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L-Acoustics K2 Creates A Model For Hard Rock Live Sound

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"Hard Rock Live is NOW OPEN!" The all-caps exclamation on the website for the 2,500-seat venue at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain is understandable.

The resort opened in 2019, but work on the entertainment facility was stumped for nearly three years by the pandemic and constant supply-chain problems. However, in the wake of a debut performance by Maroon 5 this summer, Hard Rock Live is now poised to be the region's premier concert destination, with Live Nation serving as its exclusive talent booking agency. And the space is also positioned to host a multitude of other events—meetings, trade shows, boxing, MMA, and charity events—all with a new L-Acoustics K2 sound system to ensure the room’s constant demand.

Like all Hard Rock venues, the new Hard Rock Live was designed with patrons in mind. However, with world-class design and integration vendors creating it—Montréal-based Scéno Plus did the audio design, which Clair Global implemented—it’s also keenly aware of the needs of touring shows.

"L-Acoustics is the most well-known professional loudspeaker system, and you’ll find them on any technical rider," explains François Blais, Scéno Plus Vice President of Technology and Specialized Equipment. "And that's why we especially liked K2 for this project: it's a great-sounding system from a rider-friendly brand, which makes it so much easier for the venue to market itself. Today, it's not enough to only go for the best sound. System designs must keep the economic aspects of venues in mind; they must be cost-effective. You have to look at systems design from the production manager's perspective, too." Additionally, he notes his experience with L-Acoustics in the past proves the level of support the brand brings with it: "They are there for us from the design phase through tuning the installed system."

The venue's main PA consists of 18 K2 divided into left and right hangs, 60 feet apart, managed by a pair of P1 processors: one primary, one backup. Ten KS28 subs anchor the low end, and five Kiva II serve as front-fills. Side-fills consist of six A15 Focus buttressed by four KS21 subs, while onstage, a dozen X12 and six X15 wedge monitors are joined by two SB18 subs intended for the drums. Eleven LA12X and nine LA4X amplified controllers power the combined FOH and monitor systems, driven by a new pair of DiGiCo Quantum225 consoles.

Blais says that the combination of power and compactness that K2 offers allowed the sound system design to be highly flexible to reconfigure around the venue as needed for various applications. "It also means there isn't a bad seat in the house because we can adjust for sight lines no matter where or how the system is positioned," he explained.

Another important implication of this installation is how the company regards it as a template for future Hard Rock Live venues in other and upcoming Hard Rock Hotel & Casino locations and how the L-Acoustics sound technology can be part of that. "Hard Rock Live Sacramento and its sound will be a model for our new live venue designs,” says Carl Sagen, Production Manager at Hard Rock Live Sacramento, who previously toured with Diana Ross and Faith No More."

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