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Clair Brothers' Power and Prowess in Small Venues

September 22, 2016

The name Clair is historically synonymous with mega tours and once-in-a-lifetime epic events, but many are unfamiliar with the company's ability to bring that level of expertise to smaller-format applications. Clair Brothers recently introduced the kiT Series as their first foray into a self-powered loudspeaker product series. While many early adopters rushed to power loudspeakers with integrated amplifiers, Clair waited until the technology performance was on par with their engineering standards. Their patience has paid off as the new kiTCURVE12+ curved array and 1AM+ stage monitor are making a big impact wherever they go. Now small venues, houses of worship and theaters can all benefit from the experience of Clair engineering and craftsmanship that may have been considered too costly in the past.

One venue taking advantage of Clair's newest product lines is Rick’s Cafe in Starkville, MS - home of Mississippi State University. The venue was opened in 1994 by Rick Welch, an alumni of MSU. Since then Rick’s has been the home of thousands of live performances by an extremely wide variety of artists including Snoop Dogg, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Maroon 5, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, Sister Hazel, and Dierks Bentley just to name a few. Quite often the house system had to be supplemented or completely replaced by rental systems as it didn’t meet the requirements of some production managers.

“The extra cost of renting equipment was significant, and it was hurting my ability to afford artists at specific price points so I decided it was time to upgrade my equipment. I only had one chance to do this and I wanted to do it right," says Welch.

“I compiled a list of companies and started reaching out. My room specs did not make for an easy project: low ceilings, relatively wide room, and only a 24” stage height. I was getting discouraged because proposals were coming in way over budget or some companies would not even call me back. At first I didn't think Clair Brothers was even an option for me, but that all changed from the first phone conversation with the Clair team and throughout the design conversations with Engineer and VP, Josh Sadd."

“Rick’s system is typical of many small to mid-sized venues that often have compounding challenges where limited space and height make speaker location and room coverage difficult. The use of our patented curved array technology and our niche product, the USLP218 (under stage low profile double 18” sub) both worked together to physically fit and achieve audio coverage goals while at the same time opening up the space compared to the old left/right stacks,” adds Josh Sadd.

The solution for low ceiling height and a need for wide coverage came in the form of the new Clair Brothers kiT Series. Three (3) kiTCURVE12+ were flown per side with two (2) kiT12+ as centerfills and two (2) kiT12+ as outfills. The low stage issue was easily solved by installing six USLP218s - a subwoofer specifically and uniquely designed to fit beneath low stages. All was powered by two (2) Clair Brothers/LabGruppen D Series 200:4s amps with Lake Processing. In addition, six (6) Clair Brothers stereo pair WEDGEs were chosen for monitors and a Clair Brothers ML18 paired with one WEDGE was used for drum fill powered by two Clair Brothers/LabGruppen D Series 80:4s with Lake Processing.

Welch concludes, “I wanted a world class system that not only met rider requirements, but exceeded them. Seeing FOH guys smile when they first hear it and feel it and seeing some of them taking pictures with the kiTCURVEs tells me that I definitely made the right decision. Clair Brothers has far exceeded by expectations from the first phone call to service after the sale. I couldn't be happier with my decision."

System Reviews From the Pros:

“Needless to say, I was pretty surprised to see a Clair rig in a club setting and just as expected, the sound and coverage were amazing. This is a game changer for the small venues.”
Brian Crider, FOH David Nail

“I'm always blown away when we play at Rick’s, he has exceeded all of my rider needs in his Clair rig. The tops are robust and deliver a smooth top end that is not common in most club venues. Meanwhile the low end is punchy and clean with a great response all the way down into the subharmonic frequencies. My mixes just sound bigger and I don't have to mix as hard so there is plenty of headroom for me to push it in the big sections of the show. The clarity is unbelievable, I love when I get to mix a Dylan show at Rick’s."
Chris Young, FOH Dylan Scott