It was a night to howl for electronic music fans at USC’s Freaknight, HARD's Day of the Dead, and Insomniac’s BOO!, and for all three events, PK Sound brought the system to make the howling happen. For FOH engineers, Trinity once again proved how critically important its remote controlled technology can be.
More than 4,000 fans packed Room C of the Tacoma Dome for USC Freaknight on October 30 and again on the 31st. To meet their expectations for phenomenal sound, the challenge was a single point-rigging hang instead of two points, which meant using six boxes per side due to weight restrictions. “This led to a bit of worry about the 250-foot throw in the room,” says Kyle Van Yzerloo, FOH engineer. “As it turned out, not only were the boxes powerful enough, but by using Trinity’s unique 3D wavefront control, we were also able to make sure that the sound was traveling far enough to cover the entire sound field and still be clear and clean for everyone in front. I’m convinced Trinity is the only system that can perform to that level with only six boxes per side.”
Artists who had never played on the PK Trinity system before, such as the UK’s Troyboi were, in his words, “absolutely blown away. I’ve never heard anything like it before in my life.”
Meanwhile, costumed revelers were reaching their own freakish intensity at Insomniac’s BOO! at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. With a crowd capacity of 8,800, this large venue demands superior performance from the world’s finest sound systems. PK Sound’s main array consisted of 12 Trinity boxes per side, along with 30 of PK’s signature CX800 subwoofers, adding an outfill line array of eight VX10 cabinets per side for the side balcony, and a set of five VX12 for front fills. The sub configuration was set as three distinct delay zones, to achieve satisfactory coverage to fill the room.
Armed with that powerhouse, FOH engineer Sebastien Pallisso-Poux was determined to bring BOO! to a whole new level. That meant dealing with some tricky issues. “The first challenge was the width of the stage, which was 90 feet, due to the lighting rig. These events are famous for their lighting and other visual effects, so compromises had to be made to ensure the line array didn’t obstruct any sightlines to the screens and lighting. Thanks to the flexibility of Trinity, the box delivered a nice, wide spread of 120 degrees down to 60 degrees – so we could make adjustments after flying the array, even during the show.”
Trinity’s technological advancements also solved the issue of shooting at the reflective six-foot balcony face above the main floor. “We didn’t have a separate line array for the back of the house portion of the balcony,” notes Sebastien, “but we could adjust the angles of the boxes at any time to shoot under and above this undesired portion, as well as the main dance floor. The spread between two boxes can be as wide as 5.5. degrees vertically.” Because of Trinity's very high tolerance to high SPL level, there was minimal perceivable loss in the spectrum or intelligibility of the midrange, even from 250 feet away.
Meanwhile, in southern California’s Fairplex, audio production manager Adam Lewis was being haunted by the spectre of a long, narrow metal and concrete structure demanding 780-foot-long coverage. Adding to this was a steeply pitched roof with further obstructions waiting to bounce back the sound. “With that long of a throw, we had to bring the horizontal angle of the Trinity array in 60 degrees at the top and flair it out to 120 degrees at the bottom. We also had two sets of stereo delay hangs plus the main. Adjusting to these challenges was made possible because of Trinity’s versatility,” explains Adam.
The versatility of the system was showcased not only in adapting to the venue, but also to the range of performers. While Trinity once again proved why it is the iconic system for the EDM genre, HARD Day of the Dead also showcased the sound system’s ability to shine in the midrange, to optimize the power of the vocal performances of live bands such as Hot Chip and Club Cheval, who delve into various genres. But for the hard-core electronic music fans intent on seeing their idols, the system easily adjusted to deliver the heart-pounding wizardry of Skrillex, Nero and other major performers in the lineup.
For Halloween 2015, the witches and warlocks who haunted BOO!, Day of the Dead and Freaknight for two amazing nights came away with their bloodlust for bass and cutting-edge sound fully satisfied. To quote many, “It was freaking awesome!” For the FOH sound engineers, it was anything but a nightmare.