A d&b audiotechnik KSL system made its debut on The Other Stage while Y- and V-Series graced The Acoustic Stage at the most recent edition of the Glastonbury Festival. Skan, which has been providing PA systems for the festival’s second stage since 1989 , supplied the d&b KSL System for headliners that included Tame Impala, Chemical Brothers and Christine and the Queens.
“The stage size and technical demands increase every year, and we have increased the spec and system requirements alongside this growth,” says Skan senior designer Matt Vickers. “We beta-tested the GSL System at Glastonbury in 2017 and that experience has contributed to the stunning results we can get from both GSL and KSL Systems.
“‘Punchy, tight and so clean’ were words thrown around by various incoming engineers, and comments overheard backstage and given to our stage team were that the KSL system was generally considered to be the best sounding — and best behaving — rig across the site over the weekend,” he adds.
Skan specified the KSL system with 20 boxes on each main hang, plus 18 on each side hang, and 20 SL-SUBs arranged vertically (stood on their ends) in a distributed array along the downstage edge. Fills consisted of a single center flown pod of V-Series, and out fills of J12.
“The barrier line of an event of this size is somewhere around 5 meters from the downstage edge, so we can cover this from the flown arrays, and it is far enough away for the perception of the sound to come from the 2.5-meter high stage without the need for infills on the downstage edge,” Vickers continues. “The approximate coverage area we are required to fill is around 120 meters deep, and 120 meters across. It’s fairly flat, with only minor undulations as you go back, and only a slight lean from Stage Left down to Stage Right.
“However, there is always a surprise act — this year, it was Lewis Capaldi – that the audience flocks to, filling a much larger area around the sides and into the far camping area, so the system has to behave itself off-axis and in the very far-field as well, even if that is at the cost of SPL to adhere to licence conditions.”
As with most outdoor shows, Glastonbury has strict noise emission controls in place to ensure that sound doesn’t impact on other stages, the camping areas or on wider residential areas.
“A few years back, I created a NoizCalc file for this site, because the biggest challenge at this site is weather variations and wind,” says Vickers. “The KSL System is remarkably stable, even in the strongest winds and I imagine this has a lot to do with the full range pattern control coming from the arrays. This means that even if the direct sound is blown off course, the indirect sound is so tonally constant and controlled that there is little perceivable difference within the listening area. For the first time, the flags in the audience area were more of an indicator of high wind than the sound swishing around.”
At the Acoustic Stage, Tom De Brabant from De Brabant Sound worked with hire partners Southby Productions to specify and deliver the V-Series solution. “One of the main challenges is the tent – it’s the second biggest tented stage on site and offers many acoustic issues,” says De Brabant. “I worked with Chris Drew from d&b to ensure we minimized negative impacts from the reflective surfaces by implementing a very exact design, utilizing ArrayProcessing, which really helped us.”
De Brabant and his team rigged d&b V-Series each side, with d&b B22 subwoofers on LF duty. Y-Series was used for front fill, all powered by d&b D80 amplifiers and networked via a DS10 audio network bridge.
“This is a large show, with very challenging budget constraints and extremely tight turnaround times on changeovers,” De Brabant continues, “with some of the changeovers being as little as 15 minutes for 40-channel-plus headline acts, such as Keane and Marti Pellow.”