Ultra Music Festival 09

This year's Ultra Music Festival featured over 100 performing artists


For the dance music crowd, Miami's annual Winter Music Conference is regarded as the main event-attracting professionals from numerous countries around the globe. Coinciding with this year's 24th annual showing was the 11th anniversary staging of the Ultra Music Festival- the biggest electronic music festival in the US. Held March 27 - 28 at Miami's oceanfront Bicentennial Park, the Ultra Music Festival served as the closing ceremony for the Winter Music Conference.

, DJ's, and producers and was spread across 16 stages. Sponsors for the Ultra Music Festival were as diverse as the acts that performed there and included the Winter Music Conference, Heineken, Ultra Records, D.A.S. Audio, and Diesel among the key sponsors. Festival organizers were expecting roughly 70,000 attendees during the two-day event. Numerous celebrities were spotted in and about the festival, including Paris Hilton and Sean "Diddy" Combs.

D.A.S. Audio had potent sound systems at two stages this year: (1) the Biscayne Stage, which was host to performances by Hybrid, LA Riots, Stanton Warriors, and BT Live, as well as (2) the Mid Park Arena, where Roni Size, Benny Bennasi, Tiga, and Josh Wink performed. Carlos Henao, owner/operator of Miami-based Paradise Production Services served as Technical Director and System Technician at the festival and was particularly involved at the two D.A.S. Audio-equipped stages. Each stage had sizeable setups from the D.A.S. Aero catalog, as Henao explained.

"At Biscayne," said Henao, "we ran a pretty big system consisting of Aero 38A powered medium format line arrays in tandem with the Aero CA-28A compact powered line arrays. We flew sixteen 38A's-eight per side-with two CA-28A's hung beneath the 38's. Low frequency support was provided by twelve D.A.S. LX-218 powered subwoofers, which were ground stacked two high and six wide across the lower front edge of the stage."

Henao described the sound system at the Mid Park Arena stage. "For this system," explained Henao, "we used sixteen of D.A.S. Audio's new Aero 50 large format line arrays-flown eight per side. These were driven by Lab Gruppen PLM Series 4-channel power amps. Sub bass program was handled by twelve D.A.S. LX-218A powered subs in a single row across the lower front of the stage. For stage monitoring, we deployed four D.A.S. SML-15A powered stage wedges across the front and, for sidefills, we used three Aero CA-215A subs per side and four D.A.S. Aero CA-28A's per side."

With the crowd capacity pushing the maximum limits at Bicentennial Park, Henao discussed some of the challenges the audio crews faced. "When you're dealing with an audience of roughly 30,000 people, you need a combination of long throw and broad horizontal dispersion in order to provide consistent coverage," said Henao. This was unquestionably the biggest issue and the very reason why we deployed D.A.S. Audio's larger line array systems at each stage. The Ultra Music Festival is a pretty loud affair and maintaining the high SPL levels throughout the heat and humidity is no small consideration."

"The fact that most of these systems were self-powered was another important consideration," Henao continued, "as it streamlines setup and breakdown. The fact that we didn't have to transport all that many power amps was a huge plus since weight is a big factor when trucking the equipment. The self-powered design of the loudspeaker systems also creates a more efficient truck pack-and this is a huge matter for any sound company."

With the 11th annual Ultra Music Festival now a part of history, Terry McNeil, the Assistant Production Manager and Lead System Designer, offered this closing assessment of the D.A.S.-equipped stages. "I've received nothing but praise for the quality of the sound and the professionalism in which the entire project was coordinated," said McNeil. "Henao and the sound staff were prompt, courteous, and did a great job. Every sound guy at the show was very impressed with the two D.A.S. systems. Bottom line: the D.A.S. systems not only matched, but exceeded my expectations."

Text by Roger Maycock

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