Pyramid Audio of Jefferson, Louisiana has been doing production for Fais Do Do and other stages at JazzFest over the years and instinctively understands the kind of sound quality required by these kinds of music. Chief Audio and FOH Mixing Engineer Eddie Pearce was looking for equipment that could measurably enhance the audio quality, yet operate as efficiently as possible.
As he puts it, “We chose the APB Spectra 48 console because one of the local bands I work had used the smaller ProRack Monitor mixer and it had very unique features and the sound of a very expensive large format console without the high price. I was also impressed by the sonic nature of that console.
”When it came time do JazzFest, I worked out a situation where we could try out the larger format Spectra 48 console and we took it on sight unseen because of the quality of the ProRack. It worked incredibly well and made mixing in that environment fun because I got to mix music, I wasn't mixing the board. Plus I loved the sonic quality of the console. It was extremely easy to work with, very intuitive, with some interesting features in terms of how they group Left-Right Mono outputs.
”As far as the shows were concerned, everything worked perfectly in the sense that I'm normally used to tweaking out the main PA system to make up for inconsistencies in a console and I was able to re-tweak the FOH system a bit more flat without having to make up for harshness or inconsistency in the sonic output.”
Given his use of a critically acclaimed analog console, Pearce’s choice of Powersoft’s digital amplification system for the subwoofers was an interesting departure. Asked how he came to this choice, Pearce typically explains, “We had a relationship with Tom Bensen for years in terms of other companies and everyone at Pyramid respects his opinion and knowledge. I started out with two amplifiers on each side just to power the subs. Then he convinced me to use the Powersoft K20 and that one amplifier replaced four 5000-watt amplifiers!”
Asked to elaborate on the K20’s performance, Eddie adds, “the output is exceptional and the amp’s operation was flawless. It did everything I asked it to, and there are some very cool cable propagation and impedance matching settings in the system that work so well, you can actually hear the difference. It really helped me to phase and time-align the subs. Even though they’re on the same phase plane, cable length and cable impedance can throw a normal amplifier off kilter and there’s a setting on that amp that makes up for that, which is very impressive. The sound was different too. The amp actually directs the sound to the audience.”
Summing up, Pearce explains, “In terms of reaction to the sound quality, we got lots of compliments from the stage and members of the audience. It’s sort of a family affair at that particular stage and family and friends of the fan were out front enjoying the show. If the sound’s not right, you always hear about it, but we heard nothing but good things.”