Italian Speaker Imports (I.S.I. / FBT USA)has announced its move to a larger location in Wappingers Falls, New York. John Krupa, President and owner of the company recently purchased the building in response to growing orders, inventory and staff, citing a desire to provide an even stronger customer experience as a driver for the change. I.S.I. is the exclusive distributor of FBT, JTS and Bespeco.
When First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in North Chicago wanted to take their sound system from analog to digital, they had plenty of brands to choose from. After extensive research and guidance from their advisor, Tim Hill, owner of Sound Hill Technologies, they chose FBT.
When First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in North Chicago wanted to take their sound system from analog to digital, they had plenty of brands to choose from. After extensive research and guidance from their advisor, Tim Hill, owner of Sound Hill Technologies, they chose FBT. Derrick Moore, the church’s deacon and drummer, says it all came down to the brand’s ability to provide rich sound that supports the wide variety of speakers and performers that the house of worship features weekly – from passionate speeches of a single pastor to the sounds of a full gospel choir.
Hill, who has been in the business since the 70s, has been on both sides of the microphone, holding both vocal and engineering degrees, and being a minister himself.
“I’ve directed music and productions at my own church,” said Hill. “Houses of worship need great sound for their pastors and full choirs, but there are also children’s choirs and plays and everything in between. I recommended FBT as a brand because they have a high-priced sound at a mid-range price so, dollar-for-dollar, you can’t beat their affordability. They also offer a quality of voicing that’s pretty tough to beat. This all allows me to provide my clients with an exceptional product at a competitive price.”
The church had some challenges that Hill and his team had to contend with, including the fact that the space – located on the second floor of an existing building – had a 30-foot ceiling. There was no way to get a lift up the stairs, so he used scaffolding to install the required electrical support and all of the flyware (custom-made by Hill himself) from the beams.
To maximize sound in the 1,200-seat church, Hill installed 3 powered line arrays, left, center and right side of the pulpit, each consisting of one Muse 118FSA sub and 4 Muse 210LAV cells. He also used 2 Ventis 112As for choir foldback.
At the 49 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this year, an FBT sound system took center stage with Propaganda Group, a New Orleans-based AV company charged with designing and managing the sound at the Kids’ Stage. Chris Scott, the company’s front of house engineer at the event, raved about the rig throughout the seven-day outdoor event – along with the featured performers.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has grown since its humble but significant beginnings in the 70’s. Today, the massive festival draws over 400,000 visitors for a two-week long celebration of music that spans over thirteen main stages and several smaller venues. Music includes every genre, from jazz, blues, Americana, blue grass, Cajun, zydeco, and roots rock, to African and Latin. There’s even a family-friendly “Kids’ Stage” that supports everything from puppet shows and storytellers to full bands and orchestras.
Joe Triola of Metro Joe’s Marketing, who has collaborated with the sound and backline companies that work with the Festival since 1993) was responsible for suggesting FBT at one of the nation’s most iconic annual celebrations. According to Triola, “the Kid’s Stage has grown just as much as the festival and, with such diversity, I knew it would be the best test to hear just how good FBT is. It passed with flying colors!”
“Back in the old days the kid’s stage was just a PA on a stick and the most difficult thing was micing a mime, “ he added, laughing. “This year we used a full FBT line array with over 40 different microphones and wireless. Many groups that started playing there have moved up to the big stages and the sound quality reflects this; it’s grown dramatically.”
When Grace Bible Church in La Vernia Texas planned a complex renovation that took two years to complete, Jack Saenz, Installation Manager of BP Lighting, Sound and Video (BP), was brought in by Rock River Media to design a sound system that would fit within their budget but exceed their expectations. Saenz suggested a rig made up entirely of FBT equipment – and says everyone is thrilled with the results.
The new church layout was beautiful, but not without its challenges. High ceilings were an advantage toward the front of the church, but an area toward the back threatened to cause a great deal of bounce that could disrupt even dispersion, and the ceiling where the main PA needed to be hung lacked structural support.
After reinforcing the ceiling structure, Saenz and his team tackled the sound system. To get even coverage throughout the room, they flew Muse 210A’s (five on each side) and then strategically placed four Subline 218 SA’s, spread out evenly under the stage. For front fills, Saenz used four Ventis 206A’s and, for wing fills and rear delays, they used Ventis 112A’s (one for each side of the church and a stereo pair in the back). Read more →
The Sapphire Club, one of New York City’s premier adult entertainment venues, is known for its high-end atmosphere and upscale amenities. Now, thanks to an FBT system designed by KPODJ, it’s also getting noticed for its superior sound quality. Since Sapphire is a 10,000 square-foot venue that regularly hosts celebrity DJs, that’s big news.
