SSE, having worked with Clear Channel on many other high profile projects, was asked to supply concert audio services for both the main and alternative stages at the event, which pulled 40,000 enthusiastic rockers. Download, which featured hard-edged performers like Audioslave, Deftones, Marilyn Manson, and Iron Maiden, has been hailed as a potential launching pad for an upcoming trend in heavy metal 'monster' style festivals.
Download demanded a lot from its sound systems, which had to produce considerable sound-pressure levels, as well as provide focused directional control due to environmental noise concerns.
SSE Hire's director of Engineering, Chris Beale, designed the systems for both stages. Beale decided that JBL's VerTec line array was ideal for the main stage, particularly as it was slated to feature many top American acts who would roar their way across the 15-band-a-day lineup, and their sound mixers would be familiar with the system.
Beale states, "JBL's VerTec product is excellent. It's a well engineered system - lightweight, ergonomic, practically packaged, well executed and containing quality components - need I say more?"
The main stage system was configured as 14 VT4889 line array elements per side plus four VT4888 midsize enclosures suspended below to cover forward areas. A center vocal cluster of eight VT4888s was also employed. The elegant arced arrays worked well in the sound wing scaffold's limited space, left and right hangs cloaked with special Download Festival PA scrims and the center array of midsize VT4888s hanging unobtrusively above the stage area.
System designer Beale noted that no delay towers were necessary on the large outdoor festival site, as SSE's VerTec system easily delivered the full-bandwidth sonic image right to the rear of the 787 ft (240 m) deep audience arena.
Headquartered in Northridge, California, JBL Professional is part of the Harman International network of professional and consumer audio companies. For complete product and company information, go to the JBL Pro website at www.jblpro.com.