Galaxy Sound & Communications Embraces the Future of Pristine Audio
Galaxy Sound & Communications, which has been delivering state of the art sound, lighting and video solutions since 1977, is a major A/V provider to outdoor fairs, festivals and events serving states across the mid-Atlantic. Since its founding, the company has grown from a small rental and repair facilitator to a multi-faceted A/V outfit capable of providing turnkey solutions for touring bands and venues up to 30,000 seats. While the company's clients are typically events and venues, Galaxy has indirectly provided audio solutions for major touring acts such as Maroon 5, Garth Brooks and Miranda Lambert.
Early this year, Mike Riling, President of Galaxy Sound, replaced virtually every amplifier in the company's arsenal: "The close partnership between EAW and Powersoft that forms the core of the EAW RED Certification Program made the K10 amplifier purchase the logical move for us.”
Galaxy had recently upgraded their EAW inventory to include (36) KF 740 line array modules, (20) SB 2001 subwoofers and an assortment of MicroWedge stage monitors. “The best path to optimizing these systems leads to Powersoft. We purchased (10) of the EAW Powercube amplifier racks and loaded them with Powersoft K10 DSP amplifiers. Now our entire system is EAW RED Certification compliant. When a touring production requests a RED Certified system, we can provide the factory optimized solution that perfectly matches the inventory of other RED Certified partners.”
Disruptive Amplification Technology
Riling says that much has changed in the market — particularly as relates to power amplifiers — in the last couple of years: "In the past, power amplifiers would typically weigh 50 or 60 pounds, and produce 150 watts per channel," he recalls. "Now, through innovations and amplification technology from Powersoft, amplifiers can weigh under 30 pounds and deliver 10,000 to 15,000 watts of power." By purchasing (40) K10s DSPs, Galaxy was able to dramatically increase its amplification output, while reducing its power draw. "We went from using amplifiers that required tons of power to using these Powersoft amplifiers, which are so efficient that we can run them anywhere in the world on minimal current," he states.
"We've dramatically reduced the packaging size of the amplifiers," Riling continues. "We are now typically occupying just four rack space units while producing massive amounts of power, compared to using up to 16 rack spaces in the past. Also, the operating range for the output of the amplifier allows us to utilize more speakers per channel than we've ever been able to do in the past — in fact, the K10s have such massive amounts of power that we can put four or five drivers on one channel if we ever have to do that."
Aside from innovations in power and efficiency, Galaxy has also been able to take advantage of the K10s DSP functionality, making it effortless to make changes to routing configurations or to integrate DSP presets into an existing system design. "Now, most production managers and FOH engineers carry presets for the consoles, and increasingly, amplifiers. This allows them to plug right into the network and check operational levels of the amplifiers so they are matched to the speaker system," Riling observes. "Now, thanks to DSP and Powersoft's Armonia software, an engineer can walk around and make adjustments on the fly with an iPad rather than sending a technician up to the amp racks to adjust everything."
"The Armonia software is just phenomenal," says Riling. "Through DSP, you can tell that rack, 'Here's what you're doing, and exactly what speakers you are going to run.' 99 percent of the time, this is all pre-programmed before you even arrive at the venue."
Pre-Sales Support and Testing
Before replacing his entire amplifier line, Galaxy Audio put the Powersoft K series through a rigorous testing phase. "We requested demo units from Powersoft, and once we got them in, they immediately went out on the circuit to fairs and festivals," Riling recalls. "They were used in extreme environments with dust and 90 degree weather, to indoor air-conditioned environments. In all instances, they performed flawlessly." He also notes that initial feedback among clientele was favorable: "The first thing people notice is how neat they look in the rack, but when they hear it it is amazing," he says.
According to Riling, Powersoft was able to deliver outstanding support from the very beginning. "Kurt Metzler of Powersoft really went to bat for us, discussing, testing and helping us evaluate the units before we made a commitment to buy. Since then, we have been very pleased. Overall, it is pretty clear that Powersoft has a strong engineering grasp and also a strong vision for the future. That's why we are now testing the X4 units in house right now."