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Author Topic: Showco Prism speakers  (Read 22667 times)

Corey McCleskey

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2006, 10:45:33 pm »

Tom Young wrote on Tue, 11 April 2006 01:04

I think I recall the contents of Prisms discussed fairly authoritativey here on LAB several years ago and to some level of detail. There are several models.

Do I also recall they have a line array version/system, or was that Clair Bros ? (I know they are under same ownerhsip now).




the new I-4 rig is what i think your talking about.

I saw the one they put up for the rolling stones tour this past year (it was painted all gold) and that rig is a monster.

sounds pretty good from the times i've seen it.

i think  it was maybe bette midler's "kiss my brass" tour that i saw it on for the first time and remember being quite impressed with the coverage.


anyways, thats off topic.

back to the prism's
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Corey McCleskey
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2006, 10:53:14 pm »

One of the best festival rigs I EVER heard was at Blockbuster Rockfest, Tejas Motor Speedway, in 1997.

That thing was huge, hands down the biggest PA I have ever seen.  And it sounded like a million bucks, particularly for Collective Soul.  

There's not a thing wrong with Prism, in the big picture. The big picture is "can this system deliver what my audience expects to hear, within budget?".   As others have said, you don't stay in business that long with a proprietary rig that sucks.

Heard some openers that didn't sound so good?

Imagine that.... :-)

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2006, 12:30:49 am »

Andy-

The quick answer is, "possibly."  I didn't have a clear view of the system drive racks....

In another post I said "there are two types of BEs... those that have *music* come out of the PA, and those that have *sound* come out of the PA."  Once a mixerperson is past the stage of using SPL as replacement for sexual satisfaction, the musicality seems to improve.

I think that once a mixerperson figured out the dial-back, acceptance could take over, and the mix building could start.  Oh well.

Tim Mc
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Jon Waller

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2006, 11:51:54 am »


Apparently, Showco didn't stay in business.  My guess is they fell on hard times, possibly because they didn't become a line array house, and were bought by Clair.  It must be more expensive to transport and fly that massive system.

I saw James Taylor at my local 20,000 seat arena about 7 years ago, using the Showco Prism.  Sounded like the hard rock version of James.  Massive low end, but no upper bass or lower midrange intelligibility.  The highs carried the vocals, but much of the instrumentation was not very clear.  The multiple arrivals, spaced out in time, from the multitude of boxes which lose their directivity in the upper bass/lower midrange region cause this effect.  No doubt the vertically aligned boxes have greatly overlapping coverages.  At some seats, with some mixes, it is probably acceptable.  It was, however, an improvement over most earlier (70's era) systems.

A few years later, I saw him again with the Clair Line Array system.  Where I was sitting, directly on axis of the upper part of the side array, it was all 1K to 4K.  Absolutely no bass.  I went around to the center of the upper deck.  Fantastic clarity, in stereo!  Still a little too much upper mids, not enough bass.  The mix position was at the back of the main floor, right in front of a concrete wall!  Apparently, the B.E. didn't realize the wall right behind him would give a 6 dB level increase in the low end at his seat.  It probably sounded just about right to him.  The upper midrange/lower treble prominence in the upper level seats was caused by not enough line curvature for the EQ used.  The mix position was covered by a part of the line with more curvature.

It seems the two technologies err in opposite directions.  Combine this with operators who are not at the top of their game, and unsatisfying sound results.

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Rich Mullen

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2006, 12:49:16 pm »

We had a good acquaintance that worked as a site foreman for Showco. He came through on the NSUCK ....uh, I mean, NSYNC tour in '02 maybe and told us we could come by and hang. WE DID!

Soldier Field in Chicago with 13x10 Prism a side...don't quote me as it's been a few years. HUGE rig nonetheless. This was just after the buyout/merger whatever. We were hanging out watching & learning when the lead system tech came out near us to eyeball the bumpers while flying the rig. We watched as the boxes rolled out one by one clicked into place and away they went. During that time he starting talking about the Show Console and then we got into the rig. He said "well I guess we've been bought out so...' and he went on to tell us ALL about each color in the rig. Drivers, placement, loading, horns, etc.... Very smart, brass tax kinda guy. This discussion went on for quite a while. I remember sitting there mesmerized that we were hearing all that stuff.

IT'S COOL SHIT! I wish I could tell you all that was in them, but I just don't remember. SORRY!

