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Seether, Flyleaf Turn It Up with QSC

FOH Staff • News • June 27, 2008

LADSON, S.C. – Regardless of whether you want to call it alternative, post-grunge, or pure, unapologetic rock 'n' roll, the onstage results of the musical pairing of Seether and Flyleaf landed in South Carolina at the Exchange Park Ladson Fairgrounds to test the mettle of Live Event Solutions, a Conyers, Ga.-based sound company just over five months old.

Hailing from South Africa, Seether is basking in the success of hits like "Fake It,” the lead track off of Finding Beauty in Negative Places, an album released last October. Touring on the crest of a platinum-selling wave showing no signs of breaking since the 2005 release of its eponymous debut, Flyleaf is a Texas-based quintet that has scored rock radio hits with songs like "I'm So Sick" and "Fully Alive". A rabid fan base follows each band on the road, filling venues to capacity and making extreme demands of sound reinforcement providers wherever they go.

Knowing full well what he was in for, Live Event Solutions Owner and Founder Gary Teal admitted behind-the-scenes that he was a bit nervous. "We have the skills, and we have the gear, but basically we're a start-up company, and this is our first test in a situation like this," he said after the load-in was complete. "Regardless of how well-prepared and ready I think I am, I can't help but feel a little bit of paranoia creeping in."

When Teal set about to outfit his new venture last December, he went searching for a PA that would work well in virtually any application. "The last thing I wanted was to incur the expense of building a huge inventory of gear to bring this vision to life," he says. "Therefore, my business model made a wide arc around the idea of having a small line array for smaller jobs, a medium line array for mid-size gigs, a large one for outdoors, and so forth. Given my budget and my plans for profitability, what I really needed was a one-box solution that could do everything, and on a moment's notice."

Teal ultimately found what he was looking for in QSC's WideLine-10 enclosures. A full-range line array loudspeaker system designed for use in venues ranging from ballrooms, theaters, and nightclubs to concert halls, houses of worship, and arenas, the compact boxes have built a following based upon their open, natural sonic qualities and 140 degree horizontal coverage pattern – the widest of any line array in its class.

For the Seether and Flyleaf shows, Teal and the Live Event Solutions crew brought a total of 28 WideLine-10 cabinets to Exchange Park Ladson Fairgrounds. Flown 14 per side and supported by a block of 12 QSC WL218-sw WideLine subwoofers, power for the system came from a pair of racks each containing QSC components including four PL380 amplifiers used for mids, lows, and the subs, and a single PL340 for high frequencies. Processing fell under the guidance of a single BASIS 914lz unit in each rack also selected from the current QSC catalog.

Playing in front of a crowd of about 5,000, Seether and Flyleaf looked out into the area of coverage faced by the WideLine-10s, which extended some 250 feet from the stage to a landscaped area featuring a pond where waterfowl paddled about.

"It was an odd layout," Teal recalls. "With the pond defining the edge of where anyone could watch and listen to the show as well as our furthest throws, the body of water's shape and position on the fairgrounds naturally pushed people to stage left as the crowd kept coming in. As a result, there were far more people stage left than right. Without the 140 degrees of horizontal coverage the WideLines afforded, we would have never been able to cover the whole area."

Deployed in an arcuate array configuration with two degrees of separation between each cabinet, the WideLine-10 enclosures went up with a truss system supplied by another vendor. As a precaution against inclement weather, the WideLine subs were elevated four inches off the ground on some low staging material.

Stepping up to the 48-channel Midas Verona console to mix Flyleaf at the FOH position, Rich Caldwell noted that the WideLines "Had some real 'go' for a small box", and that the tonal response was laudable. Caught a few days after the show at LAX, Seether's FOH engineer Howard Worthen concurred, adding "I had headroom for days. Seether is loud: They run 102-103 dBSPL right off the deck, and these cabinets had no problem posting those levels whatsoever. This crowd demands high SPL, and they got it, with real fidelity too. The sound was clean, with no pain–no one got hurt."

Monitors for the show came from Live Event Solutions' collection of HPR Series components from QSC. A dozen HPR122i cabinets were used as floor wedges, while HPR153i loudspeakers were employed as stereo sidefills left-and-right perched atop HPR181i subwoofers. At the drum riser, a classic pair of "Texas headphones" was created with the aid of HPR152i enclosures stacked atop another set of HPR181i subs.

"After the dust settled on that day, it proved to me that we can get through any  situation like this and do just fine," Teal happily reported once everything was loaded on the truck and en route back to Georgia. "Major acts gave us high praise, and you really can't ask for anything more than that."


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