VUE Line Arrays Resolve Decade Long Output/Fidelity Struggle for Neon Trees


The VUE on stage with bass player Brendan Campbell (click to enlarge)

With their highly anticipated summer tour kicking off in just a few short weeks, Neon Trees are keeping busy polishing their trademark sound to a mirror-like finish at their Provo, Utah studio.

Fans have many reasons to be excited, with the band’s hot new single “Sleeping With a Friend” doing well, a tour on the horizon, and their forthcoming album, Pop Psychology, dropping on April 22nd. But the album isn’t the only thing new for the Neon Trees. Along for the ride on this year’s tour is a unique cross-stage monitoring and front-fill solution designed around VUE Audiotechnik’s al-8 and al-4 line array systems.

“We’ve been using line array elements for additional monitor and side fill support since 2004,” explained Production Manager Mike Bangs. “Their low profile and high output ensure good coverage across and immediately in front of the stage. Plus their compact size keeps sight lines clear and makes for easy transport.”

Bangs continued, “Over the years we’ve tried boxes from most of the well known brands, but we’ve always struggled to achieve a good balance of output and fidelity. In my experience, most line array elements break down sonically when pushed beyond even moderate volume levels.”

A self-proclaimed pro audio junkie, Bangs prides himself on staying apprised of the industry’s latest innovations. This led him to inquire about VUE’s new al-Class systems and their unique beryllium compression driver technology.

“I’ve known Mike Adams [VUE Audiotechnik Design Chief] for many years and have always been a fan of his work,” said Bangs. “When I found out Mike was working for VUE and developing line arrays with beryllium components, I immediately reached out to see if he had a solution to our ongoing challenge.”


VUE al-8 atop hs-25 subwoofer for cross-stage monitoring, and al-4 stack for front fill. Mike Bangs running monitors in the background (click to enlarge)

VUE line arrays utilize a unique compression driver that incorporates a Truextent® beryllium diaphragm at its core. Beryllium delivers much better high frequency performance thanks to its extremely high stiffness-to-mass ratio, which dramatically reduces breakup at high output levels. The net result is greatly improved high frequency performance at much higher SPLs than more conventional aluminum or titanium designs.

Bangs assembled a new cross-stage monitoring system using a single al-8 element and hs-25 subwoofer on both sides of the stage facing inward. A pair of subcompact al-4 elements placed directly in front of each al-8/hs-25 combination provide additional front fill. The two al-4 stacks are angled slightly inward for ideal coverage directly in front at center stage—a critical ‘sweet spot’ for Neon Trees fans.

A pair of VUE V6 Systems Engines handle power and processing for the al-4 and al-8 line array elements. Both V6 units are networked along with the self-powered hs-25 subwoofers and accessible via the SystemVUE control and monitoring software.

“With every other system we’ve tried, I reach a point where I literally have to choose between output and intelligibility,” continued Bangs. “But the VUE line arrays have no problem delivering on both fronts. We can literally push them to their limits and they remain perfectly clean and clear. And their coverage all the way to the center and directly in front of the stage is nothing short of exceptional.”


Pictured with the VUE systems from L to R: Neal Duffy, FOH engineer; and Mike Bangs, production manager (click to enlarge)

Having finally grappled their high output / high fidelity dilemma into submission, Bangs and the production team are equally pleased with the low frequency improvements brought about by the newly deployed VUE subwoofers.

“When I first set up the hs-25’s, our bass player Branden [Campbell] literally stopped playing and asked, ‘What is that?’ almost immediately,” said Bangs. “The VUE subs not only deliver way more output, but they’re much more musical than anything we’ve used before. You can actually hear notes, which is clearly what Branden was hearing.”

Neon Trees and their new VUE Audiotechnik system hit the road on April 28th with shows in Germany, Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom. Their U.S. leg kicks off in May. For more information or to secure tickets, visit:

Featured Products

al-4 Subcompact Line Array System
hs-25 ACM Subwoofer
al-8 Line Array System