What I can say is I learned as much on that day as I have in any time I can think of. The impression I was left with overall about Showco was that they are problem solvers. I liked learning that stuff most of all.

In response to some of the '20 year old crap' noise, I would just reaffirm what others have said..Showco and the Prism rig has been pleasing the people with the money for years. And I suspect will continue to please many of the same people for years to come. That's all that matters.

It's hard to argue with success!


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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2006, 12:52:35 pm »

Showco was profitable when it was acquired by Clair.  I'm sure it still is.

There were other market forces at work when this happend.  Among other players, PRG was buying every 2nd tier production company (sound, lights, didn't matter) in sight in an attempt to consolidate market share, and create additional profits from administrative economies of scale.  Had PRG bought Showco, Clair would have been faced with a huge competitor that could offer turn-key, in-house sound, lights, and video.

By purchasing Showco, Clair got something like 70% (or more) of the "A" level national tour market and the additional capacity to service that.

And think about this:  if Showco's rigs were flakey, Clair would be retiring them.  I understand the decision to complete development of the Prism II and deploy it, was made in Pennsylvania (but I could be wrong).

I've heard enough bad sounding gigs on Prism, Vertec, and a couple other rigs.... and I've heard enough good sounding gigs on those rigs.  I can't comment about performance unless I'm the system engineer or mixerperson, and that's why I'd love to try a Prism rig... to have direct hands-on experience with it.  Without having that kind of experience, I don't think anyone is qualified to make judgements about a RIG.

I think the real question is, what is the price difference between a Prism rig and an I-4 rig for 15,000 punters in an arena.  "B" level National act.  Hmmm lets get quotes on S-4, too, and maybe Vertec.  We can assume the consoles and toys are constants... I suspect that a Prism rig will be less money than the I-4 Wink  The point is that different products have different prices, and often decisions are made by management that conflict with the desires of employees (like the BE).

The beauty of the Prism rig is the level of controlability you can get within the array.  That makes it suitable in the wrap-around deployment you see used.  A line array is controlled by changing the length of the line, inter-element angles, and trim height.  The coverage is what it is (exceptions exist).  Line arrays are good at what they do, when properly deployed, but they aren't always the right tool for the job.

Have fun!

Tim Mc
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Bonnie Lackey

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2006, 02:23:45 pm »

I would comment on the Showco Prism Speakers as we know them quite well, but ... it will just get me another telephone call so ... but they sounded great then and they sound great now.
Bonnie
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Dave Barnett

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2006, 02:41:37 pm »

I remember seeing an ad in one of the trade publications sometime in the early-mid 1980s with a cutaway photo of the "New Showco Prism" box.  The one I saw looked like a Bose nightmare with speakers pointing every which way.  I kind of think it had to be a joke to throw the competitors off.

Imagine a cube with a pyramid inside.  That would be the folded horn woofer, with a cone at the base of the pyramid pointing toward the rear, deflecting off that and out the front as with any W-horn.  On each of the other faces of the pyramid, there were mid and HF components.  The opening was at the end with the point of the pyramid.  Sort of like one of the Danley systems only turned inside out.

It looked like an atrocity, which is why I find it hard to imagine that they ever did any high-profile shows with such a thing.
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Tom Young

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2006, 03:28:23 pm »

I believe what you saw was one of the products Showco produced during the breif period they got into disco system design (I kid you not).

I still have some of these spec sheets and based on these they (Showco) *were* most definitley members in good standing of the bizarro world of disco system design that permeated that era. They had humongous folded horns (ala Richard Long) and super-tweeter arrays that all defied any logic or common sense. Funny how disco system design paid little attention to MF's and the devices that did them.

Once whomever lead that particular marketing campaign came out of detox they dropped the whole line and refocused their resources back into what they do best: live sound.

The Prism systems designed for and used in live sound bear no resemblance to that disco crap.
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Tom Young
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John Chiara

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2006, 03:55:47 pm »

Doug Fowler wrote on Mon, 10 April 2006 22:53

One of the best festival rigs I EVER heard was at Blockbuster Rockfest, Tejas Motor Speedway, in 1997.

That thing was huge, hands down the biggest PA I have ever seen.  And it sounded like a million bucks, particularly for Collective Soul.  





And it probably literally did cost a million bucks. I've seen a few million dollar systems sound awful... I assume it is pilot error and not the systems doing.

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Re: Showco Prism speakers
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2006, 03:55:47 pm »


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