Aero for Sarah Palin

The appearance of Sarah Palin addressed a crowd approaching 60,000 in Florida


With the 2008 Presidential election in its final weeks, the pace of the McCain and Obama political campaigns is reaching a fever pitch. In order to gain maximum advantage from appearances of the political contenders, both parties frequently move their candidates from point to point with very short notice. Such was the case with a recent appearance of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who addressed a crowd approaching 60,000 in this massive retirement community in central Florida. Smyrna, TN-based Allstar Audio Systems, Inc. was contracted to handle sound and video for the event and their D.A.S. Audio Aero sound reinforcement system enabled them to make it all happen.

According to Mike Borne, President of Allstar Audio, the project involved a 360-degree setup, as the crowds would surround the gazebo. "In order to address such a large capacity crowd," explained Borne, "we needed to fly a significant number of loudspeakers-not just facing forward from the gazebo, but also to the sides and rear. To accomplish this, we erected a large box truss structure all around the gazebo and then flew the loudspeakers and several video displays. Governor Palin spoke from a small stage erected in front of the gazebo. Our primary loudspeaker systems addressed the crowds both in front and to the rear, while smaller, secondary systems covered the crowds on both sides of the gazebo." For the forward and rear facing systems, twenty-four D.A.S. Audio Aero 38A line array elements were flown-six modules each for the front left and right, and another six modules each for the rear left and right on each side of a large LED video wall.

A large video display was suspended on the gazebo's rear center beneath the line array clusters. "The crowds at the front and rear were really large," said Borne, "so we needed a system with long throw and broad horizontal dispersion capabilities. The Aero 38A was the perfect choice for the size of the crowds." While sizeable, the crowds on both sides of the gazebo were smaller. For these areas, the Allstar Audio crew flew twelve D.A.S. Audio Aero CA-28A enclosures- three modules each for the left and right on each side.Two additional video displays were suspended, with one on each side of the gazebo between the Aero CA-28A clusters. "Since we didn't need as much throw at the sides," explained Borne, "the CA-28A's were angled down at a considerably greater angle. The size and dispersion pattern of the 28A's made them a really good fit for the side areas."

With huge crowds extending a considerable distance from the gazebo's front, the Allstar Audio team erected two video delay towers to ensure suitable coverage for those spectators. "Each of the delay towers was equipped with a video display that was accompanied by a single Aero CA-28A-positioned dead center below the screen to cover the area directly in front of the video walls that were blocking the sound from the main speaker arrays. With all these loudspeakers and video displays, the crowds were able to hear and see Governor Palin very clearly, no matter where they were standing," said Borne. Eight D.A.S. Audio Aero 218A 2K subwoofers augmented the flown loudspeaker systems. These were positioned on the ground-two at each corner of the truss structure-facing the direction of the loudspeakers above them. "This event was primarily one of speech reinforcement," said Borne, "so we took a minimum number of subs, knowing that there was limited music playback before and after Palin's speech. But rest assured, we had a very full, rich low end."

With the Palin rally behind them, Borne reflected on the project. "The D.A.S. Aero system was the best possible choice for this event," notes Borne. "The fully captive rigging hardware makes the loudspeakers quick and easy to fly while the self-powered design minimizes cable clutter and makes for a clean look that sets up quickly. We received numerous compliments for the sound quality and the efficiency with which we handled this project. For me, D.A.S. is an acronym for success."

Text by Roger Maycock

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