LOS ANGELES—To provide legendary Grupera band Los Bukis with an impactful live sound for their 2021 reunion tour, AV integrator Sound Image deployed cutting-edge JBL Professional and Crown audio solutions.
Founded in 1975 by cousins Marco Antonio and Joel Solís, Mexico, Los Bukis are one of the most beloved and successful Latin American bands of the 20th century. With hits like “Tu Cárcel” and “Como Fui A Enamorarme De Ti” among many others, the band combined Mexican Grupera with American pop and new wave to create a highly influential sound still heard in Latin pop today. In August 2021, Los Bukis reunited and embarked on their first tour in over two decades, performing multi-night runs in stadiums across North America for a multi-generational fanbase. Such a high-profile tour required a powerful, reliable and immersive live audio system fitting for stadium-level venues. To meet these needs, Sound Image naturally turned to JBL VTX Series speakers and Crown I-Tech amplifiers.
“The biggest challenge for stadium tours is the scale of the venues and making sure that we can cover every seat,” said Cameron Whaley, Systems Engineer, Sound Image. “Also, Los Bukis’ type of music has a lot of impact in the low-mid region and uses a lot of synths. It's an interesting eighties pop vibe but with a very defined low-end punch, which the JBL VTX speakers are really good at reproducing. We went back and forth with different rig designs, and with our final design, we're not overwhelming people in the front but we’re still getting that impact that we want throughout the stadium.”
The touring sound system features 148 JBL VTX V25-II-CS line array loudspeakers. The V25 features D2 compression drivers that bring massive, distortion-free output with a 30% weight reduction compared to similar speakers. The newly designed, fourth-generation waveguide technology ensures broad coverage that sounds pristine at any distance. Along with these sonic advantages, the V25 also includes a specially designed compression suspension system for easy and safe rigging. These features allowed the Sound Image team to use the V25 as the main PA, hang and delay speakers, greatly streamlining the assembly and programming process. Set to full-range mode, the V25 packs a bass response as low as 40 Hz, which brought a more impactful sound to the hang and delay sections. Whaley noted that the speakers effortlessly translated the low-end punch needed for Los Bukis’ music to every stadium section while also maintaining pristine sonic clarity and definition.
“The V25 is a really good box for this kind of music because of its low range and really good throw characteristics,” added Whaley. “And it's really helpful that the delay speakers are the same box as the mains; we're able to throw that low-end energy up to the very top seats, which we wouldn't normally be able to do with a smaller box. This is my first tour with the V25, and I've been pretty impressed with the compression rigging. It's been going very quickly for us, so I've been happy with the speed and the logistics as well.”
The live system also includes JBL VTX S28 suspendable subwoofers, which pair seamlessly with the V25 for even greater sonic impact and an extended low-frequency coverage. With dual 18-inch 2269H Differential Drive transducers, the S28 packs ample low-end fit for stadium-sized venues into a lightweight and simple design. When singer Marco Antonio Solís requested less bass onstage from the audience speakers, the Sound Image team switched the S28s to cardioid mode for improved rear rejection and vertical pattern control. The result was less low end for the band onstage while the impact for the audience remained intact.
Finally, JBL VTX V20 line array loudspeakers, which sport all of the features from the V25 in a smaller format, complete the rig as fill speakers. For amplification, over 200 Crown I-Tech 12000HD amplifiers with BSS OMNIDRIVE HD processing engines provide unrivaled performance and efficiency needed to power even the biggest touring rigs.
The Los Bukis tour is already one of the biggest tours of 2021 with stops at stadiums in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and more. With generations of fans in attendance at these shows, the JBL VTX speaker system provides the impact and output needed for every audience member to enjoy the show.
“Since this is a historic tour for the band, the audience is really excited about it,” said Whaley. “Since they've been around since the seventies, you get whole families of grandparents and parents and their kids, which is cool to see. I enjoy seeing how excited people are to see the show.”
Photo credit: Alejandro Ornelas
Photo credit: Salvador Cacho