Seven years after Alcons Audio’s announced plans to launch into the touring sector with a clear-cut large format set, the LR28 pro-ribbon line source system entered the stage last month at the annual Dance Valley festival. Marc Maes sent us this report...
Dutch company Jurlights recently decided to invest in a substantial inventory of the new Alcons Audio LR28 line-array and BC543 cardioid subwoofer cabinets. The new configuration was premiered on two consecutive August weekends in the Netherlands, catering for three different musical programmes, each requiring a specific approach.
“In the 20 years of our existence we have grown from AV rental company to what I see as ‘live communication’, combining all kinds of AV elements (audio, lighting, video, content and production) as a total experience solution provider,” says Jurjen Hesseling, founder and managing director of Jurlights.
“We have been Alcons users from the very start but for larger assignments we had to rent in d&b and L-Acoustics kit because, until now, Alcons Audio had no touring or festival system.”
Hesseling, as the country’s Alcons largest rental partner, had the privilege to witness the development of the new system – since 2013, he has been thoroughly testing the ‘LR24’ concept embryonic versions in various rental applications.
“We have been waiting four years, but today we’re looking at a great finished product,” enthuses Hesseling. “Also, our business has grown…In the past two years, we posted a growth of 30% and this year's prospects combine consolidation with another 15% increase. The time was right to invest in a large format line array configuration.”
Jurlights premiered the new Alcons Audio festival and touring system, consisting of 48 LR28 three-way line array cabinets (as main and delay), and 40 BC543 triple 18” cardioid subs as FOH system plus 60 LR18 compact line-arrays (as front-fill, outfill and delay and the VIP area) and VR12 monitors and BQ211 21” subs on the Dance Valley festival’s mainstage. A total of 55 Sentinel 10 amplified loudspeaker controllers are driving the system, steered by a Soundcraft Vi4 and controlled by ALControl remote control software.
“I’m very excited – the fact that Alcons Audio preferred to wait until the system operated flawlessly and the fact that we, after seven years of research and development, can hang the speakers is quite special,” enthuses Hesseling. “The fact that we cater for three totally different festivals with the same configuration and speaker lay-out is another bonus. The Dance Valley DJ-festival is followed by ‘Dutch Valley’ with some 19 Dutch artists performing, including top band Typhoon. On Sunday Aug 20th, the ‘Latin Village combines live bands and DJ’s – each of the festivals attract some 30.000 people. We get the opportunity to use the LR28 configuration is various settings.”
The new system was introduced to Jurlights’s clients, rental companies and festival organisers on the festival’s main sound-check (Fri Aug 11) prior to the festival. “Until now, Alcons couldn’t look towards the touring and festival market. Many people thought our pro-ribbon transducer technology wouldn’t fit pro-audio applications, let alone big festivals,” comments Tom Back, founder and CEO of Alcons Audio. “We started from scratch to design a new system. A first development was the Sentinel platform: a 4in/4out amplified loudspeaker controller, with on-board DSP for all Alcons systems and configurations and crucial in Alcons sound quality. Then came the LR24 array cabinet – a ‘mule’ that served as prototype to collect feedback from engineers, serving the further development of the LR28 system.”
I’m very excited – the fact that Alcons Audio preferred to wait until the system operated flawlessly and the fact that we, after seven years of research and development, can hang the speakers is quite special
Back cites three reasons for the development of the development of the LR28. “We wanted to have access to a new market, with new potential,” he says. “The spin-off of bands and events using our brand is extremely important, and, last but not least there’s the ‘proof-of-concept’ of the proprietary pro-ribbon transducer technology, contradicting historical perceptions of ribbon technology. When a –relative- newcomer wants to introduce disruptive technology like ours, nobody tends to go along…But look what happened with Tesla and their impact on the automotive industry where traditional manufacturers were stuck in their ancient business model.” Back points out that the pro-ribbon technology is proving to be the true alternative to the (almost) century old compression driver transducer technology.
Broadminded professionals think along with Alcons, underlines Back – progressive thinkers who want to discover new possibilities, outside their ‘comfort zone’. “People who let their ears decide, like Jurjen, at Jurlights, and the organizers of the Dance Valley festival.”
“Our clients mostly don’t know which speakers we use – they want good sound, and my business doesn’t depend on the brands we put in stacks,” echoes Hesseling. “We supply solutions and that’s what makes us stand out between the rather passive facilitary market.”
In terms of power handling and possibilities, Hesseling describes the LR28’s mid and high as “never heard in comparative existing systems”. “I’m convinced that the new loudspeakers will become an interesting challenge for mixing engineers,” he says. “The LR28 offers so much power, clarity and dynamic headroom, that you cannot rely on routine. But we will have our system-tech’s accompanying the LR28. Another forte of the system is the drastic drop of 24 to 42 dB less on the stage side of the system. The BC543 subs are self-contained cardioid subwoofer cabinets – the speakers have dedicated amplifier and processor channels, offering a better control without compromises. We’ve got feedback from musicians on stage who, thanks to the BC543 technology, were excited about the ‘better sounding monitors’ – that says a lot…”
“I always wanted to ‘play along’ in this business and today, we have a number of really big projects in our worldwide portfolio. With the new system, we have the tool to provide amplified sound on big events and festivals the way we want it. I gather this system will put Alcons further on the international forefront in terms of audio amplification, taking touring systems to a next level,” concludes Hesseling.
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