Sound System Maximizes Sport Facility Flexibility With Minimal Setup Time & Field Impact
Chicago, IL––Because of its exceptional coverage and audio quality, Special Event Services (SES) was able to combine the Martin Audio Multicellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) system with an innovative, rapid low-impact deployment system and convert White Sox Stadium into a spoken word venue for a Joel Osteen presentation in a matter of hours.
Osteen’s “Night of Hope” event was scheduled in early August during the baseball season only one day after a White Sox night game against the Yankees. Which meant SES had to devise an unobtrusive, self-contained loudspeaker system that could be quickly loaded in and out of the stadium without adversely affecting the playing field.
Guided by Director of Audio and co-owner Jason Farah, SES only had one day for set up and rehearsals. And because of the scheduling, they had to come up with a highly mobile and easy to set up system that still provided concert quality audio for the event.
As SES President Jim Brammer points out, “Joel likes to feel the audio from the stage. He needs to know that the audio for his voice and his band sounds big, full and warm and that he’s getting even coverage and proper dispersion throughout the stadium.”
To overcome these challenges, SES built 12 custom-made field carts with extra wide tires to be minimally intrusive on the field surface. Six MLA enclosures were stacked on each cart for a total of 72 arranged in stereo left-right pairs 50 feet onto the field, with two at home plate, first and third base; and three carts positioned in right, left and center field.
According to Farah, “the proper cabinet angles were determined by Martin Audio Display2 software so that everyone in the crowd all the way to the top rows could hear every part of Osteen’s presentation with absolute clarity. Because of the self-contained nature of the MLA powered system, we were able to pre-build, pre-program and pre-cable each stack before loading them in the night before.
“The day of the event, we rolled in the carts in a matter of hours,” Farah continues. Once the show was over, I just had someone pull the power and signal cables, so that the 72 speakers that ringed the stadium were off the field in minutes! We got out of there in record time. Yes, it was field-friendly, groundskeeper-friendly and Pastor-friendly, but also very efficient in terms of getting on and off the field.
“In terms of audio quality, we’ve used the MLA system in everything from arenas to amphitheatres, and the results have been outstanding. The Osteen event proved that we could successfully deploy MLA in a ground-based, distributed system because it’s so versatile. We can even ring a baseball stadium with it and get phenomenal results! When the client, the audience, the facilities director, groundskeeper, and local labor are all having a good day, you’ve definitely done it right.
“More importantly, the entire Osteen organization noticed how good the system sounded everywhere,” says Farah. “At the end of the day, MLA worked spectacularly. It gave us very uniform coverage and the spoken word was articulate and clear. Musically, it’s a very warm and even-sounding speaker.”
Reed Hall, Production Manager for Joel Osteen, echoed Farah’s sentiments: “In terms of the load out, I’ve never seen audio guys leaving a baseball stadium two hours after the show was over. Amazing! I was also very impressed with the sound quality. It was concert level sound halfway up the stadium with bottom end and everything, just incredible. I walked extremes for the entire field and sat in the seat furthest away at the top level of the stadium and the clarity and articulation was exceptional, with plenty of headroom for Joel’s mics.”
BK Beard, another member of the Osteen crew who mixed FOH for the event, confirmed that the MLA system “sounded great, right out of the gate when we started sound check. Jason hadn’t even dialed it in with the Martin Audio software and it was very impressive. Everybody who walked the stadium commented on how the coverage was terrific.”
Summing up, Farah describes Osteen’s reaction: “During the sound checks, Joel went to the top seats all around the stadium and was absolutely impressed with the sound quality and coverage. He said that he’d never heard anything quite like it before.