A dBTechnologies DVA T12 system was recently deployed for use on a US Navy aircraft carrier, with audio suppliers Mambo Sound and Broadcast Support tasked with specifying the system and looking after it on its cruise from Hawaii to San Diego.
Mambo Sound’s Steve McNeil explained the decision behind the decision to go with the dBTechnologies system: “Our friends at Broadcast Support already have a DVA T4 rig, so we knew it was reliable. It also needed to be lightweight to keep the freight costs down. We flew the whole sound system to Hawaii, took it to Pearl Harbor and craned it on the USS John C Stennis active aircraft carrier, then craned it off again in San Diego seven days later.”
The main PA comprised six dBTechnologies DVA T12 active three-way line array modules – three either side – and was controlled by RDNet. These were ground stacked on top of two DVA S20s each side. “We brought eight T12s with us, but they were so powerful we actually only needed six,” added McNeil.
“As the ship was to be in the middle of the Pacific we could not fly the PA, so it had to be stacked and strapped. At one point we had 30 foot swells. The hardware supplied was easy to use and versatile, and we were able to bend the stack by three degrees. The system sounded smooth and open – even stacked. Area fills were handled by DVX D15s, whilst DVX DM12 and DM15 looked after stage monitoring.
“Since the ship was a working vessel, we had to set the stage on horizontal plane. We relied on the area fills to get the sides and edges. It worked great. No complaints.”
As a reward for excellent service, the US Navy provides sailors with a ‘Tiger Cruise’, whereby a select group of the crew are allowed to bring friends or family members on to the ship for a ‘ride’ back home, offering them the opportunity to work alongside the sailors and gain a unique insight into life the ship. McNeil continued: “We needed a powerful PA to cover the 5000 crew members plus 1000 Tigers (visitors), which made the DVA T12s an ideal choice. Indeed there are bunch of reasons why we went for dBTechnologies; the boxes are reliable, energy efficient, flexible and really great sounding.”
The Kelly Bell Band provided musical entertainment for the troops, placing diverse demands upon the system throughout the week, which meant the system had to be flexible. Presentations were made to the Tigers for the schedule of events, which included two air shows, while there was a 26-act talent show performed by service members, a ‘rap-off’ hosted by the band, readings, a step performance and an awards ceremony commending top sailors presented by the Commanding Officer (CO).
“This job presented a unique set of problems for a sound company,” said McNeil. “This is a working 90,000 ton aircraft carrier and we are at the mercy of the ship’s operational needs. Besides setting up for the music portion, our time schedule needed to be flexible – world events could change the gig at a moment’s notice, and when the CO wants the stage, it’s his.
“It was a stunning setting,” he continued. “A stage was built in the hangar, in an enclosed steel room in the belly of the craft where the planes and helicopters were stored, and large doors would be opened that lead to the ships five aircraft elevators exposing all to an awesome view of the open sea.”