MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, 21 November 2007 — Hosted by Neil Young, the annual Bridge School Benefit concerts, now in their 21st year, are unique in one important respect: no backline amplifiers are allowed on stage. As in previous years, organizers of this ultimate unplugged concert series held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, again turned to Hayward-based Sound On Stage for an ultra-precision L-ACOUSTICS loudspeaker system to reinforce the acoustic sets of an extremely eclectic lineup of artists including Metallica, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Waits fronting Kronos Quartet, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Tegan & Sara, Regina Spektor and, of course, Neil Young, himself.
Sound On Stage has provided PA systems and engineers for nearly every production of the event over the decades, and has for the past several years specified L-ACOUSTICS products as the PA of choice. “We are a huge fan of L-ACOUSTICS line source array, side-fill and stage monitoring systems,” says SOS General Manager George Edwards, who acted as FOH second engineer during the acoustic concerts. “We flew ten V-DOSC and four dV-SUB cabinets per side, with an additional four SB218 subwoofers ground-stacked and four ARCS cabinets flown per side as side-fills.” Four more ARCS cabinets were provided per side, arrayed horizontally on the stage floor, as in/outside fills. “We also used ten 115XT HiQ bi-amplified coaxial stage monitors,” Edwards adds.
Sound On Stage’s GM cites five reasons why he’s such a huge fan of L-ACOUSTICS’ designs. “First,” he says, “the V-DOSC and ARCS systems offer outstanding intelligibility; I can rely upon them to provide exceptional fidelity throughout the performance space. Second, they are also very coherent, producing even sound coverage across a wide area; third, they are steerable and focused, allowing us to put sound only where we need to; and, fourth, they are very powerful, capable of throwing sound to the far audience sections. Finally, they are flexible; we can use our L-ACOUSTICS rigs on everything from jazz to hard rock. These systems aren’t pigeonholed; they handle a lot of gigs for us. We were very pleased with the results at the recent Bridge School Benefit concerts. Neil [Young] congratulated us on the sound performance, and told us that it went flawlessly.”
SOS Chief Engineer Dennis Deem concurs with Edwards’ assessment, adding that the company regularly supplies sound systems to Shoreline Amphitheatre, which seats up to 25,000 patrons. “With a lot of open mics on-stage during the recent Bridge School Benefit, we needed an uncluttered PA that was very directional. The ARCS cabinets we arrayed on the side were particularly appropriate, because of their tight coverage patterns. Despite the fact that the rehearsals and soundchecks took place in an empty amphitheater--and one that features a lot of reverberant concrete and plastic seating--the event went very well.”
“L-ACOUSTICS line source arrays are the most widely accepted box for touring sound engineers,” Deem considers. “They always sound very nice. These systems are also extremely flexible and work for all of our needs. We can run them wide open--they get very loud--but without ear fatigue; even at 110 dB [sound pressure] levels at the mix position, the V-DOSC array sounds extremely clean.”
“Our L-ACOUSTICS rigs are so popular that we cannot keep them in the building,” Edwards concludes. “We started back in 1999 with 24 cabinets and now we have well over 200 units; I’m often on the phone [to the manufacturer] buying something new!”
For the 2007 Bridge School Benefit, Sound On Stage ran more than 150 lines from the stage to three separate FOH consoles, and 45 lines back to the three stage consoles for monitoring. Young’s recording truck parked backstage also recorded the concert for archiving and Apple iTunes downloads via another console and Pro Tools setup.
Proceeds from the concert each year benefit the Bridge School, an educational program dedicated to ensuring that children with severe speech and physical impairments achieve full participation in their communities through the use of augmentative and alternative means of communication (AAC) and assistive technology (AT) applications. More information on the program and annual concert can be found at the Bridge School website.