- by Frank Hammel
FRESNO, CA — Speeda Sound, which provides sound gear to to as many as 50 fairs in the state of California during the course of a year, added 18 Powersoft K3 DSP+AESOP power amplifiers to its rental inventory. The company offers them as part of a compact, two-rack stage monitor package, and chose them in part for their promise at withstanding the harsh conditions of the annual fair circuit.
More details from Powersoft (www.powersoft-audio.com):
"We put the K3's into every environment that we could - heat, cold, dust, rough terrain, you name it - and on everything from heavy rock to heavy country to heavy rap," says Mike King, president and founder, Speeda Sound. "Never once did we find a situation where they overheated or anything. Not once did they fail, from the day we put them in the racks."
Speeda Sound, established in 1977, also provides production sound for other entertainment events but is primarily focused on California's busy calendar of fairs, which are held from February through October. Over the years the company has built up sufficient equipment inventory, full-time staff and a fleet of trucks to handle as many as four fairs simultaneously, with some fairs scheduling entertainment on as many as a dozen stages.
"We needed something really compact that has a lot of power," King continues. "Weight was also a consideration. The K3 weighs 27 pounds and is just one rack space, plus it has all the digital processing built in, with control of parameters and presets." The size and weight were important issues, as the 18 amplifiers needed to fit into two racks of a three-rack package that could fit under a Yamaha PM5D or Avid Profile digital console. "The whole thing can be strapped together and rolled away in a matter of seconds," says King.
"Just from the fact that we've taken monitor world and now put it underneath the desk, you really clean up the stage," adds Dave Harris, operations manager, Speeda Sound. "The density we're getting into one of those little 12-space racks is pretty amazing. It also makes the truck pack a lot easier."
California's fairs attract millions of people every year. This year's Orange County Fair, for example, saw nearly 1.4 million fairgoers visit over 23 days. The Big Fresno Fair - reportedly the largest in the Central Valley and the fifth biggest in the state - attracts over 500,000 attendees during a 12-day period.
The state fair circuit attracts some major names in music entertainment, ranging from classic rock to hip-hop to country, this year including Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, Snoop Dogg, Big and Rich, and Martina McBride. Newer artists on this year's schedule included Cobra Starship, Finger Eleven and Third Eye Blind.
The new Powersoft K3 amps have brought a noticeable improvement to the performance of the JBL VRX monitor wedges that they are powering, according to Harris. "We get anywhere from five to 12 different guest artists coming through using the amps every week. We've gotten lots of compliments - because they're seeing the same wedges from other companies. Guys are digging them."
The K3 amps have also performed flawlessly when used to power EAW KF850 cabinets as side fills, King reports. "They drive side fills tremendously. No issues, no problems, no concerns. Bring it on!"
King adds, "I've been doing this for about 34 years full time, and I've tried some amplifiers that didn't work in our environment. They just wouldn't hang in there: it was too cold, or too dusty, or there were too many demands on them. The Powersoft amps have been nothing but phenomenal in all departments. They look great, they sound great and they perform great. I don't have anything but praise for them."