Austin boasts literally hundreds of live music events, such as the South By Southwest and Austin City Limits festivals, but one stands out as particularly unique. With more than 10 million people passing through its gates every year, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is often the first and last live music venue visitors to the city see and hear. The audio is powered by a Mackie DLM system installed at the Main Terminal's Asleep At the Wheel Stage at the Ray Benson Roadhouse.
The Peterson Brothers
"There has been music here in the airport since it opened fifteen years ago," explained Michael Pennock, who oversees the music and audio at Austin-Bergstrom Airport. "We have six venues and twenty-three shows a week. The Ray Benson Roadhouse is our busiest venue."
The Roadhouse's Asleep At the Wheel Stage features two Mackie DLM12 12-inch full-range powered loudspeakers, along with four DLM12s for stage monitoring. The entire system is connected to a Mackie DL1608 16-channel digital live sound mixer with iPad control.
The Mackie DLM12 delivers 2,000 Watts of Class D amplification, powering a custom-designed 12-inch woofer and 1.75" HF compression driver. As Pennock points out, the extra power translates into better performance without having to push the system too hard.
"Initially, we had other speakers installed on a truss above the stage, and there was a lot more sound spilling over to the gates," said Pennock. "With the DLM12s, we're able to focus the sound and get better coverage with virtually no bleed. It's been a great improvement and we get a lot of compliments from the performers on the sound."
As Pennock observes, one of the major challenges in operating a live music venue in the middle of a busy airport is maintaining control over the sound to ensure the music does not overpower the airport's paging system. The ability to control the 16-channel DL1608 via iPad empowered the airport's audio crew to easily stay on top of the challenge.
"On either side of the Ray Benson Roadhouse, there are two Southwest airline gates," said Pennock. "With the DL1608's wireless remote iPad control, we can actually walk over to the gates while the band is playing, check volume levels with the airline personnel, and adjust from the iPad on the spot if needed."
The DL1608 six aux sends handle more than enough monitor mixes, and support for up to 10 wireless iPad devices makes it easy for both crew and performers to dial in exactly what they need.
Besides just being a great sounding mixer, Pennock says the DL1608's iPad integration has brought other benefits as well. "Since moving to iPad control, we not only have better communication with the airlines, we've got a better sounding mix, and we're able to get just a little bit louder too. The amount of control the DLM loudspeakers and DL1608 mixer provides is an absolute blessing in this kind of application."