Rat Sound supplies L-Acoustics K1 for Pearl Jam arena tour

An L-Acoustics K1 system handled Pearl Jam’s recent sold-out, two-month North American arena tour in support of new album Lightning Bolt.

It was the Seattle-based rock band’s first proper tour since 2010, and once again they were backed by a full K1 set-up provided by Rat Sound Systems.

Pearl Jam’s relationship with Rat Sound began in 1991 – the year its debut album was released – when they opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers. Since then, the firm has served as the group’s main live production provider.

According to Kevin McKenzie of Rat Sound – Pearl Jam’s system tech for the past decade – the system deployed at each venue typically comprised 14 K1 plus six KARA downfills per side with adjacent hangs of 12 K1-SB. Additional left and right side hangs of ten K1 and six KARA were also chosen, while another four arrays of 15 KARA each provided the 270- and 360-degree reinforcement positions for the majority of the arenas.

To augment the low end provided by the flown K1-SB arrays, eight SB28 per side were ground-stacked in front of the stage, with eight ARCS II enclosures and six self-powered 108P units supplying front-fill. The whole system was driven by LA8 amplifiers, controlled via L-NET.

"We run across many decent-sounding ‘competitive systems’ when doing festivals in Europe and South America, but, to me, K1 is still the best tool for this show," McKenzie said. "Compared to V-DOSC, it throws farther and a little bit wider, plus has more horsepower, which was great for a loud rock tour like this. Our signal path was fully digital at 96k between the Digico SD5 house desk and LA8 amps, and the sound was always crystal clear each night with consistently even coverage delivered to every seat in the house–including those behind the stage as most shows were sold 360 degrees.

"K1 is a full-range box and can obviously be used with SB28 with great results. However, we chose to also fly 12 K1-SB per side, which coupled very well with the K1 arrays and provided truly tight, chest-thumping impact and uniform low end contour to the entire audience. Adding the ground-stacked SB28s to that really rounded out the bottom and created a very satisfying ‘hi-fi’ sound."

The tour kicked got underway on October 11th 2013 in Pittsburgh and finished with a hometown Seattle show – Pearl Jam’s first in over four years – at Key Arena on December 6th.

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