Each year, Mason Sound (Jacksonville, IL) provides the sound system and crew support for the concert series at the Illinois State Fair’s main grandstand stage. New for 2019, Mason Sound utilized Dynacord’s SONICUE sound system software to streamline the control and configuration of their Dynacord TGX-powered Electro-Voice X-Line Advance line-array loudspeaker system.
Requiring a 250-foot throw across a dirt racetrack to the very wide grandstand, the Illinois State Fair in Springfield is one of the region’s more challenging outdoor concert venues, so controlled coverage is key. Additionally, the fair’s diverse line-up of performers requires a sound system with the flexibility to accurately and easily deliver a wide range of musical styles in the hands of the various visiting mix engineers who run the rig over the course of the eleven-day concert series. This year’s line-up included Reba McEntire, Snoop Dogg, Old Dominion, Pentatonix, Dan + Shay and Bad Company, among many others.
SONICUE elegantly assisted in addressing all the above for this year’s deployment. SONICUE is system-focused software that uses an intuitive “speaker view” GUI that provides direct access to every system parameter on the fly, resulting in amazingly fast and precise set-up and tuning. With reduced preparation time on several days, due to horse and auto racing events on the racetrack in front of the stage, SONICUE proved to be a big help: “Our older system would take an hour or so to set up,” says Mason Sound system tech Jason Hebron. “This one takes about 20 minutes. All the engineers have been very happy with it.”
Ian Zorbaugh, FOH engineer for country stars Old Dominion, was among those with positive reviews for the Electro-Voice and Dynacord system. “It exceeds all expectations,” he says. “I mix pretty dynamic with Old Dominion, and had no issues with running out of headroom. As soon as you turn sound on, you feel comfortable mixing. It’s been a very pleasant experience.”
This year’s system included twin 18-box hangs of Electro-Voice X2-212 line-array modules, with Mason Sound opting for the 120-degree dispersion model. Six more boxes were ground-stacked to ensure full coverage of the very wide venue. Massive low frequency capability was supplied by two banks of 16 X12-128 dual-18” subwoofers stacked on the deck under the main arrays. Side-fills of three X2-212/120 were stacked on top of a pair Electro-Voice X12/125F subwoofers. The entire system was networked together for central control through 16 Dynacord TGX20 DSP amplifiers, providing 320,000 watts of clean, efficient power.
Being invited back to provide sound at the Illinois State Fair for several years now, Mason Sound President Dave Mason credits his personnel and sound system. “There are a lot of sound companies in our area, and Electro-Voice is one of the main reasons we stick out above the crowd,” he notes. “Their products and support are second to none.”