WPS reinforces Richmond Symphony Orchestra
Thursday, 12 November 2020
richmondSoundworks used the 12 September show at Maymont Park to evaluate the power of WPS
USA - When Richmond, VA-based Soundworks took delivery of their Martin Audio WPS and WPC line array systems in February this year, they little knew that the world was within one month of lockdown. “The pandemic shut down all of our bookings from mid-March forward,” recalls CEO, Steve Payne. The company had to wait until the end of summer for the maiden voyage for both systems - in the shape of two socially-distanced outdoor concerts by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra.
Soundworks have been contracted to provide sound reinforcement for all Richmond Symphony Orchestra’s community outreach concerts since 2015. “Each season the RSO will incorporate the performance of a popular local or regional artist into one of their ‘Big Tent’ gigs,” he explains. “The arranger will write scores for orchestral accompaniment to six or so of the guest artist’s songs. Past musical artists have included a wide range of musical styles and genres, and this year’s featured artist was the Commonwealth Bluegrass Band.”
Still to thoroughly road test their new scalable Wavefront Performance rigs, Soundworks used the 12 September show at Maymont Park to evaluate the power of WPS in the delay position with a view to future main FOH deployment. “The venue required that we cover a depth of 420ft, so we used two hangs of eight WPC for the main PA, with two SXH218 subs ground stacked per side, and two hangs of six WPS for delays at 220 feet, with a CDD-LIVE 15 at each of the main hangs as out-fills.” The audience size was capped at 700, socially distanced.
“The conclusion was that WPS had plenty of impact and presence for use as a main system. We could not be certain that the WPS would be able to punch out to 290 feet as required at the next gig but felt sufficiently confident to give it a try.”
The next show was two weeks later at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, VA, and around 500 socially distanced people were spread over an area that could have accommodated a maximum of 4,000 (standing). “The performance of the little WPS in this space just seemed to fly in the face of logic and break all the rules,” said Payne. “There was little doubt that they were entirely capable of serving as mains. The first time we fired them up at Pocahontas was quite a revelation. The sound and performance were far above what one would expect from an 8” box. The rig did a stellar job of providing even, high fidelity audio out to 290ft.”
Reflecting on both events, the Soundworks CEO continued, “The area for both concerts, but especially the Maymont Park concert, could accommodate a crowd vastly larger than the safely distanced audience. We do the Richmond Jazz Festival in this same space each year where audience size can approach 7,000. To cover the areas properly we are putting in systems capable of covering approximately 10 times the audience size under normal conditions.”

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