Starlite Occident

Marbella’s boutique Starlite Occident 2023 festival marked the first outdoor live show deployment of Holoplot’s X1 Matrix Array, through a collaboration between A/V specialist Ilusovi Servicios and Sound Architecture, Holoplot’s distributor for Spain and Portugal.

The system delivered unprecedented sound control and provided flawless coverage, including targeted audio for a VIP area, which had previously proven difficult to accommodate with a LR system.

Starlite Occident is a three-month-long extravaganza set in a transformed quarry, and hosts a line-up of both English and Spanish artists, which this year included Tom Jones, Pablo López, Iggy Pop, the Black Eyed Peas, Marta Sánchez and Luis Fonsi.

The Holoplot X1 had caught the attention of the festival’s production team, with lead audio engineer Aaron Guerrero being particularly impressed by the system’s ability to deliver precise sound control, both horizontally and vertically.

‘After seeing the system in action at the ISE trade show in January, I immediately called Aaron to explain what I had heard,’ says Ilusovi Servicios owner, Jose Manuel Jimenez. ‘The conversation quickly progressed, and for us it moved on from being more than a simple purchase of a system to a strategic deal and partnership which could create many opportunities for our company in the future. We see X1 as a game-changer in the audio industry, offering exceptional control and coverage. Its versatility makes it a Swiss Army Knife for loudspeakers, catering to a variety of applications and clients.’

Starlite Occident 2023 festivalFor Starlite Occident, the X1 system was strategically deployed to overcome challenges posed by the venue’s unique acoustic environment, which included the quarry walls’ reflective surfaces in the amphitheatre-style arena, steeply raked seating and a VIP area flanking the stage and positioned at 90° to it. Reese Kirsh, Segment Manager for Live Performance collaborated with Ilusovi and Guerrero, providing training and support where necessary to ensure the team were comfortable working with X1.

In preparation for the event, Guerrero also visited a Holoplot demo and training event in London. ‘It helped me to reset my brain, because this is not a line array,’ he recalls. ‘It’s a completely different concept, and I needed to learn what the system can do.’ Additionally, Guerrero wanted to ensure X1 would be able to facilitate a varied line-up of artists from multiple music genres and perform well for everyone.

The final system comprised six X1 MD80-S three-way modules and six X1 MD96 two-way modules in a six (vertical) by two (horizontal) configuration left and right of the stage, complemented by an additional two MD96 as a centre cluster. Additionally, two single MD96 modules were employed as mono front fill to provide coverage for the areas nearest to the stage.

‘Achieving even, optimised coverage in challenging acoustic environments like Starlite’s venue was a top priority,’ explains Kirsh. ‘The stage was quite low, which meant that deploying a traditional PA would have required the hangs to be positioned at an acute angle to ensure the audience at the back of the arena had a similar audio experience to those at the front. Another challenge presented by the venue was the VIP bar and seating area located on stage right of the main arena. The organiser wanted to ensure this area provided a high quality auditory experience, but it had proved difficult as it was positioned between a 45° and 90° angle of the PA hang. We generated a targeted coverage beam from the right array of the main system, covering the VIP area without exciting the massive mountain behind it, ensuring a superior audio experience.’

‘With X1, we’ve addressed everything from the back of the room to the VIP areas, delivering a captivating experience for the audience,’ Guerrero notes. ‘The system’s audio distribution enables us to sustain optimal sound levels without pushing the speakers to their maximum capacity. In fact, during the show, I asked engineers to estimate the SPL they thought they were mixing at, and many of them were surprised to find that the meters were only reading 92dB.’

Yamil Martinez, FOH engineer for Luis Fonsi, also commended on X1’s performance, particularly its high frequencies and absence of resonance: ‘Many PA boxes have resonances in the mid and low frequencies, which can cloud the region, producing a lot of one tone bass, but not with Holoplot,’ he says. ‘The set-up of the show allowed us to bring our own desks, which could then be patched into the overall system. Interestingly, while most loudspeaker companies provide presets, with Holoplot, we had the opportunity to create our own, giving me much more control over how the SPL worked in the space.’

Holoplot’s commitment to customer service was also highlighted during the festival. Guerrero praised the close collaboration he had with the team, citing quick responses to inquiries and a robust support system. ‘We established a close connection with the Holoplot team, and whenever I had a question, I received a response within the hour. It has been a great collaboration,’ he says.

Starlite’s Raúl Rodríguez Sánchez, who has nearly a decade of experience working with the festival, adds, ‘I have collaborated with Aaron several times over the years, so when he approached me and told me about this system that sounded incredible, I had to experience it for myself. I did, and it really sounded amazing. I was also delighted with the feedback from artists, which has been overwhelmingly positive and many of them have been very impressed with the system.’

The successful debut of the Holoplot X1 system at the Starlite Occident festival marks a significant milestone in the evolution of live sound reinforcement and demonstrates how the company’s technology can deliver value to live entertainment applications.

See also: 
Holoplot opens up Iberia market for X1 Matrix Array

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