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Gathering of the Vibes Festival Spans Three Generations of Meyer Sound Loudspeakers
In mid-summer of 2010, more than 20,000 fans of jam-band music gathered in Bridgeport, Conn. for the 16th annual Gathering of the Vibes (GOTV), a four-day festival inspired by—and in some cases played by members of—the legendary Grateful Dead. The bands and audiences were a diverse group of young devotees and graying veterans, while the festival's sound system of 138 Meyer Sound loudspeakers comprised products introduced across a span of more than a quarter century.
"Our newer MILO and M'elodie line array loudspeakers provided sound for the vast main stage audience area," observes David Brotman, owner of Coatesville, Pa.-based sound provider DBS Audio Systems, "at the same time we had four UPA loudspeakers in the VIP tent with serial numbers dating back to 1982." According to Brotman, the cabinets were originally made as UPA-1A versions and later were upgraded to UPA-1C loudspeakers.
"We have 15 different loudspeakers in our Meyer Sound inventory," Brotman continues, "and we used them all at GOTV. They all share the same sonic signature, so they all mesh together nicely."
An intermediate generation of Meyer Sound technology was represented by 12 MSL-4 loudspeakers which served as main stage delays and also as the primary systems for the smaller Green Vibes stage. The MSL-4 was the company's first self-powered sound reinforcement system.
The MILO line arrays did most of the heavy lifting for the vast main stage area. "You can put anything through them at any levels, from Pavarotti to Metallica," adds Brotman. "With other rigs, you have to push a lot of energy to get them to sound good, but MILO sounds great from soft to loud—perfect for the dynamics of jam bands."
As for the legacy UPA-1C loudspeakers, Brotman adds, "They are still making money. It's amazing. I don't know how many times over they have paid for themselves."
Heading the DBS Audio Systems crew at GOTV, David Brotman functioned as system engineer and FOH mixer. He was assisted by Mike Shoulson and Barbara Adams on monitors, Elijah Topazio as technician, and Mark Costa as FOH and system engineer at the Green Vibes stage.
Other Meyer Sound products in action at GOTV were CQ-2, UPJ-1P VariO, UPQ-1P, UPA-1P, and MTS-4A loudspeakers; 700-HP, 650-P, 600-HP, and USW-1P subwoofers; and UM-1C, UM-100P, USM-100P, USM-1P, and UM-1P stage monitors.
Held July 29 through August 1 at Bridgeport's Seaside Park, Gathering of the Vibes 2010 featured 25 bands, including three headed by Grateful Dead alumni: Further, Rhythm Devils featuring Keller Williams, and the Donna Jean Godchaux Band.