Music stars, industry VIPs, and 18,000 excited attendees filled the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, for the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony. Highlights of the show included Shakira taking the Video Vanguard Award, Taylor Swift garnering nine wins, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and a surprise appearance by *NSYNC.
Producing a show of this size and complexity is a massive job and the demands on equipment performance equal those on the crew itself. Sound, obviously, is critical for an MTV event and production demands combine with the need to deliver audio performance that is as clean and intelligible as it is powerful. To meet all of the many, varied, and stringent requirements, the show’s longtime audio coordinator, Mark Dittmar, VP of Red Hook, NY-based Firehouse Productions, once again turned to JBL’s VTX Series loudspeakers.
For the September show, Firehouse filled the house using a main system of 108 VTX V25-II-CS three-way loudspeakers. “We love the V25 and think it’s an absolutely amazing box,” Dittmar enthuses. “From the day it came out, it has been a great performer for us. It’s all about power and intelligibility. The power that comes out of the V25 means that we can get intelligibility even when we have difficult circumstances.”
VTX S28 and G28 subwoofers supplied the very low frequencies, and more than 1.5 million watts of Crown IT4X3500 and IT12K amplifier power drove the whole system.
This year, Firehouse moved to some different JBL models for fill loudspeakers. “We switched to the VTX A8 (Dual 8-inch Compact Line Array) for down fill, and the VTX A6 (Sub-compact Dual 6.5-inch Line Array element) for front fill, which made intelligibility extremely strong. I think the A8s are spectacular, although we’re still getting a feel for the right way to use them. We were certainly asking a lot from the A6s for front fill, but they handled it easily.”