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JBL by HARMAN Delivers Pristine Live Sound at the 2016 Tony Awards

Courtesy of JBL Professional

NEW YORK CITY— Firehouse Productions deployed a JBL by HARMAN VT4886 system to provide the highest quality live sound at the 2016 Tony Awards. The 70th annual Tony Awards was broadcasted live from the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City, and Firehouse Productions selected the VT4886 for its ability to deliver exceptional sound quality with an extremely compact footprint.

Firehouse Productions deployed a JBL by HARMAN VT4886 systemto provide the highest quality live sound at the 2016 Tony Awards. The 70 annual Tony Awards was broadcasted live from the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City, and Firehouse Productions selected the VT4886 for its ability to deliver exceptional sound quality with an extremely compact footprint.

“The JBL VT4886 offers an incredible amount of power and control in a very small package, and I’ve had excellent results with it on numerous live shows,” said Mark Dittmar, Lead Design and Integration Engineer at Firehouse Productions. “At the Beacon Theatre, which is an extremely small venue, size and taking up less space are very important. JBL VT4886 is a spectacular-sounding speaker in a very small package, which is a great combination for a show like the Tony Awards.”

The 2016 Tony Awards ceremony featured energetic performances from the hottest shows on Broadway, including “Hamilton,” “School of Rock,” “She Loves Me” and more. With up to 30 lavalier mics on the stage simultaneously, it was important to manage gain before feedback and make sure the live sound stayed out of the on-air mix. It was equally important to deliver excellent dialogue intelligibility. Finally, it was important for the arrays to take up minimal space and be hidden from the camera sightlines during the broadcast.

“On a television show, we have to keep the PA hidden, but we also need great intelligibility,” said Dittmar. “The VT4886 arrays worked really well and allowed us to place the PA in a space that other arrays wouldn’t fit.”

The subcompact JBL VT4886 features a true 3-way system that is unique to the subcompact category, offering exceptional sound quality and the highest SPL output in its class. The VT4886 also features a low-frequency diffraction absorber that eliminates cavity resonance and cabinet edge diffraction effects, which provided Firehouse with extra control over feedback.

The VT4886 is designed to deliver high-quality reinforcement of music and speech in a wide variety of applications, including concert audio and corporate AV presentations of all types.

Firehouse Productions Invests Big in JBL VTX V25-II Line Array Elements from HARMAN Professional Solutions

Courtesy of JBL Professional

JBL VTX V25-II system with upgraded waveguide helps world-class live sound company deliver best of quality and clarity for high-profile events

NEW YORK––In a move to enhance its already stellar reputation and to support business growth, Firehouse Productions recently added 96 JBL VTX V25-II line array elements, 96 JBL VTX V20 line array elements, and 24 Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers to its inventory. Firehouse Productions now has a total of 140 V25-II elements between their New York and Las Vegas offices.

Recognized as one of the most progressive and successful live sound production companies in the business, Firehouse Productions has long relied on JBL by HARMAN loudspeakers to produce events, like the NBA All-Star Game and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The company recently deployed the new JBL VTX system at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, iHeartRadio Country Festival in Austin and the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta.

“We started working with a JBL VerTec 4889 rig almost 15 years ago and it became an important foundation of our business,” said Mark Dittmar, Lead Design & Integration Engineer, Firehouse Productions. “When we heard a demonstration of the VTX V25-II, we were blown away by the sound quality. It’s the most accurate loudspeaker I’ve ever heard.”

The VTX V25-II is a full size 3-way high-directivity line array element that includes a new 4th generation waveguide for improved long throw performance and wavefront control. The system’s revolutionary D2 Dual Diaphragm Dual Voice Coil Compression Driver dramatically improves the sound and performance of high frequencies, providing an extreme output advantage over conventional systems with significantly higher array power, reduced distortion, double the number of voice coils and more than double the power handling. This results in a dramatic increase in pure high frequency sound pressure levels in the same physical footprint with a 30-percent reduction in weight. The V25‐II waveguide provides better acoustic loading conditions for the D2 driver, resulting in 10 dB higher sensitivity above 10 kHz.

“JBL has been producing top-quality products for seven decades, and the VTX V25-II is another amazing step forward,” said Dittmar. “The dB increase makes an enormous difference. The great sound quality and coverage we can now achieve in an arena or stadium really gives the big spaces an intimate feel.”

Firehouse Productions Purchases96 L-Acoustics K2 Enclosures

Courtesy of Sharon Paquette Lose via FOHOnline

Firehouse Productions’ 96 new L-Acoustics K2 enclosures stacked four-high on K2-Chariots

RED HOOK, NY – Firehouse Productions recently added 96 new L-Acoustics K2 enclosures to its inventory along with 36 LA8 amplified controllers housed in a dozen LA-RAK touring racks. Shared between Firehouse’s Red Hook, NY headquarters and the company’s five-year-old Las Vegas location, the K2 loudspeakers are already scheduled to be part of the L-Acoustics systems that will accompany Radiohead at Madison Square Garden. They’ll also support tours this year for Florence + The Machine and the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” double-bill of Peter Gabriel and Sting.

