Beachsound with d&b at Sunfest 2010, as eclectic a mix as you could wish
Four years into this regular date on the festival calendar and audio suppliers Beachsound are getting the measure of Sunfest in West Palm Beach Florida. "The promoters have built a great event over the years," began Beachsound CEO Andre Serafini, "We've worked the last four but this is our second year doing the main stage. We started on one of the smaller stages then following our 2009 investment in the d&b J-Series we covered the main stage for the first time last year. For us the J-Series is a great system for Sunfest; true to the festival ideal, it doesn't just cater to one style of music, there really is something for everyone."
This year's line up included Weezer, ZZ Top, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and Charlie Daniels, "About as eclectic a mix as you could wish for" said Beachsound's veteran system tech Neil Rosenstock, "yet for me there were no quibbles, no requests for re-EQ, I just set it to the calculated coverage pattern and turned it on." Brad Madix who mixed Weezer had his own observations. "Our show went quite well, thanks. We didn't actually soundcheck, but I did get the opportunity to go in early in the morning and get set up at FOH, load in some plug-ins, load in the band show file, things like that. Customarily I walk through the crowd during the day to check coverage. Obviously in a festival situation you are constrained as to what you can do to correct any problems you might find, but in this case the coverage was really good. When the show kicked off, it sounded just fine from the downbeat." And what did he think of the system? "I really liked the tightness of the low end. There's often a tricky balance between power and tightness, and it's easy to lose one when going for the other. The Beachsound system had both, I thought. During the set, I made minimal changes in the EQ; really nothing to speak of, and probably more a matter of mastering my mix than tuning the PA."
In complete contrast to Weezer, Maze with Frankie Beverley is in a groove of its own unique making. Underpinned by 70s style R&B but with a funk rock edge, they stretch an engineer in different ways. "This was our first time at Sunfest" began FOH engineer Tim Kidwell. "And we had a good experience. Beachsound were excellent; this was not just an equipment list, their guys really made it special. I have used d&b before, and J-Series quite a few times and I like it for its depth and detail. The fidelity is very musical for one thing. There are plenty of good systems out there, systems that are clean and loud, but they can lack subtlety. That's the thing with J, and it's extremely accurate too: I'm old school and I like analogue boards and Beachsound gave me a Midas H3000; I'd make a small change to a channel EQ and I'd hear that small change right away. That's accuracy; you're not using a broadsword to cut through to what you want. I just put things in the mix, depth, tone and it is right there." Kidwell also took time to walk the site early in the day. "This was a big park down on the water; shoreline on one side, harbor to the other. The sound travelled well; I went out and listened to other bands and sure, as you went further back the level dropped eventually, but there weren't any heavy frequency drop-outs. I wasn't aware of any restriction from the noise police and there were no big buildings nearby so not even the chance of slap back; a nice environment to work."
Beachsound were lauded by both men for pulling off a great job, "The crew was great," said Madix. "It's easy to overlook the local crew when things go perfectly well, because in that case there's not much to remember! Everything was perfectly pleasant and we were ready in plenty of time. Beachsound performed very well in my estimation, both in terms of equipment and personnel." Kidwell was equally happy, "That was the other thing, Beachsound's gear is scrupulously maintained; that says to me, these are people who care. It was a great day."