Over the past 12 months, London-based audio and lighting equipment supply and rental business Podd Sound has increasingly turned to a QSC WideLine-8 line array for sound reinforcement at the PAs, live webcasts, launch parties and live performances that form a major part in his business.
Since the start of the year, Podd Sound founder Mat Podd has worked for some of the hottest names in London’s music business, including Daft Punk, Little Mix and Olly Murs, providing sound reinforcement on smaller, intimate stages or in meeting rooms on record company premises rather than at traditional concert venues. Some of the bigger names to benefit from the WideLine-8 system recently have been Pharrell Williams — Podd Sound’s WideLine-8 was used at the UK media playback of the internationally successful album G I R L in late February — and Michael Jackson, whose posthumous album Xscape was given its European public debut via the WideLine-8 system in a media playback session at a luxury London hotel ballroom on March 31st.
At recent events featuring Little Mix and Olly Murs, Podd deployed eight WL3082 elements and six WL212-sw subs, arranged in two arrays of four tops and three subs per stereo channel, and driven by six QSC PowerLight 380 amps, with DSP system management by twin SC28 processors. An additional two WL212-sw subs were added at the Olly Murs gig, a combined live gig and webcast at Sony Music’s London HQ which was performed before 400 fans while being simultaneously streamed on-line.
“I had the loudspeakers arranged in a ground stack for the Olly Murs gig, and added the extra pair of subs to give me enough height to project the sound right across the audience,” Podd explains. “You get excellent dispersion from WideLine, as the name suggests, so I’ve found I don’t need side-fills in these smaller venues.”
The Xscape launch, however, required a different approach. “I was asked to use ground stacks in the hotel ballroom,” continues Podd, “but the media were all due to be seated during the playback, so I had to make sure that the dispersion was right, and that the music didn’t disappear over their heads.”
Fortunately, the WL212-sw subs have a mounting provision in their suspension system that allows WideLine 3082 units mounted on top of the subs at up to 10 degrees downwards, even when the subs are ground-stacked. “It was almost as though the array was hung,” explains Mat Podd, “so during the playback, the music was aimed right at the seated audience.” The final system used at the Jackson launch comprised four ground stacks, one approximately in each corner of the ballroom, and each comprising three WL212-sw subwoofers, with four WL3082 full-range WideLine units on top managed again by twin SC28s. Amplification was provided by a total of eight QSC PowerLight PL380 and two PL325s.
“All in all, the WideLine-8 has been great for producing a detailed sound that doesn’t overpower the smaller rooms I’ve been working in lately,” concludes Podd. “They’re easy to ship in and out, don’t weigh much, are only 50cm wide, and have got super-fast rigging and flying systems. For me, it’s one of the best compact line arrays out there.”