North Wales-based ETASound Ltd has extended its long relationship with the Harman Pro brands by investing heavily in JBL VerTec, Crown VRACK amplifiers and Soundcraft’s new Vi1 compact digital desk.

The large order — placed with Harman Pro’s UK & Ireland distributors, Sound Technology Ltd — comes at the end of a hectic 12 months during which the company’s founder Eddie Thomas has supplied many events at the O2 Arena (from his secondary base in London), completed 6 major voice alarm projects in London and Burnley FC’s Turf Moor stadium.

It was to replace their VerTec VT4888DPAN compact line array enclosures and VT4880 subs, which are now permanently domiciled in South Africa, that ETASound placed an initial order for 16 x JBL VerTec VT4889 three-way line array enclosures.

“We expect to add more VerTec later in the year,” confirmed Thomas. “The decision to go with VerTec was that we wanted a large format array system and because our past experience with the VerTec we have found that with correct setup, they sound as good as anything else on the market, while the new VerTec control presets will make a huge difference.”

To maximise performance, ETASound have upgraded to Crown’s VRACK, a tour optimised power amplifier and speaker management rack, designed to work with VerTec. The company purchased four VRACKS — each plugged with three Crown I-Tech 12000HD amplifiers and a globally universal power distribution system, which can be set to comply with US and international power standards.

Predicting that this combination will provide a massive boost to their dry hire business, Thomas states: “VRACK is almost a worldwide standard now for amplifiers.”

The final piece in the Harman Pro jigsaw was the purchase of four of Soundcraft’s new Vi1 compact digital desks (in two batches of two).

“We had an inkling that a stripped down version of Soundcraft’s Vi6 was coming onto the market with a greatly reduced price tag, and so I was ready on the sidelines. When I saw the new desk, its functionality and small footprint in Frankfurt we knew it was going to be a winner, coupled that by using the optical fibre MADI cards and our existing Vi6 fibre based stagebox I could expand the channel count from 32 to 64, the decision became a no brainer.

“These are so versatile that they will run everything from rock ‘n’ roll show to corporate, and we would use it in preference to a small analogue desk. Everyone is really happy with them.”

Further justifying the considerable investment, Eddie Thomas concludes, “There is a double-edge benefit. Whilst the majority of our business is project based with significant amounts of site installation work rather than rental, these purchases not only provide us with state-of-the art equipment that we can demonstrate to clients but at the same time form a high-value concert rig that we can hire out.”