Philadelphia-based Zeo Productions, the live event production division of The Zeo Group, was asked to handle sound for the event. The task was not without its challenges: not only is Times Square among the most bustling areas in the world, there was also rain and wind to deal with during set up. Moreover, the application was unique. The sound system had to be small enough to ensure a 180-degree line of sight for live spectators, who were not only on the ground and in the stands, but also in nearby buildings. Sonically, the speakers had to be intelligible so both live and pre-recorded content could be clearly understood by those in attendance.
Daniel Zeo, vice president of Zeo Productions, needed a speaker with an exceptionally small footprint and a powerful sonic output. The self-powered K-array KH4 and KS4 combination turned out to be the perfect match, since at 6 inches deep it was remarkably thin, yet had a continuous output of 139 dB.
"We chose to go with the K-arrays not only because they have an extremely smooth frequency response, but because maintaining great sightlines to the screen was very important--establishing a clear view for as many spectators as possible was fundamentally important for our client," commented Dan Zeo. "The KH4 and KS4, which were almost as easy to rig as a flat screen TV, were so thin that they were perfectly flush with the screen. We could not have achieved the same degree of visibility using a traditional array set up."
The event was a huge success and was covered by international media including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Daily Mail in London among many others. On television, the event was viewed by approximately 2.9 million people in addition to the roughly 7,000 people in attendance.
Aaron Garsky, a Zeo Productions technical engineer, summed up K-array's Times Square debut: "Everyone I spoke to was very surprised that such a powerful sound could come out of such a small box. All in all, the sound coverage from top to bottom was really smooth. Outdoors, and especially in New York City, there are all sorts of environmental challenges--including winds coming down the skyscraper alleys. With the K-arrays, we were able to keep the audio present, intelligible and controlled. In this application, any other product would have been a step down."
The KH4 is a self-powered PA system and line-array element that has a wide, consistent (120°) horizontal coverage. The KH4 integrates seamlessly with the KS4 self-powered dipole subwoofer and uses twelve 8-inch cone drivers with 2.5-inch voice coils for low-mid frequencies, powered by six power amplifier channels. The mid-high frequency section uses five 1.75-inch voice coil compression drivers mounted on 1-inch x 4-inch constant directivity waveguides. The drivers form an array exactly in the center of the speaker, and a mechanical system can provide different vertical coverage from 7° to 37° on each KH4. All KH4 components are designed by the K-array R&D department and custom made under the K-array quality control system in Italy.