Having toured with many of music’s most innovative, genre-defying artists—Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and The Cure, just to name a few—TEC and Emmy Award-winning sound reinforcement provider Firehouse Productions is widely celebrated for its ability to help artists translate the complex creativity and sonic fidelity of their recordings to the live stage.

For many years, Firehouse has chosen to deploy L-Acoustics loudspeaker systems, especially K1 in recent years. Now, the company has deepened its commitment to the manufacturer with its recent February purchase of 96 K2 enclosures in addition to 36 LA8 amplified controllers housed in a dozen LA-RAK touring racks.

According to Firehouse Productions Director of Touring Chris Russo, the K2 acquisition will enable even more flexible system designs. “The K2 can certainly be configured into their own system designs, and they’re great-sounding speakers on their own, but they also add lots of new possibilities when used with our other L-Acoustics speakers,” he says. “Sonically, they’re a perfect match with the K1 speakers we already use”—that’s because the K2 is modeled on the K1 system design and rescaled into a 12-inch, compact and flexible format—“and a lot lighter, plus have total rigging compatibility with K1 and K1-SB.

“They’re also the perfect bridge between the K1 and Kara speakers we deploy. For situations where K1 is too large, K2 becomes the main speaker with Kara as fills, which is a very rigging-point-friendly solution for mid-sized venues. And for designs that K1 is perfect for, K2 acts as the right-sized support speaker delivering incredible uniformity with its bigger brother. In both situations, K2’s Wavefront Sculpture (WST) and Panflex technologies allow us to precisely control both the vertical and horizontal directivity for maximum performance and coverage with minimum noise pollution.”

The new inventory at the Las Vegas office will also help support Firehouse Productions’ corporate and entertainment clients on the West Coast. Recent projects serviced there with L-Acoustics systems have included corporate events for Apple, Google, Melaleuca and VMware, with K1 also being deployed on December’s 2015 Jingle Ball Tour featuring Demi Lovato, The Weeknd and Fall Out Boy, among other artists.

“With K2 in both our Las Vegas and New York inventories, we now have truly national coverage with L-Acoustics, and that’s going to help us and our clients tremendously from a logistics point of view,” says Russo. “Great coverage and great sound!”

Firehouse Shows Communications Artistry at NBA All-Star Weekend

Courtesy of Ken Kerschbaumer via Sports Video Group

Firehouse Productions continues to play an expanding role in the NBA All-Star Weekend communications infrastructure, building out and maintaining a communications network based on the Riedel Artist digital-matrix intercom system.

All told, Firehouse managed almost 1,000 carriers, 90 channels of communications, and more than 400 communication devices, including hard-wired systems, master panels, and wireless beltpacks.

This marked the third year that Firehouse was involved with the event, and the team included Gaff Michael, Riedel programmer; system architects Brian Hurst and Stephanie Celustka; and Luis Espinal, who handled wireless/communications integration.

“The first year, we originally came in to do the entertainment interfacing,” says Vinny Siniscal, RF, audio, and communications engineer, Firehouse Productions. “Then, last year, it was in New York City, where we were based on two sites, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden in Manhattan; we doubled what we did the year before. And, this year, the scope expanded again, as things naturally do. This is now one of the largest shows in terms of the amount of intercoms.”

The major advance this year was tying in the Turner Sports intercoms, allowing anyone involved with a portion of the massive three-day event to easily communicate with anyone else. The Firehouse system basically pulled together communications from the TV-production team, the live-entertainment team, and even the in-house production team.

That is important for an event that is increasingly ambitious in terms of integrating in-venue entertainment programming with the TV broadcast, according to Chris Brown, senior director, technical operations, Turner Sports,

“For something as simple as light cues, our team can talk to the entertainment people so that they can know when the lights will come back up after going dark,” he explains. “A short conversation can get our team the lighting cues, and then they can even listen to the cues.”

Siniscal and a Firehouse Production team of nine staffers were based inside the Air Canada Center.

“We had one of our Riedel Artist frames inside an NEP truck to handle all truck-to-truck communications and then also connected that to the Artist frame [inside the arena],” adds Siniscal. “Everything in the building that needed to communicate could communicate.”

Firehouse Productions handles such systems for a wide range of clients, from the live hit during the Grammys of a performance of Hamilton to massive corporate events.

The distributed intercom-over-fiber system had full redundancy and was under the control of a simple graphical user interface that makes it easy for the Firehouse Productions team to meet the needs of each production team.

“This weekend was really three separate events: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday all had separate events with separate producers,” says Siniscal. “And all those different needs can be met with the push of a button to launch a file and change the whole system. It can morph from the slam-dunk contest to a concert and then to the All-Star game.”

Riedel not only provides the technical backbone but is also a kindred spirit in terms of corporate philosophy with respect to redundancy, reliability, and scalability. The company’s RockNet real-time, low-latency audio-distribution network is also put to use, allowing the Firehouse Productions team to build out a network for each unique situation.

“We can just keep scaling the standard package up,” adds Siniscal, “as it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach but scalable.”