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L-Acoustics drives Jason Isbell’s outdoor amphitheatre concerts

Four-night run of outdoor shows utilised an L-Acoustics K1/K2 system

Four-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell and his band The 400 Unit performed a four-night run of outdoor shows last month with an L-Acoustics K1/K2 system deployed by California-based Sound Image. Running October 8-11 above ground at The Caverns, a naturally-occurring subterranean amphitheatre at the base of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee’s Pelham valley, the gigs kicked off The Caverns’ COVID-compliant Above Ground Concert Series.

The main PA featured left and right hangs of four L-Acoustics K1 enclosures over five K2s, with two Kudo cabinets positioned below as front-fills. Two additional ground-stacked K2s were deployed off stage right to address a few of the audience pods not covered by the main arrays.

Four groups of three vertically-oriented SB28 subs, each set up in cardioid mode, “kept the low end off of the stage and did some delay steering to maintain smooth low-end coverage throughout the listening area,” explained Chris Demonbreun, Sound Image audio systems engineer. The entire system was powered by 15 LA8 amplified controllers located under the stage, driven with AES and analog fallback, while an L-Acoustics P1 processor at FOH provided system processing and control.

Sound Image has been the primary audio provider for The Caverns for ten years, and was brought in to supply the new Caverns Amphitheatre with a sound reinforcement system for Isbell’s shows. Audiences watched the gigs from socially distanced ‘pods’ – roped off sections for two, four or six family members or friends – which were at least six feet from each other and 15 feet from the stage. The choice of K1/K2 was key to ensuring everyone in the widely spread out audience could fully appreciate the shows’ sound.

“Although we typically use existing venue or local PA when touring, L-Acoustics is one of the more common systems we see, and I’m always thankful for it,” said Cain Hogsed, the band’s FOH engineer. “I’ve enjoyed mixing on K2 and V-DOSC rigs in the past, so when I was told we were going to be on K2 for these shows, I knew we would have plenty of coverage and clarity, and we certainly did.”