New Sound System At Fred Makes Every Seat A Great Seat

Tue, 01/06/2009 - 3:30pm
By: The Citizen

When the new “Fun at the Fred” concert season kicks off this spring, every seat in Peachtree City’s 2,400-capacity Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater is going to be a great one thanks to a new, state-of-the-art sound system.

“This represents the most significant upgrade to its sound system in the venue’s 32-year history,” said Matt Russom, president of The Show Business Sound and Lighting Inc., the company that will provide professional sound and lighting for the upcoming season.

To give an idea of the magnitude of sound control the new system offers, the old system had 12 speakers on each side of the stage projecting sound out to the audience, as well as some along the sides to fill in. The JBL Vertec system features 48 speakers on each side of the stage to provide infinite control of sound volume, tone and quality, with no need for side speakers.

The Show Business, in conjunction with Sound Principals, its installation division, conducted a thorough evaluation of The Fred; its existing equipment, facility site and structure.

“We evaluated several audio systems used in performance venues and outdoor concert arenas to determine the type of system that will provide optimum sound quality for this specific venue,” said Russom. “We tested the new products throughout the 2008 season and settled on the best package for the Fred for 2009.”

Show Business decided to go with one of the most venerable and respected names in the sound business, JBL. The JBL Vertec sound system is the newest technology and product available in this class. Patrons attending events at The Fred in 2009 will experience a sound quality notably superior to that of other amphitheaters in the metro-Atlanta area.

“When we evaluated the Vertec system, we had a technician from the JBL factory come here and spend many hours showing us the fine tuning capabilities of the system. We were very impressed,” said Mike Gunny, Head of Special Event Services at The Show Business.

With the extensive upgrades, Russom says, The Fred will now enjoy the same sound system recently used by Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and Christina Aguilera as well as seen and heard on many prestigious events including “American Idol,” The Grammy’s, the Superbowl and the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

The Vertec system consists of two giant arcs of speaker cabinets, one suspended on each side of the stage. Each arc is about 14 feet tall and 4 feet across. Each arc consists of 6 sets of speaker cabinets, with each set containing 8 speakers covering the high, mid and low range of sound, for a total of 48 speakers in each arc. Each set of speakers is designed and can be adjusted to propel sound in a different direction.

Previous systems would only project sound in one general direction creating “hot spots,” where sound blasted people, and “dead spots” where the sound was less distinct. It was very difficult to balance the system so that everyone was hearing the same sound.

The Vertec system solves this problem.

“Once we have calibrated the system specifically for the Fred, sound will be projected equally to every corner of the venue, ensuring that no matter where someone sits they will be getting the same sound as everyone else,” said Gunny. “There literally will not be a bad seat in the house.”

JBL stands for James B. Lansing, who started the James B. Lansing Sound, Inc. company in 1946. Lansing, born in Illinois in 1902, built upon an early interest in radios and went on to perfect many of the processes that have become standard in loudspeaker manufacturing around the world.

During WWII the company worked on a magnetic airborne detector, an airborne submarine detection system, of extreme sensitivity. Engineers at the factory were quick to note that the high energy magnetic material, Alnico V, used in this device would have great application after the war in loudspeaker designs.

During the war years, Lansing’s energies and talents were channeled solely into transducer and systems engineering. After the war the company began its journey to become one of the world’s foremost sound experts.

The company continues as a major force in both consumer high-fidelity and professional markets. JBL is the leading producer of branded loudspeakers in the

United States today.

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Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 01/15/2009 - 11:35am. tell me what it cost and how it will make the venue profitable. As I approach my third consecutive year of not having season tickets, perhaps this could be construed as an effort to regain my business, but for the life of me I can not understand the priority of doing so while laying employees off.

If The Fred remains a revenue deficit, how is it that our city can justify the extravagance? Delaying until the economy turns around would seem practical, but with the Harold and Bernie Show in control, I am not surprised.

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