13 Jan 2022

A Man, A Van, And A Cover Band

by Jason Allen

Peak Portable Point Source Power

Perth-based musician and sound tech Trevor Jalla has had an impressive 20-year career as a soulful and funky guitarist and vocalist, drawing praise from blues purists and rock critics alike. As well as slinging his axe and singing the blues, he’s also always done his own sound, and extended into providing sound services for other bands five years ago.

Trevor has concentrated on a niche in the small to mid-sized production space, sticking strictly to the ‘man with a van’ size of operation. “My mantra for the business is ‘more than what a band would bring, but less than a production company’,” he explains. “For my front of house PA system, I want to take the concept of point source as far as it can go while still staying one man, one van. I mainly cover bands and corporate up to around 300 pax indoors, but I wanted something that could go a bit bigger than that”


With a competent but aging PA of two powered tops and subs from two different brands, Trevor was looking to upgrade. Happily, an old acquaintance blew back into town with some advice. “My old friend Christian Peterson was overseas working for Cirque Du Soleil, who shut down due to the pandemic,” relates Trevor. “He took a job working for CMI Music & Audio, who distribute Adamson loudspeakers. Christian had been recommending Adamson to me for ages, but now he had the ability to get some examples in front of me.”

Christian wheeled in some models from Adamson’s new powered CS Series, including the dual 7” CS7p, dual 10” CS10p, and single 19” CS119 subwoofers. “The first thing that hit me was the unbelievable amount of output,” reports Trevor. “Through both the demo and shootout, even the CS7ps were amazing. However, the CS10ps had a low-mid forwardness I really liked. When we listened to nice fat snares with presence at 100Hz, you could really feel it. I tend to stick by the motto ‘Buy once, cry once’, so I couldn’t buy the CS7ps knowing I really preferred the CS10ps. Having compared the Adamsons with other products, I think the CS Series represents the limit of how far you can go with point source.”

Trevor is now the proud owner of a pair of CS10ps augmented by a pair of CS119s. Staying true to his mantra, the whole rig gets in and out of the van comfortably. “I have the CS10ps clamshelled in a custom roadcase,” outlines Trevor. “It’s all very manageable. The van is low enough that I can roll all the cases off the lip, including the subs on dollies.”

One of the first tests of the new PA was with a Sting and The Police tribute act. “It’s an act I mix regularly,” continues Trevor. “The room capacity was 400, with around 250 there. They’re a four piece band, and it was not an acoustically great room. The Adamson rig is so powerful, it was overkill for the room! I describe its performance as punchy and fast. Transients are clear. In some systems, you feel there are phase and delay problems with transients across the frequency range, but not with this system; it’s the same from top to bottom. It’s very responsive; EQ changes make a difference. It’s easy to make vocals stand clear of the mix, and I never struggled with or massaged the vocal EQ.”

Next up for the new system, Trevor took to his natural habitat, the stage, while a colleague handled the mix. “This was two private shows with my band doing Grunge covers, with me as front man on vocals and guitar,” recounts Trevor. “I did the set-up and system tune and handed over. From the stage, I could feel my vocal in the room, way more so than on other systems. It gave me the same feeling as playing a big stage with a line array. It makes it easier to sing. You feel like the sound is emanating from the room, not the speakers. You can feel the speed and reaction of the PA to the vocal. The tech mixing the gig told me that the system felt big and clear, faithfully translating music they were very familiar with from the records.”

Trevor’s stated aim of gearing up to handle bigger rooms has been more than achieved. “Honestly, I feel the rig has been total overkill for all of the 300 pax rooms it’s covered so far,” he states. “It’s almost been like a soft launch. I still haven’t pushed the system to the levels I demoed it, and I think I have at least half of the power left to go!”

Trevor feels his new PA is “orders of magnitude better than my old rig. I’m glad I’ve invested in something that really has taken my concept as far as I think it can go. But now I’ve upgraded the quality of my FOH, I need to upgrade everything else to match it! Just got to get a few more gigs under my belt to afford it.”  


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