Front-Of-House Engineer Will Madera selects JBL Professional VTX line array loudspeakers and subwoofers for their iconic sound quality and streamlined rigging
North America—Thunder Audio recently powered Pitbull’s “Can’t Stop Us Now” tour with JBL Professional VTX line array systems and Crown amplifiers in stadiums and amphitheaters across North America.
Following the success of his I Feel Good Tour in 2021, Pitbull’s Can’t Stop Us Now 2022 Tour is presented by Live Nation and features performances by Iggy Azalea and Sirius XM’s Globalization DJs in addition to the Cuban-American superstar himself. The 50+ date North American tour began in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 28 and will conclude in Hollywood, Florida on October 19.
Based on their trust in JBL Professional’s legendary sound quality, Pitbull’s veteran front-of-house engineer Will Madera and production manager Victor Martinez hired Thunder Audio to supply a complete stadium-ready JBL VTX system for the three-month tour. With the help of system engineer Nick Turner, the audio team selected and designed a state-of-the-art JBL touring sound solution consisting of VTX line array speakers and subwoofers, powered by Crown amplifiers.
“I wanted the unique sound that the JBL VTX Series provides,” said Will Madera, Front-Of-House Engineer with Pitbull. “We needed a system that could simultaneously deliver an urban sound and a pop sound. The VTX system checks all the boxes we were looking for on this tour, which requires me to mix a live band with an urban pop sound. The system response is balanced with plenty of lows, and translates my mix very clearly. I definitely look forward to carrying JBL VTX line arrays on future tours.”
The tour’s dynamic sound system features numerous speaker models from the VTX family of pro sound solutions. The main left-right hang consisted of 36 JBL VTX V25 speakers (18 boxes per side). With Differential Drive transducers, a patented Radiation Boundary Integrator and revolutionary D2 compression drivers, the JBL VTX V25 delivered Madera’s expertly crafted mixes with precision, clarity and high impact.
To ensure total coverage in the venues, Turner’s system design also included 24 VTX A12 speakers as suspended out fills (12 boxes per side), 16 VTX A8 as 270-degree wrap around speakers (eight per side), and eight VTX A8 as front fills. The award-winning VTX A Series helped Madera and the Thunder Audio team—Alex Martinez, James Romeo and Jamichael Partridge—deliver powerful and balanced sound quality in every seat of every stadium and amphitheater on the tour.
“The V25 speakers are nice as mains because of how much horsepower they provide,” said Nick Turner, System Engineer with Pitbull and Audio Crew Chief with Thunder Audio. “The A8 sounds absolutely stunning. I’m a big fan of the A8 because we can use it as front fills and wraparounds and it blends very well with the mains. The A12s sound great when paired with the B28 subs, which are pretty amazing. Will Madera absolutely loves the system and tells me how great it sounds every night. The great thing about the VTX Series speakers is that I don’t really have to do too much system tuning to make Will happy with the way his mixes are translating, because these speakers sound great right out of the gate. “
To supplement the extreme lows, 16 VTX S28 dual 18-inch arrayable subwoofers (eight subs per side) were flown behind or beside the V25 boxes, depending on the venue’s rigging capabilities. Additionally, the Thunder Audio team deployed 24 VTX B28 subwoofers on the floor in front of the stage, arranged in eight cardioid arrays of three boxes each. Turner and his team powered the entire system with a total of 92 Crown I-Tech 12000HD amplifiers, which provided more than enough headroom to deliver an impactful live sound experience in any venue.
“With sold-out shows, coverage is key,” said Turner. “There are many packed houses on this tour, and the staff is always asking if we can open additional seating. It feels great knowing that with the VTX system, we can say yes to covering any seat in the house and make it happen for them. The system has way more headroom than I’ve ever experienced in other systems.”
The streamlined best-in-class rigging technology and unmatched sound quality of VTX Series speakers allowed Turner and his team to design a modular PA that could be deployed in various configurations depending on the unique challenges presented by setting up shop in a different venue every night.
“The VTX system’s adaptability has been great, which helps us deploy different configurations when the venue has rigging restrictions,” said Turner. “The suspension system with the compression rigging makes it easy to fly these boxes, and the updates they’ve done with the A12 rigging is really nice as well. You pin your angles before you even fly it, and once you suspend it, everything pretty much just locks into place. Makes it really easy to get in and out of the venue each day.
Finally, Turner utilized JBL Array Link—a mobile companion app that works in conjunction with JBL’s latest LAC-III software—to quickly and reliably disseminate all the technical details needed for his team to deploy the JBL VTX line array speakers each day.
“I want to mention how great it is to have QR codes from the Line Array Calculator software,” said Turner. “It saves a tremendous amount of time each day by delivering information to my team precisely using the Array Link app on the phones. The Array Link app provides each fly guy all the details they need to deploy the hangs consistently and efficiently, from point weights, angles, fly bar positions, trim heights and more. I wish other manufacturers had this feature as it makes my job easy every morning and affords me a few minutes of spare time while onsite during the mornings.”
Greg Snyder, VP of Sales at Thunder Audio, spoke to the crucial role that JBL VTX solutions have played in the success of Thunder Audio’s endeavors, including Pitbull’s “Can’t Stop Us Now” Tour.
“Our experience with JBL VTX over the last ten years has proven to be extremely successful,” said Snyder. “The VTX system performs beyond all expectations in every situation we have ever used it in. Thanks to our relationship with HARMAN and the Pitbull team, this tour is a win for Thunder Audio and everyone who has enjoyed the shows. Our touring staff and the artist engineers are the best in the industry.”
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