foot away from his or her mouth. And when the music started, you'd better hang on to your seat!”
With the Sean Hannity Freedom Concerts tour behind him, Borne summed up the experience with the following thought. “We received numerous compliments on the sound during the tour,” Borne reports, “including positive reports from some key engineers, including Bob Workman with the Charlie Daniels Band and John Griffiths, who mixes for Billy Ray Cyrus. To a certain degree, I've been like a kid in a candy store setting up and tuning this sound system. The ease of setup and the fidelity of this large system gave me goose bumps when I turned it on for the first time each day. This has to be one of the best sound systems I've ever had the pleasure of mixing on, let alone owning!”
For additional information about Allstar Audio Systems, visit the company online at www.allstaraudio.com.
About D.A.S. Audio
Headquartered in Valencia, Spain, D.A.S. Audio is one of the world's leading manufacturers of loudspeaker systems, power amplification, signal processing, and related components. For better than thirty years, D.A.S. Audio products have been found on tour with the world's greatest performing artists and installed in many of the most prestigious facilities. For additional information about the company, visit them online at www.dasaudio.com.