6 May 2024


by Jason Allen

JBL VTX A Series returns the brand to the big stages and riders

JBL launched their VTX A Series of premium line array loudspeakers at Frankfurt’s PL+S in 2017 with the flagship A12 dual 12” element. In the years following, they’ve released the A8 dual 8” and A6 dual 6” elements, and seven models of complimentary subwoofers. Designed by JBL from the ground up, including the HF transducers, the VTX A Series is a generational change in sound for JBL.

As I’ve written many times about VTX A Series, this is not the JBL of the 90s and 2000s. Tonally, they are on par with any of the big-name rider-friendly line arrays. Their power to weight ratio is exceptional, and everyone who hangs one praises their rigging system.

Here in Australia, MadisonAV took on distribution of JBL’s premium touring products back in 2022. Since then, they’ve been doing an exceptional job of introducing VTX A Series to the market, including to engineers like myself with a long history of disliking the brand, and winning us over. They’re doing such a good job that they won ‘Launch Event of the Year’ at the Harman APAC Tour Summit in Singapore, for their A6 launch event at Sydney’s The Star in 2023.

MadisonAV’s Head of Tour Sound, Peter Kubow, has been taking their extensive demonstration inventory to festival stages around the country and putting them to work. Both a system tech and FoH engineer, Peter has been letting production companies trial A Series on live stages with their reputations on the line, and backs his product 100%. At every demo rollout, Peter and his crew are there to install and tune the system, ensuring the best results.

It’s a strategy that is working. It’s simple, but so few do it – get your product in front of the right people, let them use it in the course of their work, and trust the quality of the product to make its case. It’s seen A Series appear on major events across the country since Peter joined MadisonAV a year ago. We talked to production managers and sound technicians about their experiences with A Series, and the feedback has been excellent.

The International Perspective

Rodney Houston, Director Tour Sound APAC, Harman Professional Solutions

Working out of Singapore and servicing the whole region for JBL’s parent company Harman, Rodney is in a unique position to view the rollout of A Series internationally.

“We’ve had a lot of success with A Series in South Korea over recent years,” he divulges. “Artmix, who are one of, if not the biggest rental company in South Korea and are leaders in KPop production, came on board with A Series at the end of last year. New to JBL, ArtMix bought a massive inventory of A12 and A8 plus subs, enough to do a full in-the-round indoor arena. That’s had a huge impact on the market, both in and out of South Korea, because they tour regularly internationally. They go to Australia, the rest of Southeast Asia, the States, and Europe. They’ve got around 30 engineers, and they run multiple tours at once; it’s a serious enterprise. Because Artmix invested, other rental companies that already had orders in increased them, while others put orders in for the first time. To see a company of that scale jump on A Series really spoke volumes as to the movement we’re seeing in the market right now. South Korea’s also a huge worship market. There is an ever-growing list of A Series installations in South Korean churches. The impact and the halo effect of that is already being felt.”

“There is huge market share for JBL in the Indian tour market and we’re seeing shows and tours come out of India and go around the region, including Australia. On top of success in the major markets, we’ve even got A Series systems into very remote areas in Asia, as far as Mongolia and Cambodia, that are doing tonnes of local festivals and some international shows.”

“In the USA, Clearwing, who operate out of Wisconsin, Arizona, and Colorado, invested in a substantial amount of A Series. One of the bigger festivals they do every year is the SummerFest in Milwaukee, which at one point, according to the Guiness Book of Records, was the world’s largest music festival. It runs for three consecutive weekends with 13 stages, nine of which are JBL A Series. With a big festival like that, so many bands, artists, and front of house engineers experience the product, which really helps drive rider acceptance. For the third year running at Coachella, there has been an VTX A12 system in the Gobi Tent, thanks to Rat Sound who also recently installed a VTX A8 PA in The Roxy Theatre, a famous music venue on the Hollywood strip. In terms of touring, Sound Image, now part of the Clair Global family, have just finished a huge US tour carrying a full VTX A Series system for the The Trilogy Tour, featuring Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, and Pitbull as rotating headliners as well as other tours including Heart which just left on tour this month.”


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