When Tom Capo, manager and co-owner of KPODJ, was initially asked to design a sound system for the club, he knew he needed something to complement its sophisticated atmosphere. FBT was his first choice.
“Sapphire caters to a crowd that has great taste and likes the finer things,” says Capo. “FBT as a brand is just outstanding. While their prior system was loud, with the new FBT system, now it’s powerful – and that’s because, as loud as it can get, it never loses its richness and clarity.”
Despite the main room of the club being one large space, zones were needed so that sound could be adjusted as the flexible seating in the room changes. A low ceiling also had to be considered when configuring the system.
“When someone is on stage, we needed the ability to focus the sound toward the front of the room and keep the back and lounge seating areas a bit quieter,” says Capo. “But when they remove the seating to create their nightclub setting for larger events, we needed to provide them with a way to disperse the sound equally throughout the room.”
Capo met the challenge by installing three powered Muse 210LAs on each side of the stage; two Subline 218sa’s; a single-cabinet, passive Mitus 118S; and eight Ventis 206 speakers to round out the room. To control the zones, a digital matrix mixer was special ordered from Italy – FBT’s DMM8008 – that allows for multiple inputs and outputs, with separate line controls for each of the outputs. Capo was thrilled with the results.
KPODJ, which was established in 2002 as a mobile DJ company, has now grown to include a storefront, warehouse and installation business that covers everything from sound and lighting equipment to trussing and scrims. As top distributors of some product lines, they’re also well-accustomed to dealing with premium items that stand head-and-shoulders above their competition – one of the reasons he says he prefers to deal with Italian Speaker Imports / FBT-USA, the exclusive distributor of FBT.
“My company has worked with lots of brands over the years. There are definitely more expensive speakers out there, but I don’t typically see the value for their price,” Capo adds. “When people are looking for high-end sound, we usually recommend FBT.”
ProShow Sound, LLC uses FBT at Case Western Reserve Fundraiser
Annually, Case Western Reserve Medical School students produce and perform musical spoofs and parodies about their profession in a fundraiser that helps the underserved population of Greater Cleveland to gain access to health services. This year, ProShow Sound and FBT supplied stellar sound to the event.
When Case Western Reserve Medical School approached Keith Steele, President of ProShow Sound, LLC, to supply a sound system for their annual fundraiser, Steele was happy to offer his expertise. The event production veteran with over 30 years of experience chose FBT for the job, and was thrilled with the results.
Doc Opera is an annual fundraiser and variety show that’s written, directed and performed by Case Western’s medical students each year, to raise funds that help the underserved population of the Greater Cleveland area to gain access to quality health services. The performances, which range from skits to musical performances, are all parodies and spoofs on the medical school and community. Because the theater was built in the 1920s and the full orchestra spanned the full length of the proscenium, Steele had a few challenges to consider when designing the system.
“The theater is a really nice space but, because it was built in the early 1900s it was designed to reverberate,” said Steele. “The room had no fly points and, because the ceiling was so high and the orchestra spanned the full length of the proscenium, we decided to put four 210 Muse LAVs on each side of the stage their carts, and aim them just where we needed them so there wouldn’t be a bad seat in the house.”
Minutes before the show, everything changed when ticket sales exceeded expectations. The balcony (initially closed) was suddenly opened for seating, and Steele and his crew handled the change, just in the nick of time.
“There are so many moving parts to our business, so many things that can change at the last minute, that you just have to be prepared to roll with those changes and adjust your plans accordingly,” said Steele. “We’d already set the rig up for optimal coverage to the back row of the lower level. I got on the radio and had two of my techs get up in front of the curtain and drop the back of the top box on the cart 5 degrees. We had to point and shoot at that point, but the sound FBT Muse offers and the ease of rigging makes quick changes really easy to deal with.”
Years of experience also help. Steele and his company have been providing audio/visual services since 1988, and have worked with such notable artists as the Original Wailers, Mickey Hart, Parliament Funkadelic, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley and G.E. Smith, among others. He has also worked with CBSN as live broadcast engineer for the RNC and is the audio provider for Cleveland Pride festival (the second largest in Ohio) which features nationally recognized artists’ performances. But big names aren’t what have earned Steele and his company their outstanding reputation; if you ask him, he’ll say that that came from treating his clients the way they want to, and should be, treated. ProShow has recently become the manufacturer of all IP65 power connections for the FBT Muse line arrays.
