Nomad Sound, the well-respected sound rental company in Austin, TX, is dominant at the annual SXSW South by Southwest urban music festival. “It was a pretty busy week,” admits owner Damon Lange, “with nearly 50 shows and 150 show “days” of work over the 10-day period.” Here, Nomad engineers share details of the top four venues that they equipped with NEXO and Yamaha systems.
• The main Waterloo Stage, one of the largest stages at SXSW, entertained packed-to-capacity crowds with performances by Spoon, Modern English, minus the bear, and Mike Posner. As well as a Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 Digital Audio Console for front-of-house, and a CL5 console on monitors, Nomad provided main PA of 6x GEO S 1210/1230 line array modules per side, with 6x RS18 Ray Subs per side, and further S12s used for front fill. Main PA and a stage monitor system using PS15-R2s, were driven by NXAMP4x4s.
Joel Hume, presiding over front of house at the Waterloo Stage, is “very familiar with Yamaha consoles; the combo of the NEXO GEO S12 system and the PM10 sounded great, and made for an easy mixing gig.”
• Nomad used a ground-stacked STM Series system for the Brazos Hall events, also bringing in a Yamaha PM10 to handle the monitor sound for the Austin Music Awards hosted by the venue. The band Weezer was one of the best-known acts at Brazos. “The system performance in Brazos Hall was seamless,” stated Nomad engineer Matt Trevino. “With little or no effort, Weezer production was able to achieve the fidelity for which they are famous. The STM performed wonderfully, and the Yamaha PM10 used at The Austin Music Awards was welcomed with open arms.”
• The lineup at Eno’s included Spoon, Hamilton Leithauser, and !!! (Chk Chk Chk). This theatre has a house system using 4x NEXO GEO S1210 + LS18 per side, 2x GEO M620s for front fill, and extra RS18s for subbass. Front-of-house is mixed by a Yamaha CL5 Digital Audio Console with a Rio3224-D Input/output box. The monitor system uses 6x NEXO 45°N-12 line monitors, a LS18/PS15 for drum fill, NUAR, controlled by a Yamaha CL5 with a second Rio3224-D.
“GEO S12s were an easy choice for the room because of the power they offer within a relatively small physical footprint,” states Stefan Bouts from Nomad Sound. “Space is very tight at Eno’s, with a minimum of six acts every day, so being able to deploy a capable system without cramping the stage was the biggest hurdle. There were also some acoustic challenges in a space like that, so it’s kind of a tricky deployment. The GEO boxes were a natural choice, and proved to be an excellent one. Despite the venue selling to capacity on several nights, I always had headroom, and coverage was great. I had a great time mixing, and it was awesome to be able to take such good care of our guest engineers as well. Engineers never know what kind of system they are walking into at SXSW, and it was mentioned to me more than once that our stage was a breath of fresh air in the midst of a sometimes chaotic run of shows. That’s a good feeling.”
* Nomad’s Michael Hunter mixed five days of unofficial SXSW events in the “live room” at Arlyn Studios, a well-known South Austin recording studio. The rig consisted of 2x NEXO PS15s as mains with two SoundBridge dual-18″ subs and a NEXO ID24 for fill. 8x NEXO PS10s served as stage monitors, with a PS15 for drum fill. Amplification was provided by a NXAMP4x4 and 2x NXAMP4x1s, all equipped with Dante interface cards. The front of house console was a Yamaha CL3 with networking via Dante, including all I/O between the console, stage racks (Rio3224 and Rio1608), NXAMP amplifiers, and laptops used for multi-tracking and system control/monitoring.
“I’m constantly impressed by the NEXO PS15 speaker, says Hunter. “It’s an extremely versatile loudspeaker with a surprising amount of headroom that performs equally well as a stage monitor or, in this case, as a main in smaller setups. This particular room was relatively small (approximately 150 capacity), so while there wasn’t a ton of area to cover, getting a clear mix to blend with the very close (and often loud!) backline can be difficult to say the least. Despite these challenges, the setup performed beautifully. I was able to achieve clear and balanced mixes without having to overwhelm the room or mix at excessive levels, something that is a treat to accomplish in such a small space. A new experience I had with this event was using the NEXO PS10 for monitors. Despite their diminutive size, they provided a serious amount of SPL and performed admirably, with many positive reviews from the artists who used them. They were especially helpful for providing a higher mix count than would have been possible with a larger cabinet, given the small space available. The PS10 will be my new go-to for smaller stages!”
* Nomad supported three other stages with NEXO GEO S speakers and Yamaha QL5 Digital Console show packages.