Soundworks all-Wavefront Precision deployment delivers the best yet for Folk Festival

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Soundworks all-Wavefront Precision deployment delivers the best yet for Folk Festival

Soundworks all-Wavefront Precision deployment delivers the best yet for Folk Festival

UNITED STATES – Martin Audio partner Soundworks of Virginia outfitted the five main stages of the Richmond Folk Festival, an annual celebration of American culture and roots music, with state-of-the-art tunable Wavefront Precision line array speakers manufacturer’s technology.

Promoted by nonprofit Venture Richmond, this free three-day festival, which Soundworks has been a part of for more than a decade, is held annually in the city’s downtown Riverfront Plaza area, spanning an area of ​​nearly 20 acres. An offshoot of the National Folk Festival, it is one of Virginia’s largest events, attracting approximately 200,000 visitors from across the country and featuring more than 30 global artists.

Some 130 Martin Audio components were specified on the site, and Soundworks founder and CEO Steve Payne notes that this exhausted the 124 available channels of their 31 iKON iK42 amplifiers, which were detailed to drive the various platforms. sound system in 2-box resolution. .

For the main stage in the Altria Amphitheater, they turned to Martin Audio’s larger WP format, with 12 WPL speakers per side, plus three SXH218s per side. Four WPSs were deployed for frontfills, with an additional CDD-LIVE 15 above an SXP218 on each floor flank for sidefills.

The smaller Dominion Energy dance pavilion (under an 80ft x 160ft tent) saw eight WPCs fly per side on two decked SXH218 subs per side, with CDD-LIVE 15 on an SXP218 on each wing providing infills side. Additionally, ten Martin Audio XE500s were supplied as stage monitors.

The CoStar Group Stage was mounted in an 80ft x 120ft tent with six side-driven WPSs on two SXC118 subs. The CarMax stage was set up similarly, but with the addition of four XP12s as fills and delays. Finally, the smallest of the tents (50ft x 100ft) housed the Virginia Folk Life Stage where four WPCs were stacked over an SXH218 subwoofer on each side.

Working alongside National Traditional Arts Council production manager Colleen Arnerich and Venture Richmond festival director Stephen Lecky, Steve Payne described Soundworks’ approach to sound design orchestrated by the president and engineer of the his company principal, Grant Howard, and System Tech. Bryan Hargrave. They specified the sound systems to meet or exceed the parameters set by sound designer, Steve Fisher.

“We were given free rein to deploy the systems as they saw fit best,” noted Payne. “In our experience, the difference between 1 and 2 box resolution is noticeable when listening critically, but not dramatically. Having to run the systems at 2-bin resolution due to the available amplifier channels was only a minor concession.

“After using Wavefront Precision systems for over two years, we have become accustomed to achieving high levels of performance with 100% consistency. It’s a very gratifying situation. »

He added that the systems received positive reviews from all the sound engineers on site for their flat response and ability to accurately reproduce the myriad musical styles and instruments encountered at such a diverse festival.

“Although the site is large enough that interference between stages is not an issue, the Hard Avoid feature [in Martin Audio’s DISPLAY software] was used on all four tent stages to draw sound away from the tent roof, which significantly reduced reflections and had a major positive impact on sound quality on these stages. Engineers at all of these stages have positively commented on the sound quality in an environment that often presents sonic challenges and can leave something to be desired in terms of clarity and articulation.

“It sounded awesome all over the site,” said Colleen Arnerich. “Upgrading the Folklife scene from CDD-LIVE last year to WPS this year has made a huge difference.”

Bruce Gasper, FOH engineer on stage at the Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion, also observed that WPC sounded “very clean; flat and smooth across the entire frequency range, with even coverage across the entire site.

Meanwhile, Grant Howard of Soundworks believes that “in over ten years of running the Richmond Folk Festival, it was hands down the best yet”.

Summing up the success of the event, Steve Payne said: “While we are proud of the work we have done each year, we also believe that we have always managed to improve from year to year. This year, I believe, has marked a high point in our efforts, there has been virtually no compromise in our efforts to deliver the best possible sound at every stage on the festival site. This was 100% the result of our major effort over the past two years to grow our inventory of Wavefront Precision speakers and iKON amplifiers.

Finally, Stephen Lecky spoke about Soundworks’ enduring presence at the event. “I had the good fortune to intern with them in the late 90’s as a high school student, and saw firsthand the incredible work and care they provide to their clients. C t was a no-brainer for me to recommend them professionally when I accepted this position.

photos: Dave Parrish Photography

Soundworks all-Wavefront Precision deployment delivers the best yet for Folk FestivalSoundworks all-Wavefront Precision deployment delivers the best yet for Folk Festival

November 8, 2022

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