To best serve its national client base, American AVL rental and staging company 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 L-Acoustics K2 and 24 L-Acoustics Kara enclosures, 24 L-Acoustics K1-SB and 24 L-Acoustics KS28 subs, and a full complement of L-Acoustics 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.
In early August 2018, the L-Acoustics 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 numerous well-known acts.
“Prior to us bringing K2 into Buffalo Chip, the festival happily used V-DOSC for half a dozen years,” commented 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 3-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 2 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 set up for each of these multi-day, multi-artist events was nearly identical: 15 L-Acoustics K2 plus 8 L-Acoustics K1-SB subs per side for the main arrays, L-Acoustics Kudo enclosures per side as the outfill hangs, and 2 dozen ground-stacked L-Acoustics KS28 subs anchoring the low end.
With 4 L-Acoustics Kara spread across the stage lip for front-fill, a dozen L-Acoustics X15 HiQ wedges plus L-Acoustics ARCS II side-fills atop SB28 side-subs accommodated the musicians onstage. L-Acoustics LA12X and L-Acoustics 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 noted. “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 L-Acoustics X15 HiQ, praised by artists and crew, draw from lessons learned based on the mechanical and vibrational analysis in the course of manufacturing L-Acoustics K2. The L-Acoustics K2 findings were applied to the development of the L-Acoustics X Series, and L-Acoustics 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,” enthused 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 added.
“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 dialled in our L-Acoustics system to ensure that it performs at its peak,” Feller shared. “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 calibre. So the compliment goes to both the guys and the gear—together they make everybody look and sound great.”