SSE Hire deployed a JBL 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. SSE bought the VTX system following the formation of UAC, the transatlantic partnership with US company Sound Image. JBL VTX is particularly popular amongst many of the US bands and engineers that tour in Europe with UAC.

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Pete Russell mixing Against The Current

Using JBL VerTec Line Array Calc software, SSE modelled the Zippo Encore stage and designed a system to provide even coverage across the arena with minimal spill onto the other stages. Main hangs comprising 12 x VTX V25 cabinets with 4 x VTX V20 underhangs flowneither side of the stage with outhangs of 8 x VTX V25 and 4 x VTX V20. Along the front of the stage, additional infill was achieved using VT4886 cabinets, with V20 cabinets groundstacked providing additional outfill.

Subs comprised two ground stacks, left and right, of 12 x S28 cabinets and a centre stack of 9 x G28 cabinets, all arranged in cardioid format.

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Flying the main VTX Hangs

Amplification was Crown I-Tech and overall system control was managed via SSE’s own Drive Rack, featuring Lake Processors. This has been repackaged for 2016 with a touch screen monitor and custom panel work for improved I/O patching. JBL Performance Manager software was installed to provide system monitoring of the VTX system.

SSE Hire used its well-established 'flip-flop' system at front of house, greatly reducing changeover times as it allows one mixing console to be loaded up and line tested for the next artist while the artist on stage is mixed on a separate console. Two Avid Venue | Profile desks were provided as house consoles, while two Yamaha PM5D’s dealt with the on stage monitor mixes.

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SSE System Tech Nick Lythgoe setting array angles

Image titleVTX V20 cabinets flown as underhangs to the V25

HARMAN’s Tour Sound Application Engineer Ed Jackson and Live Sound Project Engineer Stuart Strachan from HARMAN’s UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd were onsite at Download. “We’re impressed with the way the project has gone,” they commented. “The feedback we have received from the FOH engineers throughout the weekend has been really positive. Those that had mixed on VTX before felt the SSE implementation was the best sound they had heard from the JBL system.”

SSE Project Manager Pete Russell is also a well established and accomplished FOH engineer in his own right. At short notice on the Saturday, Pete was asked to mix “Against The Current” for their slot on the second stage. It was a first chance for Pete to put the VTX system through its paces and he was impressed with the results. “It sounded great and all worked fine as it did throughout the weekend. It allowed me quickly to get the mix and sound I wanted."