Consistent sound in challenging venues

The Newsboys carry a 24-box JBL VerTec 4888 rig. This rig is deployed in an extremely wide range of venues, which makes for quite a challenge on a day-to-day touring basis. One day, they'll be performing in a 2500-seat theatre with ideal rigging points for easily rigging and flying cabinets for perfect coverage. The next day, the venue may be a 1000-seat church without any available rigging, causing me to ground-stack the speakers. The challenge is in making sure that the PA sounds the same in both venues.

Through the beginning of the tour, I work with the Front of House mix engineer to figure out how he wants the PA "voiced". Most engineers do not like the sound of a PA that measures perfectly flat across the audible frequency range. It takes time and excellent communication to come up with a frequency response with specific emphasis, dips (when I mix, I like dips at 250Hz and 1.6kHz) and slopes.

The challenge is to make a 12-box flown array in a bigger venue have a similar voicing as a 6-box ground-stacked array in a smaller venue. SMAART is an invaluable tool for this. Once the FoH mix engineer has a preferred voicing, I use SMAART to measure and replicate that voicing in each venue. I like to compare it to a painter's canvas - I try to give the "painter" the same white canvas every day so he can create his picture. Some days, the canvas is naturally white. Other days, I have to do quite a bit of work to ensure the canvas is the right shade of white before the picture can be created.

This is a 10-box array flown in an average coliseum. The challenge here is to have even coverage in the first few rows since the array is flown so high. The height is required for the distance that the array needs to throw.

This is a 10-box array flown in a theatre. Even coverage from the front row to the back, with a comfortable voicing is fairly straightforward in this situation, provided that the array is designed and flown correctly.

This is a 6-box ground-stack in a church. Projection to the rear of the room is difficult without making the array uncomfortably loud for the people in the front few rows, but it is possible.

Recent Projects

Oprah's Life You Want Weekend

One hundred JBL VTX cabinets flown in seven arrays, driven by BSS London, controlled and tuned in Performance Manager.


Consistent sounding PA deployment in challenging venues.

Dove Awards

The premier Christian Music awards show - Difficult show flow with minimal rehearsal, requiring massive pre-planning.