Austin's oh-so-hip The Belmont was the locale for some of South-By-Southwest's best musical showcases this past March. Considered by some to be a departure from Austin's 'typical' venue, The Belmont epitomizes the swanky coolness of Palm Springs and Las Vegas circa 1960. For SXSW, The Belmont beefed up its sound system adding an arsenal of Cerwin Vega Pro components—making its sound perhaps more suited to metal maniacs RATT, than the smooth stylings of The Rat Pack.
The powerfully upgraded system comprised Cerwin Vega TS 42, AB36, and JE 36 folded horns, CV-2800 and CV-900 amps, CVP-2153, and CVP-1152 and CVA-28 speakers.
With a continuous schedule of bands playing from noon to night over the course of the week, the character and quality of the sound was noticeable from production staff to performing artists.
Jeremy Parker, from Musical Services Group got the system up and running for the showcases. "The Cerwin Vega monitors were very easy to handle. With some 25 bands performing on this stage, I was able to pull off a very, very sweet mix—so much so that no one had to ask for anything more when they hit the stage. These monitors are clear and punchy, right in your face. They're loud; they're there. We had a deejay, Diplo, who brought a big crowd. I was able to use the 21 subwoofers and the 18s on top of that… I'm telling you, it was something else. We were setting off car alarms!"
"If there's a brown note these things can find it," Parker continued. "We had everybody checking their pockets with the phantom phone ring. A band will drop a bass line and everybody wants to feel it and hear it… This is my first rodeo with Cerwin Vega, and I'm extremely impressed."
"All the artists came to me when they got off stage, and the comments were unanimous," added Brian Ohm, of the production/event management team for the venue. "They couldn't believe how good it actually sounded. We've had some of the biggest names playing official showcases here, from Kris Kristofferson to John Hiatt. But a lot of the smaller bands aren't use to experiencing the big stage feel and sound. We wanted to provide them with Cerwin Vega to get the best sound possible."
Glynn Wedgewood, frontman for the band Stereo Is a Lie got a call from the in-house engineer at The Belmont to advance the show. "He filled us in on the rig and I was like, 'Whoa!' I've gotta check this out!' Onstage, the one thing I noticed was the system's clarity more than anything else. You could hear everything, as opposed to a lot of these outdoor venues at South by Southwest, where the breeze is coming through and you lose a lot of the sound because it tends to mush. Here, that just did not happen. I could hear everything that was going on, which was refreshing!"
Electro-dance-rock outfit, The Black And White Years were equally blown away. "Everybody out front that we knew and talked to after our set said it sounded great. We use such a boomy 808 kick drum, and it really helped to have that bass response. You gotta have that if you want people to dance… And they did!"
"We had this rap artist named Zeale in here playing," offered Michael Graham, a lighting tech at the venue. "There was so much low-end my pants were shaking! My shirt was shaking, too! It was insane. But it wasn't muddy or anything like that. I did not realize that the Cerwin-Vega's had that much punch for being as small as they were. As far as speakers go, this is one of the best sound systems in downtown Austin right now. Very nice."
When the week long SXSW showcases at The Belmont came to a close everyone from in-house staff to artists and attendees were sold on Cerwin Vega's powerful sound.
"We've had a great turnout to all of our events," raved Michelle Weber, Marketing Director for The Belmont. "I've gotten personal feedback from so many people that were here saying that they had a great time—and not only the people that are coming in but the artists that were performing—were really impressed with what we set up. It sounded amazing."