Copperhead Sound Upgrades With Sound Physics Labs

Apr 5, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Decatur, Ill.-based regional sound company Copperhead Sound recently upgraded its primary reinforcement system with eight Sound Physics Labs SPL-td1 full-range enclosures. The fully configurable two- or three-way active or passive cabinets are complemented by eight existing ServoDrive BassTech 7 sub enclosures.

Operating in Illinois and adjoining states, Copperhead Sound is essentially a one-man operation started five years ago by self-described chief-cook-and-bottle-washer John DeAngelis. Currently a licensed union electrician in Illinois, DeAngelis spent more than a decade working both large and small shows throughout the Midwest as a member of IATSE. He said it was his amazement at some of the quality issues with sound providers that made him look at starting his own company. "This is a service industry and I've always held the view that if I'm doing my job well, no one really knows I'm there, and that goes for the equipment.”

Four years ago, DeAngelis replaced his massive manifold-type bass bins with eight ServoDrive BassTech 7s (the servomotor driven subwoofers designed by Tom Danley). They, in turn, led him to purchase the Sound Physics Labs SPL-td1s (from the same manufacturer) when the money became available for further upgrades.

With the knowledge of rival boxes, his experience with the BassTech 7 and recommendations and listening tests with peers, DeAngelis contacted Sound Physics Labs directly. He opted for the custom ATM flyware option provided by Sound Physics Labs to expand his setup options. With the majority of work being small fairs and medium clubs, DeAnglis wanted something he could fly himself from a genie lift or venue fly points.

Front of house and monitors are covered by two Allen and Heath GL4000. Stacks are eight Servo Drive BassTech 7 subs, now complemented by eight SPL-td1s. Processing includes gear from Drawmer, dbx, Eventide Lexicon and BSS Omnidrive, which was used primarily for crossover. "I've worked with them in active crossover mode, but I've chosen to use them in the passive mode because they're just that good," he said.

The first real-world test of the system was a unique event for which Copperhead has provided support for several years known as The Turkey Jam. Held in a former refrigeration plant-turned-club named The Icehouse in mid-Illinois, the event brings together a number of local and regional bands for a day-long musical event for 600 fans. Having worked the event for several of its 12 years, DeAngelis’ original system was two BassTech 7s and two manifold cabinets per side. This made for a visually impressive but physically heavy setup. This year, he brought in all eight td1s but needed only two per side for the same coverage. Room design prohibited lifts, so the system was ground-stacked. DeAngelis used two Crown Macro-Tech 5000VZ amps to power the td1s in a passive mode and a BassTech 7 per channel of a Macro-Tech 2400. "I was astounded with the efficiency and the clarity of the boxes compared to what I'd had before," explained DeAngelis.

As DeAngelis looks forward to an election year primary season that brings 70 percent of the workload, he's confident in the system to handle all situations. "I know that while you can't please everyone, we're well on our way to pleasing most of them.”

For more information, visit SPL at

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