Alcons Enters US Touring Market To Rave Reviews
Taking place in California’s Napa Valley, one of the world’s premier wine regions, BottleRock is an unusual festival which combines live music with the region’s tradition of wine, brewing and food. This year’s festival saw the Alcons LR18 mid-sized pro-ribbon system make its live debut.
This year’s BottleRock was staged over the weekend of 27th – 29th May, headlined by Steve Wonder, Florence and The Machine and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Just as iconic in their own way were the headliners over on the Culinary Stage – chefs Gordon Ramsey, Masaharu Morimoto and Tyler Florence.
Delicate Productions, an Alcons Pro-Ribbon Partner, supplied and managed the technical production for the festival, choosing it to give the LR18 its first live, public outing on the festival’s Lagunitas stage
“It has a clarity and punch which was very noticeable, while the upper midrange doesn’t become increasingly harsh as overall volume is raised, making it easier to mix at higher SPLs.” Andrew Freid, sound engineer
Launched at ProLight+Sound in April, the LR18 is a three-way, ‘compact mid-sized’ line array, which combines the highest possible sound quality with very high SPL capabilities and throw. By implementing Alcons’ multiple-patented pro-ribbon technology for mid and high frequencies, a super-fast impulse response with up to 90% less distortion is achieved. This enables the LR18 to offer a fully intuitive linear response, with very high intelligibility and non-compressed, identical tonal balance at any SPL.
The system was used for around 25 different artists over the three days of BottleRock, with genres ranging from country, bluegrass and soul to rock’n’roll and EDM. The position of the Lagunitas stage also meant that containing the sound was critical. All-in-all it provided a good test for the Alcons system – one it passed with flying colors.
The system comprised nine LR18 per side and eight BQ211 subs, plus a pair of VR12s for front fills. Power and control came from six Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers and ALControl remote control software.
“There were strict noise restrictions, so we needed to contain the sound. Because the stage was in a comparatively tight space, the wavefront had to be tightly controlled. The stage also had many artists who went out in front of the main system and fills,” says David Rahn of Alcons US, who was there to support Delicate Productions.
“The system coped incredibly well with all of these factors, it really was the hit of the show. Delicate really liked the fact that the entire sub system only used eight cones and that just two VR12s covered front fill for a 40 foot stage really nicely.”
Andrew Freid mixed around 60% of the artists for Delicate and was very impressed. “Whenever I encounter a new PA there is always a bit of trepidation. But this was erased once I started using the LR18 system, mixing on it was a real pleasure,” he says. “The LR18 has an extremely smooth response, right across the spectrum. It has a clarity and punch which was very noticeable, while the upper midrange doesn’t become increasingly harsh as overall volume is raised, making it easier to mix at higher SPLs. In fact, it almost begs to be driven louder and louder!“
He continues, “The subwoofers also were very punchy and clear without being overbearing. You could feel the low end without it taking over, which is not always easy to achieve. Coverage was also very good, especially considering the relatively small size of the boxes. I would definitely be happy to mix on the system again in the future.”
Indeed, so pleased were Delicate that George Edwards – manager of the company’s San Francisco office – sent a steady stream of sound engineers to the Lagunitas stage to check the system out. One was Kenny Kaiser – Front Of House engineer for The Killers and Brandon Flowers. “I was really surprised at how good it sounded,” he says.
Kenny is also looking forward to hearing Alcons new LR28 touring system. The LR18’s ‘bigger brother’, the three-way LR28 features a 3kW 14” pro-ribbon and has been developed to offer HiFi sound at even the highest concert SPLs.
Already in use in Europe, it has been used on concerts by Van Morrison, Elton John, Roxette, Jose Carreras, Pat Metheny, DJ Tiesto and others. LR28 is expected to make its US debut later in 2016.