The venue, Tropicana Field, is pulling out all the stops this season, deploying a 48-box NEXO GEO T line array provided by ESI Audio in Tampa, under the direction of crew chiefs Rick Soukup and Ozzy Giron. “No other speaker system of this size packs the punch, intelligibility and fidelity,” states ESI’s Erick Otto’ Celeiro referring to the NEXO line arrays. “GEO T is certainly my box of choice.”
Pulling off decent sound at Tropicana Field is no small feat. Traditional concert spaces have padded walls to absorb echoes. Traditional stadiums have open-air roofs, from which echoes can escape. Tropicana Field has neitherjust concrete walls and a domed top. But the biggest obstacle by far is set-up time, since the concerts follow directly after the games have finished.
“After the game ends, we are asked to have the stage and audio in place within 15 minutes,” says Celeiro. “Usually around 8:00 a.m. we load in, stage the gear in a tunnel of the stadium, and then move in place for a sound check. After sound check, we strike and stage in bays behind the outfield wall.”
At change over (end of the game), front of house, which is located on a 12 x 8 rolling riser, is pulled out and staged by a forklift (approximately 100′ from the stage). The 32′ x 24′ stage is pulled out and placed by a Hummer. Monitor world which houses the house amps, monitor amps, splitter and monitor desk, is also pulled out via forklift and placed Stage Left or Stage Right as per artists’ request.
For each concert, the ESI Audio team hangs 24x NEXO GEO T line arrays per side, only staging 15 per side due to height restrictions in the bays. Once the lull clears the bays, the system goes up and the remaining nine GEO T boxes are attached. When all the boxes are flown, they are carefully driven in place and raised to trim height.
The system uses 16x S2 subs that are stacked four wide and two high on a 4′ x 8′ deck modified so it can be fork lifted. Rigging hardware is used to secure the subs and keep them together. Once the subs are placed, the NEXO line arrays are brought in and flown from a pair of lulls. “When every piece of the puzzle is in place, circuited and powered up, we do a quick component check with pink noise, time align the PA, and turn the sound system over to the guest engineer,” says Celeiro.
The PA system also includes four ESI GA racks that house two NEXO NX242 processors and five Camco Vortex 6 amps each. Two ESI SA racks carry one NX242 processor and four Lab Gruppen FPI4000 amplifiers each. Drive consists of a Dolby Lake LP8D8 with tablet, Avalon VT747, and Tascam CDR all located at front of house. The house console and microphones are per the artist spec or provided by the artist.
The Monitor system includes a dbx482, Lab Gruppen FP10000Q and FP2400Q, JBL712M or ESI1502, and a Ramtech splitter/snake system. The monitor console and microphones are per the artist’s spec or provided by the artist.
After the show, everything returns to the tunnel in the reverse order for break down and load out, and Tropicana Field becomes the Rays playing field once again until the next concert.
For more information on ESI Audio, visit http://www.esiaudio.com.