SSE Hire deployed a JBL by HARMAN VTX line array package for the first time at Download 2016 on the Zippo Encore stage. SSE Hire has a long established contract with Download festival, where it has supplied the PA for the main stage for many years. For 2016, festival promoters Live Nation extended SSE’s contract to include the second stage, known this year as the Zippo Encore stage. SSE project managers Pete Russell and Dan Bennett decided to deploy the hire department’s JBL VTX system for the second stage.
In this photo article, Stuart Strachan, Live Sound Project Engineer at HARMAN's UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd, describes in detail the VTX system deployment. All photos by Corinne Cumming.
The main Left and Right arrays each comprised of 10x VTX-V25-II-CS with 4x VTX-V20 on each hang acting as a downfill.
There were Left and Right side hangs of 8x VTX-V25-II-CS with 4x VTX-V20 again on each hang for downfill purposes.
The 90 degree horizontal dispersion of the V25 lends itself to the required throw length of 80 metres, whilst the 105 degree horizontal dispersion of the V20 allows for wider coverage of the closer audience areas. JBL's RBI technology allows impressive control of the frequency response within the quoted coverage area, ensuring smooth coverage for all those listeners within that zone.
A "ground" stack of 4 VTX-V20 was placed on either side of the stage wings in between the main hang and the out hang to provide nearfield fill coverage for the audience area between the two hangs.
Front fill consisted of 2x stacks of 4x VT4886 to cover the first few rows at the centre of the audience area.
For low-frequency reinforcement, a mixture of S28 and G28 subs were used. All subs were stacked on the ground and arranged using the easily implemented cardioid presets. Due to the NL4 connector placed on the front of every sub, there was no messy cabling round the front of the sub arrays, which is so often seen with subs from other manufacturers.
The total number of subs was 33, making an almost 1:1 ratio with the V25 (36 in total), following JBL's recommended ratio for the serious low end required for such a hard rock festival.
The system was powered by 68 Crown I-Tech 12000 HD amplifiers with BSS Omnidrive front end processing onboard.
HARMAN's JBL HiQNet Performance Manager software was used for system monitoring and control. The manufacturer's tunings are pushed from the software to the amps and the press of a button, making the VTX system a true turnkey solution.