Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of FRONT of HOUSE. CLICK HERE to signup now!
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Audi USA Summer Drive-In Concert

George Petersen • Production ProfileSeptember 2020 • September 12, 2020

A K-array rig with KH7 mains (hung three/side) and six K-array KS8 subwoofers provided plenty of impact. All photos by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Audi

In the summer of 2020, replacing packed festivals and shed tours with drive-in concerts has become fairly commonplace. We’ve covered numerous such events here in the pages of FRONT of HOUSE, but this particular show was decidedly different.

Audi USA’s Summer Drive-In Concert was held at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, CA on July 16 and featured R&B artist Kehlani along with supporting act DJ Jasmine Solano. However, no tickets were available —this strictly VIP event was exclusively for Los Angeles’ frontline and essential workers who had been dealing with the realities of Covid-19.

Attendees received an invitation to drive through the twisting canyon roads to Malibu to share this unforgettable experience. Sponsor Audi Motors loaned disinfected Audi Quattro models to guests, offering them the opportunity to test out the cars and enjoy the scenic route up the seaside Pacific Coast Highway to the event.

On arrival, after a brief medical screening, car trunks were loaded with drive-in concert essentials: face masks, hand sanitizer, lawn chairs, picnic blankets and coolers filled with snacks and mocktails to enjoy in their socially-distanced parking spaces. Attendees could enjoy the show from the P.A. system or listen to an FM transmission directly to car radios.

The event also marked the first time that Kehlani performed songs from her album, It Was Good Until It Wasn’t, which she released mid-shutdown on May 8.

Headliner Kehlani performed songs from her new album, It Was Good Until It Wasn’t. Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Audi

Production Details

On-Stage Rentals, a sound company and video supplier based in Covina, CA, got the nod to handle all the production aspects. “We do a fair amount of corporate work. This assignment came from a marketing company client of ours in New York — we’re pretty much their AV provider here on the West Coast,” explains company owner George Acuña Jr., adding that “we were basically the production company on this and put the entire package together, using a partner of ours to do the staging and lights. We supplied all the audio, video, backline and logistics for the gig.”

The P.A. selection was a K-array rig that included six K-array KH7 mains (hung three/side) and six K-array KS8 subwoofers ground-stacked across the front of the stage. “This was our first experience using that particular K-array rig,” Acuña explains. “We carry K-array products and have used them for years with great success. With the changes in the industry, we were looking for a small-format box that packs a lot of power, and we were anxious to try these out on an event.”

The K-array Firenze KH7 is a self-powered (4 x 2,000W) design featuring four 12” coaxial neodymium drivers in an extremely compact enclosure. Also self-powered, the Firenze-KS8 is a double-21”subwoofer with zero-latency DSP. (As an aside, the speakers are named after “Firenze,” the Italian word for “Florence” — the town in Tuscany where K-Array is based.)

The systems engineer on the project, Shawn Huartson of On-Stage Rentals, was impressed with the results. “Sometimes great things come in small packages. The Firenze-KH7 packs a punch and impressive clarity in a very compact design. The boxes can be flown in minutes, making for very simple and efficient load-ins. Plus, the use of Armonia software lets you optimize your coverage and focus the KH7’s impressive energy just where you want it. Working with K-array products for years now, I have gotten used to watching the faces of engineers, performers and general listeners alike go from questioning to amazement, the moment they hear them. And the KH7 is no exception.”

Acuña adds that besides sonic clarity and punch, “we also liked the KH7s because they were small and could hang next to the LED walls.”

Opening act DJ Jasmine Solano got the crowd into a party mood. Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Audi

Inside the Mix

The consoles of choice — selected by the artist’s engineers — were Avid Profiles. Acuña offered them the new Avid S6L models, but the bands instead opted for an old-school approach. Providing sound to the low-power FM transmitter was straightforward — requiring little more than a time-alignment tweak. “I took a matrix mix off the FOH board and sent that to a Yamaha LS9 console so I could control levels to our transmitter,” says Huartson. “I delayed the radio feed to align with P.A. sound in the middle of the audience. It was a pretty small area, so about 70 milliseconds worked out right.”

In the end, everyone was pleased with the results. “It was a well-rounded and very successful event,” says Acuña. “The band was happy, their engineers were happy, and the crowd — and client — were all extremely happy with the production.”

Pre-show setup for the event shows the main K-array KH7 P.A. hangs and the six double-21 KS8 subwoofers along the stage front. Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Audi

For more info, visit www.onstagerentals.com.

Audi USA Summer Drive-In Concert

Crew

  • Sound Co: On-Stage Rentals/ George Acuña Jr.
  • Systems Engineer: Shawn Huartson
  • FOH/Monitor Engineers: Band-supplied
  • A2 Engineers: Christian Chavez; Connor Morris
  • P.A. Tech: John Dominguez

Gear

  • FOH Console: Avid Profile
  • Main P.A.: (6) K-array Firenze KH7
  • Subwoofers: (6) K-array Firenze KS8
  • Monitor Console: Avid Profile
  • Monitor Wedges: Meyer Sound MJF-208s
  • DJ Monitors: Meyer Sound MJF-210s
  • IEM Hardware: Sennheiser 2000
The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!