Steele explained why he chooses FBT and Italian Speaker Imports, the brand’s sole U.S. distributor.
“John Krupa and his staff at Italian Speaker Imports are really dedicated to their clients, to customer service and everything that goes along with it. As for FBT, when you’re a small or medium-sized company, you have to maximize your return on investment or you’re going to be out of business. Their speakers are in the middle in terms of price range, but offer performance rivaling more expensive boutique brands. Other brands in that range just don’t offer the same high quality sound. The Italians have been making loudspeakers since the advent of radio. You hear that in FBT products, every time you use them.”
Tim Rushlow recently completed a residency at Nashville Palace with audio support from FBT to accommodate his 20-piece big band experience. Despite the challenges presented by the 600-seat space, including hard surfaces and various obstructions, Rushlow’s manager and show co-producer, Clif Doyal, credited FBT as a good complement for the band’s big sound.
“The sound was incredible,” said Doyal. “The clarity, the true voicing, the highs and lows the system captured and the throw and disbursement amazed me – and that’s really unusual for speakers in that price range.”
Tim Rushlow has sold 11 million records, won CMA and ACM awards, has three Grammy nominations and has been on eight world tours, so he’s earned the right to be
discriminating when it comes to the equipment he uses. The former voice and frontman for the well-known country group Little Texas recently came off of an eight-week residency at the Nashville Palace in Nashville, Tennessee.
To support the many sound requirements of his new act, a 20-piece big band experience reminiscent of a Las Vegas Rat Pack concert, he decided to use FBT. Despite the challenges presented by the space, Rushlow’s manager and show co-producer, Clif Doyal, said the brand was just what they needed to complement the big band’s big sound.
When Dave Bartholomew says it’s not his first time at the rodeo, he really means it. In fact, after renting a system to the Isanti County Firefighter’s PRCA Rodeo last year and installing one this year, he’s now become their “go-to guy” for sound engineering. An event that’s attended by over 5,000 people annually, it’s one of the largest annual rodeos in the Midwest. Bartholomew, the Sales Manager and Project Manager of Allied Productions & Sales, says the importance of clear, quality sound is crucial, and that he’s chosen FBT to meet the challenges of this unique venue.
“The three-day rodeo takes place in a large oval-shaped arena, which presents a few challenges,” said Bartholomew. “For one thing when supporting an announcer, intelligibility is the most important factor. Second, there’s a covered ‘preferred seating’ area along one of the longer sides and the rest of the area is wide open with bleacher seats. The speakers needed to be raised high enough above the covered area to reach the rest of the arena to make sure the sound would be evenly dispersed and to not overpower the 70-volt speaker sound system that delivers sound to the attendees under the covering. We had some metal smiths who are associated with the rodeo custom build a system with extended poles and yokes to raise four all-weather FBT Shadow 112CTs – each a 12 inch full-range coax – up above. To be strategic, we also added two Subline 15As to round out the system. FBT was a deliberate part of that strategy, because their boxes are crystal clear when people are speaking, but they’re also very musical, very well tuned. We needed a speaker that would sound equally great when covering both the announcer and the music that’s often played as part of the event.”
“I also have to tell you,” he added, “I think FBT has been making plastic speakers longer than just about anybody else. Usually plastic boxes don’t usually resonate like wood does, they’ll even howl at certain frequency ranges. That’s just not the case with these speakers, though. There’s something about FBT’s internal design. The sound is absolutely incredible. You just have to hear it to believe it.”
The Shadows are also rated for all-weather use, rounding out the 30-year audio veteran’s reasons for choosing the brand.
Allied Productions & Sales was originally one of Bartholomew’s clients before they hired him to spearhead the sales and installation portion of their business 12 years ago. The company has grown since then, adding video and lighting divisions to their already successful audio and production services, and moving to a larger, newer facility in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. They’re now a leading player in both production and installation work in the Twin Cities area. In addition to being responsible for all Microsoft store grand openings in the U.S. and Canada, they’re also responsible for providing audio to the Minnesota State Fair, annually, which is the second largest state fair in the country. Bartholomew has developed expertise with various niche groups including houses of worship and live music venues. He also co-designs installations for military bases around the world, in addition to systems that support live performances for our troops.