Equipment from pro-audio manufacturers QSC Audio, Audio-Technica, Clear-Com and DAS Audio played key roles in enabling re-elected US president Barack Obama to deliver his message to American voters over the last few months.
In the key swing state of Ohio – traditionally, “whoever wins Ohio, wins the election” – rental and sales company Forty Two Inc. put its new QSC WideLIne, KLA and K Series systems systems to work for the first time at president Obama’s inaugural campaign event at Ohio State University in Columbus (pictured).
Forty Two Inc., a GSA (General Services Administration) and CCR (Central Contractor Registration) contractor, undertakes much governmental work, and every four years that means the presidential campaign. “That's a big boost for us, to work with one of the candidates, typically the incumbent,” says Ferrello. “’Obama for America’ is one of our big clients. We bought the QSC system right at the beginning of this election cycle, and in May at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center, a 20,000-seat arena, we used 56 WideLine-10s, 12 WideLine-8s and seven or eight racks of PowerLight 380 amplifiers. That event was really successful.”
He continues, “We started with president Obama when he was a senator. The first event we did with him, at Penn State University back in early 2008, was with a sub-rented WideLine system. We've done probably 30 or 40 large events for the president over this summer with WideLine in the northeastern US. So the whole time we've been working with him we've been using WideLine.”
In another swing state, Florida, Sanford-based MTI Sound was called upon to supply kit on several occasions for fleeting campaign visits from the president.
At such vote-bolstering, last-minute events, MTI Sound’s Scott Shryock deployed 16 DAS Audio Aero 12As, four LX-218CA subwoofers, and a dozen Road 12A stage monitors for reinforcement.
“We’ve used this basic set-up for all the campaign stops,” Shryock added. “Depending upon whether these are outdoor or indoor events (where crowd control limitations are considerably more restrictive), we’ve been seeing crowds ranging in size anywhere from approximately 3,000 to 12,000 people. To ensure optimised positioning and angling of the loudspeakers, I model the set-up using EASE Focus loudspeaker aiming and acoustic modelling software.
“We flew five DAS Audio Aero 12As on each side of the stage for the left-right mains,” Shryock says of one osuch occasion in Melbourne, Florida. “These were augmented by left-right delay stacks – each consisting of three Aero 12As and two LX-218CAs. The delay stacks were positioned roughly 30m out in front of the house mains. Our Road series monitors served multiple purposes. President Obama had one by his side as his stage monitor and the rest were used for fill purposes in order to maintain a low visual profile. Two Road 12As were used for front fills while the rest were deployed in the bleacher areas to the sides and behind the president.”
Broadcasting to the nation
The TV broadcast ‘town hall’ presidential debates in October, which saw Obama clash on campaign issues with governor Mitt Romney to an audience of millions on three separate occasions, employed many familiar pro-audio brands. A fourth debate pitched elder statesman Joe Biden, vice president, against newcomer Paul Ryan.
Supporting the audience’s questions, relaying the answers and feeding the broadcast for all four debates were Audio-Technica mics, selected by Larry Estrin (audio and production communications director for the Commission on Presidential Debates). These include A-T 5000 Series wireless with AEW-T5400a condenser handheld transmitters and AEW-R5200 receivers to allow the candidates to roam while answering the evening’s questions; AT898cW cardioid condenser lavaliers with AEW-T1000a body packs for moderator Candy Crowley; AE6100 wired hypercardioid dynamic mics, connected to AT-MX351a SmartMixer 5-channel mixers for audience questions; and BP4071 line/gradient condensers for room ambience.
Clear-Com, again under the advice of Estrin (who is also a Clear-Com strategic technology specialist), provided a total communications solution for the debates. The company’s Eclipse Median digital matrix and HelixNet Partyline intercom systems and Tempest 2400 digital wireless intercom with the new Seamless Roaming feature are followed the campaign trail, providing production team members at each of the four debate locations with an integrated communications solution for coordinating all the production elements within the venues as well as the pool broadcast truck.
Yamaha reports that Michael Abbott, owner of All Ears, Inc. (Los Angeles), a pair of Yamaha DM2000 digital consoles for audio control at the second debate at Hofstra University on New York’s Long Island.
“The dual DM2000s were chosen for the presidential debate specifically to provide two separate audio streams,” states Abbott. “Size and audio I/O capabilities also played a key role in the set-up. We routed six Yamaha AD8HR 8-channel preamps to eight groups – four for the house mix and four for the broadcast pool truck.”