FarberMINOT, North Dakota — Great. Big. Fun. That’s how the North Dakota State Fair bills itself, and this July it lived up to its name with rides, rodeos and concerts by Tim McGraw, Journey, Scotty McCreery, Toby Keith, Brantley Gilbert and other acts. Featuring a grandstand that holds up to 16,000 people, Minneapolis, Minnesota audio production company Farber Sound has handled sound reinforcement at the North Dakota State Fair for the past five years, and this year decided to step up their game with a system based around HARMAN’s Crown VRACK amplifier systems.

VRACK is a complete, transportable amplifier management solution that includes Crown I-Tech HD Series amplifiers, analog and digital connections and a globally universal power distribution system, all housed in a wheeled rack with a captive suspension system that enables VRACK to be flown in the same manner as a line array loudspeaker system.

“From being a VERTEC® house for the last nine years the move to Crown VRACKs was a smooth transition,” said Farber Sound owner Dave Farber. “We wanted to upgrade to the V5 presets for the VERTEC loudspeakers that are available for the I-Tech HD Series amps used in VRACK. Although the decision to make the investment wasn’t easy, the V5 capability and the other advantages we get from VRACK made it a logical move for a tour sound company like us.”

The system Farber Sound brought to the North Dakota State Fair included four VRACK 4x3500HD racks, each including three I-Tech 4x3500HD 4-channel amplifiers, and three VRACKs with three I-Tech 12000HDs in each. The VRACKs powered two main left and right hangs of 16 JBL VERTEC VT4888 midsize line array elements each, along with 32 JBL SRX728S subwoofers arranged in eight groups of four and eight VERTEC VT4886 subcompact line array elements used for front fill. The team used JBL HiQnet Performance Manager™ software, along with JBL’s Line Array Calculator speaker modeling application, to configure and control the system from front of house.

“Things went as smoothly as can be using VRACK,” said Farber. “Everyone was very happy with the rig.” Farber also likes VRACK’s ability to operate on different voltage levels at the flip of switch and notes that its AES/EBU connections along with VDrive make it a very flexible package. “I have consistency in my inventory and can simply buy more VRACKs when we are ready to expand.”

“The wow factor of Crown VRACK and Performance Manager is impressive. It’s amazing how much you can do with a simple click,” Farber stated. “The capacity this offers for what we might be able to do going forward is very exciting.”