L-Acoustics K1 at New Zealand’s first post-isolation live concert

Marking the country’s much anticipated return to live music events, chart-topping band L.A.B. played a sold-out show for 6,000 fans at Spark Arena in Auckland.

Moved from its originally scheduled theatre venue, such was demand, this was the first major concert since lockdown. College Hill Productions supplied an L-Acoustics K1 system, bringing an energy to the group’s audio that offered the enthusiastic crowd a celebratory performance.

L.A.B.’s label and management, Loop Media, is a long-time client of College Hill Productions, its preferred supplier for all things audio. Loop is headed by Michael (Mikee) Tucker, with Dan Clist and Scott Tindale assisting him. When the call came to supply an sound system for the world’s first arena concert after the COVID-19 lockdown, the team at College Hill was thrilled to be involved.


“The show was originally scheduled as a smaller club-style show to happen later in the year. Once COVID-19 hit New Zealand, we weren’t sure when the industry was going to pick up again,” says College Hill’s Audio Production Manager, James Thompson


“When Mikee contacted us to say he was planning on shifting the concert to Spark Arena, and making it the first arena concert back, we got our planning books out and waited until the all clear was given to host mass gatherings.”

LAcoustics L.A.B. SparkArena 1

In the background, quotes, plans, and logistics were being formulated by Thompson, alongside the College Hill team which consisted of Front of House System Design and System Engineer Johnny Keirle, Senior Systems Engineer/Audio Crew Chief Kevin Bennett, Monitor System Engineer David O’Brien, PA Rigger and Patch Tech Tracey Dorn, and PA Rigger and Patch Tech Brooke Paterson from their home offices. Once restrictions were lifted, they had approximately a month to pull everything together, working closely with the band to select the right equipment to cater for their needs.

College Hill’s inventory has a full complement of products, from the flagship K Series systems, through to smaller coaxial enclosures and, as far as Thompson is concerned, it was a no-brainer to use L-Acoustics for the concert.

Using L-Acoustics Soundvision 3D modelling software, a preliminary design was made to evaluate cabinet counts and configuration options, then refined on-site to a more detailed prediction for inter-box angles, as well as FIR filter and Air Compensation starting points. Using SPL mapping and probes, Keirle was able to predict in advance how the PA would respond in an empty, dry room, as well as where he foresaw any problematic areas caused by different atmospheric conditions during the show. Soundvision allowed him to verify his sub array design visually, again allowing him to see in advance any areas he might want to focus on when approaching alignment and optimisation of the system.

LAcoustics L.A.B. SparkArena 2

The final configuration comprised left / right hangs of eight K1, four K2 and four K1-SB subs. Eight K2 were deployed for side fill, with additional fill from 12 dV-DOSC and six ARCS, while 24 SB28 subs were floor stacked.

“The flown system was configured with a K1-SB extension to increase throw and directivity of low frequency energy in the array,” says Keirle. “The speaker configurations were designed to maximise coverage uniformity both in terms of SPL and tonal balance, as well as frequency distribution and response. The side hangs of eight K2 at 90º (asymmetric) were required to fill just a small section of seating outside the coverage of the main hang.”

The College Hill team followed up their support of L.A.B.’s Auckland show with another sold-out performance in Hamilton, New Zealand a few days later.

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