Burnsville, MN (March, 2016): Hot on the heels of winning the Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year, top contemporary Christian artists Phillips, Craig & Dean hit the road. Working with their usual production company, NLFX of Bemidji, Minnesota, front-of-house engineer Calvin Barnes jumped at the chance to work with the new X-Line Advance line-array loudspeaker system from Electro-Voice.
“We travel with full production for Phillips, Craig & Dean, because it’s the best way to maintain consistency,” says Barnes. “We carried 16 of the Electro-Voice X2-212/90 boxes as mains. This was my first tour with the new system, and I really like the way it behaves. Tons of headroom and extremely even coverage, plus it tunes easily and takes equalization well. I was impressed with how well it adapted to different spaces.”
Concert venues for the tour included large houses of worship, traditional theater venues and multi-purpose community centers. Typically, two main arrays of eight Electro-Voice X2-212/90 speakers were deployed, augmented by eight Electro-Voice concert sound subwoofers powered by Electro-VoiceTG7 amplifiers. Six Electro-Voice EVU-2082 ultra-compact loudspeakers served as front fills across the stage lip. Each day, system engineer Ben Stowe of NLFX used Electro-Voice’s Line Array Prediction Software (LAPS 3), to configure the system coverage for the venue.
“LAPS 3 does a great job,” comments Barnes. “No matter the venue, the coverage was so uniform that we were able to get 500 Hz, 3K and 8K all within 2-3 dB of each other, everywhere in the room, night after night. I could have picked my mix position anywhere on the main floor most nights—it was that consistent.”
Sonically, Barnes was impressed with the even, natural sound of the Electro-Voice X-Line Advance, which uses a Mid-Band Hydra (MBH) device for superior coupling between boxes. “I’ve mixed on just about every major line array, and many of them have a funky midrange build-up that you need to compensate for,” he says. “With the X2, Electro-Voice really got the midrange right. It’s a real step forward.”
Another pleasant surprise was the rigging system for the Electro-Voice X-Line Advance. With Electro-Voice X2-212/90 boxes stacked on dollies in groups of four, with the main connection pins in place, Barnes and system engineer Ben Stowe would use the compression method to insert the splay angle pins, then attach the group of four to a Genie lift. The procedure would then be repeated, allowing the team to fly both eight-box arrays, perfectly positioned for proper coverage, in about 20 minutes.
“You can’t do that with every rigging system,” notes Barnes. “The Electro-Voice X2 makes it super easy, and the hardware is very robust, which give you lots of confidence on tour.”
For Calvin Barnes, this first touring experience with Electro-Voice X-Line Advance was an eye-opening experience. “Mixing for Phillips, Craig & Dean, my focus is on translating the music from the stage and communicating that to the audience, night after night,” he relates. “When that’s done right, it’s like the audience is hearing the stage, not the loudspeakers. Electro-Voice X2 makes that easy.”