JBL SRX Gives Stage Hand
Yours & Owls Festival in Wollongong added a stage. JBL SRX and Signals Systems stepped up.
Yours & Owls Music Festival in Wollongong had an interesting problem — too many artists on its roster. The solution? Another stage, of course.
The festival in mid October went off without a hitch, with the new C Stage — called the Lalala Stage — winning plenty of plaudits from audio people and fans alike.
“One punter actually made the effort to track me down on Day 2 and let me know he thought the Lalala Stage was the best sounding of the lot!” recalls Signals Systems’ Operations Manager James Suckling.
It was a new JBL SRX system to the rescue. Six mid/high SRX910LA boxes aside, two double-18 SRX928S subs aside and a ground-stacked centre cluster of four single-18 SRX918S subs was enough to cover the sizeable audience area. Signals Systems traditionally manages one of the other festival stages and got the call to look after the Lalala stage, and SRX was a revelation.
James Suckling: “The system arrived Wednesday and we were rigging it on site the following day. It goes up like a dream. The rigging is straightforward and there’s virtually no daylight between boxes, which is what you want.”
For a mid-sized regional rental company like Signals Systems, JBL SRX is a good fit. The powered boxes are easy to pack and easy to deploy — no additional amps, or processing.
James Suckling: “Every box is network linked, audio/data linked and Powercon linked. We had five power runs: one to each sub cluster, then one to each flown cluster. It was absolutely brilliant. After we rigged the PA and let rip, they sounded great straight out of the box with minimal EQ.”
The other advantage of a powered design is the versatility.
James Suckling: “The JBL management software is easy to use and allows us the versatility to make changes to the system coverage without re-rigging. At Yours & Owls we turned down the top boxes during the day, so I wasn’t spraying audio all over the park, and then reactivated those boxes in the evening when the crowds arrived.
“The design might be powered but the onboard Crown Class D amplification is light and efficient: “Even the double-18 subs are only 70kg — they’re easy enough to move around with two guys and put back in the truck.”
CALL ME OWL
The performance of JBL SRX didn’t disappoint. A variety of audio operators came through, new to the PA, and were impressed:
James Suckling: “I knew most of the audio operators and I know how they mix and their preferences, so I was interested in their opinion of SRX. I’d summarise the feedback I got as ‘impressed and surprised’.
“It’s such a clean sound. One of the spinoff benefits is the feedback rejection. I had a performer at one point standing on the crowd barrier, literally in front of the PA and we didn’t get a hint of feedback.
“Another audio guy works with a whisper-quiet singer and usually struggles to get the vocal up in the mix without feedback but he was amazed — he was pushing the vocal up and up without any issues. So that was definitely an eye-opening aspect of SRX I didn’t see coming.”
he was pushing the vocal up and up without any issues. So that was definitely an eye-opening aspect of SRX I didn’t see coming
GOOD TO GO
Signals Systems has been providing audio rental services since the ‘80s, looking after a number of venues in the Illawarra region as well as taking care of the usual range of concert touring jobs and mobile PA gigs. It has a broad remit, and SRX seems tailor-made for a rental company like Signals Systems.
James Suckling: With an inventory of, say, four subs and eight of the smaller SRX 906 array boxes, that system can be split up into two different PAs with one sub a side and two tops a side, using the SRX polemount system. So one side of a PA can become a standalone mobile rig if required. And the thing is, it’s simple to set up: plug a few network leads in; turn on the software; tell it what to do; and you’re good to go.”