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Void Features at Outlook and Dimensions Festivals
Croatia – Manchester based sound equipment specialist Neuron Pro Audio has supplied a host of Void Acoustics sound systems for the increasingly popular Outlook and Dimensions festival, held in early September on the site of a ruined fort on Croatia’s glorious Adriatic Coast. Now in its seventh year, Outlook and Dimensions is widely recognised as Europe’s largest bass music and sound system culture event, and offers up both a music festival and summer holiday in one.
Located in the amazingly vibrant Islington Mill creative complex of Salford, just outside Manchester’s City centre, Neuron Pro Audio specialises in the hire of high end audio, lighting, and staging, and boasts one of the largest Void Acoustics PAs in the region.
Neuron has supplied systems for Outlook and Dimensions every year since 2011, expanding its reach and experience as the festival has grown. Void’s involvement is also long standing, with one of the stages formerly known as Outside the Fort now taking its name from the UK manufacturer’s brand – The Void.
“For Outlook 2014,” says Neuron’s Alex Morgan, “we provided sound for three stages: The Void, the Ballroom and The Garden. Two further stages in the fort, The Courtyard and The Dungeon, were merged into one larger outdoor stage for this year’s event to keep the site feeling fresh to festival-goers.”
For the Void stage a full custom touring Void Incubus system was deployed for front of house, with an additional four Stasys X Airs and four Air Motions covering centre fill, and all run from Powersoft KDSP+AESOP amplifiers: two K20, four K10, eight K3 and two M50Q. For stage monitoring Stasys Phils with Stasys 218 subs were used for the DJ, with a combination of Stasys 4 and Impulse 4t on wedge duty. The whole loudspeaker system was mixed side of stage from a Midas PRO1 desk.
At the Garden six Stasys X v2 with Void Nexus tops were chosen for their ideal stacking height and broad vertical coverage necessary to reach upwards on an incline of more than 10 degrees. This setup was run from Void Infinite 8v2 amps through Void Livedrive v2 DSP units.
Finally the Ballroom system consisted of two Stasys X Air and two Air Motion v2 run via a combination of Chevin, Lab Gruppen and Void Infinite 8v2 amplifiers.
The iconic, minimalistic Void Acoustics loudspeakers were the obvious solution for the main audience spaces at Outlook due to their overwhelming popularity for outdoor dance events. Neuron’s managing director Kyle Marriott comments on the choice: “We have been Void users for the past eight years, and at some point have owned almost every product to roll out of the factory. In the last two years in particular we believe they have released some incredible products that are leading the industry both aesthetically and sonically.
“We were blown away on hearing the Incubus demo at Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt last year, and commissioned a custom touring edition of the system after some discussions with Void’s sales rep, Mike Newman – not only does it sound incredible with seriously physical bass and smooth, natural top end, it looks amazing too!
“We took on some Air Motion v2 a couple of years back and they have barely been in the warehouse. Visually they’re unmistakable – Air Motion selfies from people in the crowd are definitely a big thing! They work excellently with very minimal effort in almost any environment, especially due to the wide range of mounting options for either flying or stacking them almost invisibly to the naked eye in a darkened room. Combined with a pair of the new Stasys X, they were perfect for the both central fill and the Ballroom, making the sound physical and having a wide stereo image due to the more natural conical dispersion pattern that they exhibit.
“It is incredibly rare for a single manufacturer to make such a wide range of products that all adhere to the exemplary standards whilst also looking so vastly different,” Marriott adds, “and this is reflected in the fact that overall there is more equipment from Void Acoustics on the site than from any other manufacturer."
Access to the 400 year old fort placed on the top of a hill at the end of a peninsula proved challenging for the crew, and the upwards incline of the Garden stage required some careful angling of the Nexus tops – but once completed the stack gave perfect coverage of the 1000 capacity area.
“In Croatia there's no environmental health walking round with decibel meters telling sound crews to turn it down or hack out this and that frequency, so you can finally hear what these systems are capable of,” Marriot points out. “It was crystal clear throughout the audience area with a really physical experience nearer the front. It was not uncommon to find people with stage access bathing in sub between the stacks and the barriers!
“The Ballroom is also a very interesting space – it’s only around 75 capacity but is a circular vertical tunnel made of sandstone blocks several feet thick. Coverage and bass response isn't an issue, but putting too much energy into the circular space can make it unpleasant and echoey and it is more difficult to predict in advance what exactly will happen. In previous years we’ve tried a variety of techniques to keep the volume up at a good level without too much reverb, but this year the tweaks to the specified system meant the balance was just right with minimal room EQ and no repositioning of the stacks.
“The sound quality on all the Void stages was exceptional – almost unmatched clarity, dense and accurate low end, and more output per box than any other stage. The feedback from the festival organisation, press and party goers was all excellent.
“After our first couple of times working the event, we were asked to sign onto a three year contract to provide a larger specification of equipment including site-wide DJ backline, so we shall definitely be back next year!"
10th November 2014
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