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Festival Hall Never Sounded This Good!

Filter spoke with Johnston Audio’s Drew Menard during set up for the Jet show at Festival Hall in Melbourne, a couple of nights after Jet scored themselves and incredible six ARIA awards. An achievement that has definitely put the band on a high as they finished up many, many months of touring for their album Get Born. Drew was happy to talk about the reaction to the system from some of the international acts, who have used the GeoT rig for the first time whilst touring Australia, and also went over a few of the benefits of GeoT from the perspective of a hire operator at this level.

Johnston Audio has more recently added the GeoT to their inventory, a complementary addition to their Nexo Alpha system. Having used the Nexo Alpha System in the past, Drew sees the main difference between GeoT and Alpha is that GeoT is in the definition of a line array system, with the GeoT clearly falling into the category of a “true” line array and most definitely a step up from the Alpha System, at this level of production.

“In the past, it was the V-Dosc which was considered the line array system by which all others are judged” Drew stated, “But now, the GeoT is the one which has simply taken over through innovation and excellent production value”. Drew loves the response he is getting from the guys coming from the US and Europe, who don’t normally expect quality production value from such a small country as Australia. He says these guys have become absolute converts to Nexo.

Touring acts that have recently used the GeoT for the first time (in Australia) include; Faithless (FOH guy was an instant convert from V-Dosc), Placebo (saying goodbye to EAW), A Perfect Circle (ready to move from Meyer), and acts like The Prodigy, Powderfinger, and The John Butler Trio, all have taken to the incredible GeoT sound.

One of the biggest benefits Drew has found in GeoT–and was very keen to point out–was the set-up time and safety benefits in the rigging and set-down of the system. Comparing it to other line arrays, including V-Dosc, he estimates set-up to be “around 40% faster and is hands-down the fastest and safest when rigging and pulling it down”.

The main safety benefits of GeoT is the clipping system for each of the arrays, providing the ability to go up by section, then the beauty in setting down is that it goes down in its own footprint. Unlike V-Dosc that has wheels on the front of the modules, the GeoT removes the very real risk of the whole array sliding backward and taking out an unsuspecting rigger by allowing each section to come down in its own space. Easy. Setting up for the Jet show at Festival Hall took half and hour per side with the system ready to make noise in under two hours, with one hour to pull down.

Drew finds it incredible he is always finding new things he likes about the GeoT system every time it gets used, with many different working options and versatility, from theatres to circus tents, and big venue gigs in between. By far one of the best reactions to the system has been for the recent Faithless show at Vodaphone Arena (Melbourne), with band, crew and punters all having their breath taken away by the amazing sounds of the band being elevated incredibly by the quality of the Nexo system.

“As far as product support goes, GeoT offer regular (and valuable) updates to the processing software” Drew said. In fact when asked about any negative opinions of the system–and this is no BS–Drew could only say, “the subs are too big”, with the instant disclaimer, added “only sometimes”.

After being given a tour of the system, and having it cranked, I was totally blown away by the sound across the whole venue. I walked all around and noticed the sound levels did not change from any point in front, or to the side of the rig. Standing behind the system, from the position of monitors, I was amazed with the subs (and the arrays), as they actually push the sound toward the front (in cardioid fashion). Another key benefit I realised on my personal tour was the sightlines to the stage benefit greatly from the tiny GeoT system. No matter which seats you have, as a punter, you will get a good view of the band, and then the big bonus, you get to hear the band too! I have never heard Festival Hall sound so good.

Filter would like to thank Drew for taking the time out to speak with us smack-bang in the middle of getting ready for the gig. It was great to speak with him, and his passion for the job (and Nexo) shone through.

Here’s the FOH GeoT rig for Festival Hall. Drew notes for a room as wide as Festival Hall, care is taken with the subs, three columns of two arrays, allowing for the room dimensions, which varies depending on the venue.

Main Hang
- 6 x 4805 per side
- 3 x 2815 per side

Out-fills:
- 6 x 4805 per side

Subs
- 6 x CD18 per side

Monitors were taken care of by Jet and JAS’s own Mark Crawly (and) the Nexo Alpha system, including use of the Nexo PS 15 and Camco Vortex 6 amplifiers. Overall a truly world-class rig for a world-class act.

Check out the range of Nexo products, including the Geot, by clicking here.


From side of stage - Check out the sightlines.
From side of stage – Check out the sightlines.
If only we could magnify the band, it could match the sound.
If only we could magnify the band, it could match the sound.
Always smiling - Johnston Audio's Drew Menard.
Always smiling – Johnston Audio’s Drew Menard.
Jet and JAS legend Mark Crawly working monitors.
Jet and JAS legend Mark Crawly working monitors.

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