ElectriSound Rental - Monitors anyone?

chris | 18 April, 2017 22:52

At ElectriSound we are busy making things sound great so we don't post here as often as we'd like! We've been working on re-arranging and re-designing some racks for the summer season and while its no secret that we stake our reputation on a lot of our gear - the KV2 ESM12 monitors are no exception.

ESM12 on CA4 Rack We've received high praise on the passively time-aligned boxes from the first time we took them on the road in 2012. The boxes sound great and if you ever had the chance to look at them on an analyzer you'd understand just how remarkable their performance is for a passive box. For monitoring systems that’s a key convenience item for festival style shows. Powered boxes can outperform their passive counterparts these days but on a festival style show it’s a lot harder to deal with powered boxes for wedges on a stage that’s being tossed and turned all day – and if rain’s forecast it becomes costly to use active wedges as rain barrels. (In another note we will try to cover the hybrid power/audio cabling system we use for active wedges - but for this post just take our word for it, its usually faster to move speaker cables around the deck.) When KV2 came out with the ESM12's we grew that inventory slowly because we already had lots of other monitors, but as they aged (and so did we) lugging around EAW 222's was no longer practical, and while the KV2 EX10 remains our favorite box of all time by just a small margin, it’s active and not quite as aggressive as needed on some outdoor events. The ESM12's gave a great sounding replacement covering all the bases of a workhorse monitoring solution that can get a little wet while you’re tarping the stacks.

CA4 Rack Front Other sound companies that have worked with our rig have noticed that the rig was, how shall we say this - WAY over-powered. We would typically take a MacroTech 3.6k rack to power the ESM12's - because we never did buy amps to dedicate to powering them. Over the years this has become more problematic as we did events where the 3600's were better placed pulling massive sub duty than being tied up on wedges. This past year Crest phased out the CA series of amplifiers. While Crest has some amazing offerings out there today (the Pro200 Series is another go-to Amp for us), this was the last of the 100% USA made, solid copper, class AB, weighs more than a car, sounds like a million bucks and arc-welds too CA series - and they had never before seen prices as well. We grabbed a few of those up and knew they would become permanently housed for monitor duty on the ESM12's. As with most companies we found some used racks lying around and got to work.

The real key though this time around was going to be convenience. We knew early on that the I/O panels needed to all be on the front. Re-patching happens often in festival shows for the monitor rig and we’re too old to crawl behind the rack, under the show-mobile, and whack our heads 3 times just to add the second horn mix. Putting the patching up top also made sense. We incorporated the old NL8/NL4 panel from the MacroTech racks since it never really got used there, but with NL8 breakouts would be perfect for monitoring. All that was left was to determine what we wanted to do for input signal…

We could build a rack with simple analog ins – but that’s not our style. Most of our consoles have Dante these days, and since we are using Dante more than most sound companies we knew it had to be in the mix here. We’ve installed some pretty substantial Dante systems, and consulted on a few more. We regularly use it as a split medium between FOH and Monitor worlds with a JoeCo or DVS recording thrown in. Wouldn’t it be great to be even lazier and not even pull the 8 channel XLR patch snake out? For this task we selected the Xilica 8x8 with Dante.CA4 Rack Rear

We’ve used these pieces in installations a lot and even had a couple floating around in rental including one in the MacroTech rack that got un-plugged more often than it got used – with the ES1.0’s or VHD’s we would patch the sub-outs directly into the 3600’s – it was already processed there really wasn’t a point in using any DSP at all – even limiters. So we worked on a program that would allow us to prefer the Dante inputs over the Analog inputs. On a per-channel basis if there is Dante input signal, that’s selected over the Analog signal and passed on to the processing section. For the ESM12’s we don’t need much, just an HPF and some limiters. If we happen to want it we can throw a 31 band EQ in there. We did clean them up with the PEQ and SMAART – but let’s face it, 1 filter with a 1.5 dB boost isn’t really worth considering EQ’d is it? Best part about all this is we can use our Xilica programming background to create a custom touch screen layout that will let us change parameters, override input selection manually, etc.

We get hands free and full featured all in one unit. We even threw the old curves for the EAW 222’s in there so they’re available if someone decides to rent a crane to take those to a gig. In the end, looking forward to the first actual use of the rack out in a few weeks, it’s been a missing piece for a long time.

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