Speakers Cater to Diverse Acts and Sound During Week Long Celebration

Now in its 20th year, the annual MLS (Major League Soccer) All-Star Game spotlights the league’s best players, and this year’s event was no exception. The 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Week boasted a full schedule of activities in the days leading up to the game, with Skyline Park in downtown Denver serving as the nucleus of the festivities. The site’s Main Stage featured a full complement of al-8 High Output Line Array Systems, al-4 Subcompact Line Array Systems, hs-28 Dual 18-inch ACM Subwoofer Systems and hm-112 High Definition Stage Monitor Systems from VUE Audiotechnik. CODE FOUR, of Huntington Beach, California, and H.A.S. Productions, of Las Vegas, exclusively supplied the staging and audio in support of a variety of diverse events, such as the electro-tropical sounds of Bomba Estéreo, MLS Movie Night and concerts from Capital Cities and Aloe Blacc.

VUE al-8 main array at the MLS all star week, provided by H.A.S. Productions

Each side of the Main Stage at Skyline Park had a hang of 12 VUE al-8 Line Array systems, supplemented with 16 hs-28 Subwoofer systems, four al-8s for front fill, and al-4 Line Array systems for side fills. Sixteen hm-112 High Definition Stage Monitors were used for the performers’ on-stage monitor mixes, while power amplification for the entire system came from network-controlled VUE Audio V Series System Engines.

“We have a lot of PA choices in our arsenal,” says Jay Easley, COO of H.A.S. Productions, “but we have come to take VUE as our flagship product. The entire PA system at the Main Stage was VUE speakers, amplification, system processing and monitors — there were more than 100 VUE products. VUE speakers just sound great and for a project like this where we were expecting an audience of five- to six-thousand people, it’s the perfect rig. You’ve got the demanding sounds of an electronic band like Capital Cities, then you’ve got an R&B band like Aloe Blacc, and then you’ve got Bomba Estéreo, which is a very electronic Colombian band. It’s an outrageous variety and the only PA that seemed capable of doing the entire scope of everything we wanted to accomplish was VUE, without a doubt.”

Deploying a PA system of such magnitude might imply brute force but CODE FOUR and H.A.S. Productions were called upon for far more than just making the music loud. “In planning with the city we knew noise abatement was going to be a hot issue for the local residence of the downtown area,” said Kevin Elliott, President & CEO of CODE FOUR. “Per noise restriction standards the city of Denver required no more than 55 dB noise pollution as measured at the doorstep of the condos a few hundred yards behind the stage. This was a key factor in our selection of PA and in its strategic configuration”

In such situations, low-frequency audio presents a particular challenge due to its inherently omnidirectional nature. However by using the hs-28’s onboard DSP and amplification along with SystemVUE software and careful physical positioning of the hs-28s, Easley was able to create a narrow directional pattern in the low frequencies, preventing it from spilling into unwanted areas. “We physically arranged the hs-28s in an end-fire array,” he reveals, “with eight cabinets underneath the stage and eight in front of those, in-between the stage and the barricade. Then we steer using delays. The hs-28’s DSP is built into the cabinet itself, so it took the calculations that we put in and accurately reproduced what we asked it to accomplish — which was pretty impressive. The condo building was located behind the stage, and the end fire array prevented low-frequency sound from spilling off the back of the stage, instead pushing it all forward. It worked out extremely well. In the five nights that we did shows, we never got any complaints from local residents.”

VUE Audio’s hs-28 Dual 18 inch ACM Subwoofer Systems feature VUE’s patent-pending Active Compliance Management (ACM) technology, a hybrid enclosure design that combines aspects of both direct-radiating and bandpass designs, resulting in reduced distortion while optimizing phase and amplitude response. Onboard, driver-specific amplification and DSP enable the hs-28 to achieve a maximum SPL of 133 dB and low-frequency extension down to 35 Hz.

Capital Cities performs at Skyline Park as a part of MLS All-Star week. Photo By: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Capital Cities performs at Skyline Park as a part of MLS All-Star week. Photo By: Isaiah J. Downing -USA TODAY Sports ©2015

“I was very impressed with the sound of the VUE Audiotechnik system,” says Elliott, “but perhaps more importantly our client Major League Soccer and the performers themselves were very happy with it. Each day there were a variety of events leading up to the concert, and the system handled all of them equally well.”

“The VUE system is hi-fi,” elaborates Easley. “It’s a comforting sound, not like a lot of PA systems that start to sound good only as the level goes up. That was important because there were many parts of the event where music had to be played at a low level. The VUE system doesn’t go from better to worse as the volume changes. It stays consistent, which is a very important asset. When we played a little light break music during events like soccer, tennis or even the group yoga sessions, the VUE system performed great.

“What really stands out is that the event was an-all day, corporate-type event mixed with a rock show at night,” continues Easley. “The VUE PA had to go through many different levels like playing audio for video which people were watching at great distances, as well as concerts, speech, and we had a live broadcast from Major League Soccer to television. This was a massive event of stuff coming in and out, so the VUE PA had to perform almost like an IFB for the broadcasters because they were listening to themselves on the VUE rig. The VUE PA was absolutely the best choice for this event.”

Capital Cities performs at Skyline Park as a part of MLS All-Star week. Photo by: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Capital Cities performs at Skyline Park as a part of MLS All-Star week. Photo by: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports ©2015