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Mackie's SR1530 Loudspeakers Provide 'Big Wood' Sound for the Cleveland Pops Orchestra

  Mackie SR32.4 hard at work in Hudson, Ohio

Long Before he was the Marketing/Training Manager at Audio Technica USA, Steve Savanyu sharpened his skills as a live sound engineer in almost every musical genre there is. From big band to big hair, Steve has probably mic''d it, EQ''d it and generally made it sound good for listeners from all over the United States.

"I started doing live sound in the mid 1970s, or what I like to call the era of ''big wood''," said Steve. "By ''big wood'' I mean the best sound reinforcement technology of the day had not yet evolved beyond 500-pound sub-bass boxes and 200-pound mid cabinets cobbled together with Hubble twist-lock connectors and 500-pound amp racks. This was reality then, but is certainly not reality today."

Steve had the opportunity earlier this summer to engineer sound for the Cleveland Pops Orchestra at the Hudson Summer Music Festival in Hudson, Ohio. This time, Steve left the 500-pound amp racks at home and brought along a complete Mackie Active loudspeaker system.

"We had about 5,500 people on the green in Hudson that day," explained Steve. "We flew four Mackie SR1530s from scaffolding for front of house (FOH) and two sets of delay clusters that consisted of four Mackie SRM450s each. The 1530s sounded awesome. They performed even better than I had expected. Once we got them up in the air and coupled properly, we discovered that we probably could have done it with just the 1530s and one set of delays. The Mackie speakers had plenty of power and just sounded fantastic."


Mackie made another appearance as the FOH mixer for this event in the form of a SR32.4. "I really fell in love with this board," commented Steve. "I''ve used a Mackie 1604 compact mixer many times over the years, but the 32.4 gave me tremendous flexibility for this type of application. You can really tell that a lot of thought went into making this board easy to use. Everything was so straightforward. I particularly like the EQ, monitoring and soloing functions. Best of all, the board just sounded great!"

Of course, a large number of Audio Technica microphones were on hand in Hudson that day as well. "We maxed-out the mic inputs on the board," explained Steve. "We had 28 mics plus two wireless systems. The wireless systems were brought into the line-level channels and two direct boxes were used for keyboard and electric bass. We used some of the new Artist Elite AE3300''s for brass and the AT3035''s on percussion. In addition, AT4041s really brought out the strings and woodwinds while the AT4050/CM5 side address condenser was exceptional on drum overheads. Compared to what I have used in the past, this combination of mics and board made mixing the project a breeze."

So how did Savanyu, a live sound veteran who earned his stripes lugging pachyderm-sized amp racks and speaker cabinets respond when asked to sum up his experience with the Mackie Active loudspeakers? "This is my first large event using active speakers, and I have to say that I hope to never go back to amp racks again. And, my back is very grateful."

"Big Wood" Sound courtesy of SR1530 and SRM450s    

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