HALO-A crowns Norway’s Skudefestivalen

Celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, Skudefestivalen is one of Norway’s largest coastal culture festivals. This year marked the first European outing for EM Acoustics’ newly launched HALO-A large-format line array system, where it made a big impression on visiting sound engineers for the festival’s main stage performances from many of Norway’s top acts, including Jan Ove Ottesen, Heine Totland, Plumbo, Just 4 You, Keipstein and Slogmåkane.

The HALO-A line array was supplied by Haugesund-based AV rental specialists, Livepro, with support from EM Acoustics’ Norwegian distributor, Norstage. Livepro’s system engineer, Geir Larsen, has become the first adopter of HALO-A in Europe, and for good reason. “This is a huge improvement over the sound systems we’ve used in previous years,” he said. “I’m really impressed with the way it sounds, even in a tent which is not the friendliest environment for a concert.”

Larsen elected to deploy left and right ground stacks of four HALO-A two-way line array elements supported by three MSE-218 subwoofers each side, powered by four DQ20 advanced system amplifiers. “Setup was a piece of cake,” he remarked. “We used it in a groundstacked configuration for Skudefestivalen, but the next job required a flown system, and I rigged it single-handedly. There aren’t that many systems you can do that with, especially large-format systems like HALO-A. It’s really useful to be able to set the splay angles before you fly it.”

As for performance, Larsen strongly praised the remarkable projection and rear rejection that HALO-A’s design offers. “I can’t believe how loud it is! The power and SPL is just breathtaking. But even at high levels, it sounds incredibly natural and the vocal presence is amazing. Many other systems would rip your head off at those levels, but not HALO-A; it still sounds great. The dynamic range was impressive and it was surprisingly quiet behind the rig. We had no feedback issues at all, although we turned it up as loud as we dared! Sound coverage and throw was excellent and the HF drops very little at long range compared to other systems.”

Norstage’s Lasse Erikson agrees. “Geir certainly had a big smile on his face as he was using it, and comments from other engineers – including top Norwegian engineer, Johan Berntsen who engineers for Janove – were very positive. They all remarked on how good it sounded and the amount of SPL they could generate (which is important for Norwegian rock bands!) The difference between the system Livepro have been using here for the last five years and HALO-A is huge, even though on paper they were very similar. The HF clarity and the power of HALO-A was astonishing. One of the big differences compared to other systems is that HALO-A requires very little EQ on the inputs, which has the effect of opening up the mix – you end up with the same open feeling that you get from HALO-C but at much higher SPLs.”