“It was the worst of times, it was the best of times…”
Whilst most sound clashes in modern times don’t end in the destruction of the losing team’s equipment, and especially at somewhere as hopefully peaceful as Glastonbury, occasionally there is smoke and there is fire.
PF Events were overseeing the entire Shangri-La area and within this the “Clash” stage. The systems were, as it a tradition with sound clash events, being run in mono, with a Noise Control rig going up against a Void system. Some heavyweight electricity generation was anticipated to cater for the gruelling pummelling that both the speakers and amps driving them were going to take over the course of the following nights.
And it was the worst of times again…
About that smoke we mentioned at the start…following a generator accident that managed to produce some impressive explosions and “flames coming out of the monitors!”, the Noise Control side of things was down two amps due to a no-show, destined to be running the bass on the system. Given that Void boys weren’t likely to be offering to halve their bass end drive and pass it to the Noise Control crew, no bass meant no battle and no battle meant no clash!
The power issue took out two system controllers, to active subs on DJ monitoring duty and a macbook charger – pretty catastrophic before kick-off!
PF Events were only responsible for the Noise Control side of the system and the rack on the left of this photo was to power that, with the right hand collection handling monitoring duties, as BJ Muller, system tech, was keen to point out:
“The Clash stage was running two independent sound systems, Noise Control Audio (NCA) and Void Acoustics the same sound system manufacturers used at the previous Clash stage at Glastonbury two years ago. The NCA is around 25 years old, whilst the Void is a lot younger! The main rack was supplied by PF [events] and configured using the Noise Control processors, to work with the FFA amplifiers as a complete system.”
With only hours to go until the festival kicked off properly, missing two of the most important amps in the line-up was looking like a disaster, but luckily this is where we stepped in. Richard Fleming (from XTA and MC2 ) was roaming the fields of Worthy farm, with him XTA’s latest product, the MX36 – a console switcher designed primarily for festival use and making its debut at Glasto this year.
Previous soundclash years had been taken care of by Neuron Pro Audio, and Kyle Marriott, manager of Neuron, was this year handling several other audio areas within Shangri-La – including the Rum Shack and the Temple.
Kyle was set to try out a pair of our biggest 120 Amps at the festival, and Richard had them stowed in the van, after dropping the MX36 off at the Glade where it was on duty for the duration. Two amps dead in the water, two MASSIVE amps waiting in the van – and surely this was as good a test of them as you could want! A phone call later and all was set – the Delta 120 and DNA120 (XTA’s version) where patched in and the system fired up, but this time nothing caught fire!
Richard was keen to point out the immense power available from these dual channel amplifiers – the most powerful MC2 have ever produced.
“The 120s are capable of driving the biggest bass systems with ease – up to just under 7kW a channel into 2 Ohms is not to be messed with! That said, they have such amazing fidelity that they needn’t be resigned to just bass duties – they sound phenomenal right across the spectrum – this battle is becoming one-sided!”
Richard left him with the amps, some earplugs and, pushing Paddington into place behind the desk, in case he should shake loose with the LF, said
“With great power comes great responsibility. Please look after these amps. Thank you.”
Let’s pull in BJ again at this point – how did it all go down in the end?
“Those  amps really delivered – they seriously pulled me out of a tight spot and helped get the 25 year old NCA system sounding as good as new! Witnessing a full system meltdown before the stage even opened was really not a good start, but it ended up being a great three days of show. As a bonus to this crazy story, of overcoming unforeseen circumstances on site, and of the generosity of others when the situation looked grim, the old girl delivered with an overall soundclash score for the week of NCA 5 – VOID 3, with help from XTA and MC2 – thanks so much!”