While the spotlight was on President Obama during the public ceremony of his second inauguration held on Monday, January 21st at the U.S. Capitol, there were many private parties, celebrations and events at other institutions in and around D.C. for several days preceding the official event. To support the many festivities, K-array loudspeakers, distributed by Sennheiser, were enlisted to deliver audio.
Cyndi Lauper performs at the Italian Embassy on Sunday, January 20th through a pair of K-array KR 402s.
For All Stage & Sound, Inc., a Laytonsville, MD-based full-service event production company, the presidential inauguration brings with it a packed schedule of corporate events every four years. This year, the firm handled staging and production for activities held at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the United States Institute of Peace, The Italian Embassy, Cafe Milano and others.
"We had equipment out everywhere, and it was all being used around the clock at different venues throughout the city," said Richard O. Benning of All Stage & Sound. The primary loudspeaker systems the company relied on were from Italian manufacturer K-array, which specializes in speakers featuring high sound quality in a small footprint. “K-array is a fantastic solution for the kind of work that we do because these speakers are not only stealth and look great, but they sound fantastic as well."
All Stage & Sound recently fortified its arsenal of K-array systems, anticipating increased demand for this year’s inaugural activities, said Benning. "We already owned five sets of KR 200s, a pair of KR 400s and a pair of KR 100s. To supplement this for the inauguration, we bought two pairs of the new KR 202s, another pair of the new KR 402s and another pair of the new KR 102s."
The events included the Italian Embassy, which occurred on Sunday, January 20th and featured singer Cindy Lauper providing the entertainment through a pair of K-array KR 402s. "Everyone was thrilled that there were Italian speakers in the Italian Embassy, yet there was some initial trepidation about the speakers' small size," Benning recalls. "By the end of the performance, they said the sound was perfect, and of course the sightlines were outstanding because there was nothing in the way."
For the Cyndi Lauper show, All Stage & Sound had set up KR 402s at the left and right of the stage, reinforced by a pair of KR 102s farther down the room, flanked left and right. From an acoustic perspective, K-array speakers provide optimal gain before feedback and help disperse the sound accurately in difficult acoustic environments.
"Because the K-array speakers have such a wide dispersion pattern, we can put them in corners of rooms and face them inward," said Benning. "With the KR 402s, you have a light that gives you a visual indication of where the dispersion begins and ends. You can stand it right in front of a lectern and when you rotate it just slightly, it rejects feedback."
"A big portion of what we do is speech, so feedback rejection is a really important consideration," he said. "If a CEO or some other dignitary is speaking at an inaugural party or other high profile event, the sound must be absolutely clear and there can be no exception."
Benning also appreciates the portability and ease of set-up in the K-arrays, which saves labor costs and space requirements: "You can go in with a single truck and throw in a set of KR 202s with only a couple of guys."
Benning also says the K-arrays have smaller power distribution requirements compared to larger, less efficient systems, helping reduce trucking and manpower requirements. "They go in faster and also look cleaner," he said.