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When Your Client Likes it Loud, Use FBT

Celebrations in the Indian community are serious business. Festivals are typically an unrestrained blend of color, flavor and sound, and weddings, according to George Fontes, Managing Director of Fontes Pro Sound & Light, are nothing short of high-decibel exhilaration. So, when Mirage, an Indian wedding and banquet hall in Sacramento, California, contacted him to install a new sound system last month, Fontes turned to FBT. He knew anything he installed would be pushed to concert-level limits and he wanted to ensure crisp, clean sound at every event ­– wherever guests were standing in 22,000 square feet of space.

Fontes Pro Sound & Light was established 18 years ago, a business that grew from Fontes’ work on concerts and festivals. Today, they cover large-scale events like the University of California’s annual Cowchella and Treats and Beats Festival, and the Sierra Music Festival, which supports such powerhouse acts as Craig Morgan, Frankie Ballard, Ben Harper, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and the Black Crowes. The company is primarily known for live sound and event production – from staging to lights, sound and CO2 effects – but high-end installations are definitely part of their repertoire.

“About 12 years ago, I started working with artists from India who’d come overseas to produce concerts,” said Fontes. “I got to know the community well and, when it comes to music, they really like it loud. The Mirage had a sound system that wasn’t really designed correctly for the building; they were getting a lot of complaints about a lack of consistency and coverage. There were also some blown drivers, so it was time to let it go and install something new.”

Fontes turned to FBT’s Muse 210 line array system, installing six boxes on each side of the massive hall. To accommodate spaces that were directly off to the side of the speaker hang, he also installed two FBT Archon 110 boxes on each side for complete sound coverage and consistency. For the low end, four FBT Subline 218sa subwoofers were installed under the stage.

“There are several reasons I chose FBT for this job,” said Fontes. “One thing I love about the brand is that they don’t outsource; everything down to their amp modules is done in house. You just don’t find that anymore. All of that quality control proves that they really care about their products, and you not only see it –  you hear it. We’ve literally taken FBT products within their respective price categories, and compared them to all the other major manufacturers that everyone knows and loves. FBT has always come out on top in build and sound quality. In some cases, I’d even say they’re underpriced, because performance-wise, they compare to products that cost twice as much.” 

As for sound quality, Fontes describes the FBT Muse system as “deceivingly loud, meaning that your volume and SP level is there, but it’s so well balanced out of the box, so even sounding, that you don’t have to do a whole lot of EQ on them.” While volume can be pushed to the limit, something that’s ideal for a community of people who bring celebrations to a whole new level, the quality of that sound never suffers.

“We use FBT for everything,” Fontes continued, “from EDM and rock concerts to wedding halls. The music sounds rich and full, but when someone is talking between songs or, like in the case of the Mirage, making a speech or announcement, you still get this amazing clarity and intelligibility. We get the high output levels our clients are looking for, and FBT delivers that without distorting or feeling like you’re overdriving the system and hitting its limits ­– that’s what’s great about any FBT system.” 

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