The current Britney Spears “Circus” tour brings an in-the-round extravaganza to arenas across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, with Montreal-based Solotech providing the tour’s sophisticated multimedia, lighting, and sound, including Meyer Sound line arrays, subwoofers and processing that provide consistent coverage across the arenas.
“Today’s audiences are quite sophisticated, and expect album-quality sound at every show, regardless of the venue’s acoustics or other variables,” observes Front Of House Engineer Blake Suib, whose previous tour credits include Madonna, Prince, Guns and Roses, and Annie Lennox.
“Meyer Sound has really been instrumental in providing the tools to achieve a seamless and cohesive sound to every seat of even the largest arenas.”
The 360-degree system begins with 64 MILO line array loudspeakers in four hangs of 16 cabinets each, along with two arrays of 16 MICA line array loudspeakers each.
Four more hangs of 12 M’elodie line array loudspeakers, along with four MSL-4 loudspeakers, complete the flown system.
A total of 32 Meyer Sound 700-HP subwoofers provide massive low-frequency power, with eight boxes under each end of the stage and a block of four at each of the arena’s four corners.
In addition to the loudspeaker complement, Meyer Sound’s system design, control and monitoring tools ensure system reliability for Suib.
“One of the challenges of mixing in the round is that there’s a large part of the audience hearing a part of the system I’m not,” Suib says. “If something doesn’t sound right on the other side of the stage, I’m not going to hear it at FOH. But using Meyer Sound’s RMS remote monitoring system we can keep an eye on the performance of each component, so if something’s not right we can see it immediately.”
With a different venue nearly every night, Suib also relies on the MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program to configure the system.
“MAPP enables us to come up with an accurate representation of how the system will perform in that space. We use the Galileo loudspeaker management system to configure the system into different zones, each with its own equalization, time alignment, and performance characteristics.
“The SIM 3 (audio analyzer) allows us to measure and tune the entire system. Tuning a system of this size would normally take hours, but with this system, and the help from the Solotech crew, we’re usually up in less than an hour.”
Suib uses multitrack recordings of each night’s show to fine-tune the system. “I’ve never been a big fan of sound checks,” he says. “It’s rare that the band plays with the same intensity as they do in a real show. I run the multitrack of the last show and use the Digidesign console’s Virtual Sound Check to do my final tweaks. I trust the performance of the Meyer Sound system, and the PA sounds great every night.”