When the Knoxville Urban League needed a corporate event house to support its annual gala this year, they turned to Mike Brown, president of M&M Productions, for a turnkey event. Brown knew he needed a versatile system that would provide clarity and intelligibility for the many spoken presentations during the popular social event – while still being dynamic enough to support the powerhouse band, Tower of Power, for the concert portion of the evening. He turned to FBT for his front-of-house audio rig for the event, and the sound quality, he says, “was smoking.”
“The Urban League’s gala is one of ‘the’ social events of the year in Knoxville,” said Brown. “When you have a production that combines spoken presentations with a concert of this magnitude, it can be tricky. If you don’t use the right equipment and plan it well, the presenters can sound unnatural, over reinforced. We used six FBT Muse 210la’s and three Subline 218s per side for this event – and five 206la Mitus boxes for the center fill. The line arrays made a huge difference because it was an extremely wide room. Instead of using point and shoot boxes, we were able to put the line array in there, giving us smooth coverage and pattern control. The presenters sounded natural no matter where you were in the room, and the band – 14 pieces with a full horn section – had plenty of power behind it. It just sounded incredible.”
By the end of 2016, M&M Productions will have produced just over 500 corporate events all over the U.S., providing sound for such major acts as The Doobie Brothers, Lady Antebellum, Boney James and En Vogue. Based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the company currently has three additional support offices in Tennessee and Minnesota, and plans to open a fourth.
Brown credits his company’s success with outstanding customer service, a knowledgeable staff and few “extras” that separate them from the competition.
“Well, for one thing,” Brown explained, “most installation techs use Ease Plots, but that’s not something most in-house audio visual companies do. We like to use all of the tools available to us, and Ease is one of them. One of many great things about FBT is that, unlike a lot of other brands in the same price point, they provide ease plots for all of their speakers. This makes it easy for us to drop them in, set up based on what our coverage and sound pressure look like in a computer model, and get even, reliable, smooth sound throughout any venue.”
Brown also cites FBT’s overall value, quality and flexibility as reasons he uses the brand for his events, regularly.
“The Mitus product,” said Brown, “is a very small, ultra-light line array box. I can put it up on stands, fly it or stack it on top of subs – and the rigging is fast, easy and durable. The Muse is a bigger box, but it’s also versatile. I can’t put it on tripod stands, but I can ground-stack it on top of subs or fly it, and it’s so simple. You can show anyone how to operate the rigging in about 20 seconds, which just isn’t true of a lot of other products – a lot of which have flimsy rigging. This is a nice part of FBT’s Italian engineering.”
Ultimately, Brown also says that the support users get when they purchase FBT may be the most significant feature of using the brand.
“There are a million speaker manufacturers out there, we all know that,” said Brown. “In the end, though, it all comes down to using a product whose rep is going to back you and support you the way that you support your own customers. John Krupa, who is the president of Italian Speaker Imports, is the sole distributor of FBT here in the states. He and his staff have taken a personal interest in my company’s success with the product from the beginning – including coming out when we first bought the rig to give us onsite training – and that makes all the difference to our business. It’s a great product backed by great people.”