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d&b SL-Series arrays deployed by Firehouse Productions in support of the recent U.S. tour by Coldplay. (Photo Credit: Stevie Rae Gibbs)

d&b Supports Firehouse & Wigwam With Coldplay’s Green Initiative On 2022 Tour

Both production houses employing SL-Series loudspeakers selected for their efficiency paired with D80 amplifiers that demand less input power and offer energy-saving features.

Coldplay’s “Music of the Spheres” U.S. tour kicked off in Texas at the Cotton Bowl followed by dates in Houston and Seattle and continued through mid-June with support by Firehouse Productions (Red Hook, NY) deploying a main system utilizing d&b audiotechnik SL-Series loudspeakers driven by D80 power amplifiers.

The tour will pick back up later this year in Europe with production company Wigwam deploying many of the same components. The band has a sustainability initiative for the tour, adapting operations, including set build, freight, power and sound, to minimize CO2 emissions. In addition, the tour will plant one tree for every ticket sold with a portion of the proceeds earmarked for a variety of green initiatives around the world.

Coldplay management required that the sound system be 50 percent more energy efficient than the previous tour in 2016-17. Firehouse Productions, which has supported the band’s tours for six years, deployed d&b GSL and KSL loudspeakers for their efficiency while the D80 amplifiers demand less input power while providing energy-saving features.

“Ninety-nine percent of the venues will be outdoor, as in stadiums with no roofs,” states Tony Smith, head of audio and sound designer for Coldplay. “As the sound limits within and outside the stadiums in Latin and North America are not monitored, use of NoizCalc has not been implemented yet. Once we get into Europe, sound emissions will be an issue and NoizCalc will be a useful tool, but with ArrayProcsessing more so, I can predict what will stay in the stadium and at what level.

“Also, with SL-Series and its full-bandwidth cardioid pattern, the lack of sound from the back of the array will also help for any upstage level monitoring where the sensitive areas usually are.”

Smith adds that ArrayProcessing has become a vital tool “as mentioned for regulating sound emissions, but also sound levels within the stadiums. There are some sites that the loudest area of the audience is monitored for audience protection against hearing damage. With J-Series the local authority was surprised with the uniform sound level across the audience area, and now with SL-Series I am happy to continue this consistency.”

The tour is sending data to the R&D deparment at d&b so they can monitor the power usage. “This is very positive and forward thinking. I had a lot of data from Matthias Christner [head of R&D Acoustics at d&b] leading up to the tour so I could pass on our power needs and details as well as to see what d&b was doing to reduce power consumption, which is up to 50 percent less from our last tour. Production is obviously very happy with our reduced power consumption as well as the improved truck space.”

The first leg of the tour was in Latin America. Due to weight issues and the environmental footprint of shipping tons of sound equipment, Firehouse helped arrange local suppliers and as much local equipment as possible, using predominately J-Series with SL-SUB subwoofers.

“Many venues are already adopting sustainability strategies and artists have an increasingly strong desire to tour in an environmentally friendly way,” states Marc Lopez, vice president of marketing, d&b audiotechnik Americas. “d&b received a Green Guardian Award in recognition of the work being done to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business. We are privileged to aid Coldplay in their sustainability initiative.”

Meanwhile, the system configuration in North America usually employed 16 GSL8 elements per side for main hangs, 16 more GSL8s per side for side hangs, six SL-SUBs flown per side, 18 x KSL8s per side for 270-degree hangs, four delay towers with 16 KSL8s per hang, 18 SL-SUBs on the ground, and six Y7Ps along with 8 Y10Ps for frontfill.

Audio power was supplied by 116 D80 amplifiers — 40 per side of stage, and 9 per delay tower. A Luminex Network backbone supported amplifier control with an Optocore backbone for AES distribution of signal with an analog backup. In addition, d&b M4 stage monitors handled the various acts popping in and out of the tour.

As of press time, Smith sys he received word the tour will be using the new D40 amplifiers on ring delays for Europe show, adding, “We have also added three hangs per side down each side, two at the rear hung off the roof of the venue in Berlin, Paris, and Warsaw. Each hang comprises of 8 V8s, with V12s for the rear pair (provided by Wigwam). It helps in larger venues to get even coverage but also to control the coverage better, reducing sound spill for offsite SPL readings. It definitely gives the audience a better sound experience. I’ll be happy to see how they perform. Plus, less power!”

XSL tops will be used in Europe paired with KSL-SUBs for side fill. “Now we have no sound on stage,” Smith notes. “We felt the need to fill the void a little or at least have that ability to give some clean audio rather than the mush given off other PA systems. Again, the SL-Series, even in the smaller format gives a great punch at half the size and power consumption.”

Since 2013, the company has held an environmental certificate, and d&b states that since 2018 it has committed itself voluntarily to meeting the requirements of effective sustainability by participating in several initiatives promoted by the state, the federal government, and following the international principles of the United Nations. “The declared aim is to integrate these principles firmly within the company in collaboration with its co-workers, in the present and in the future,” concludes d&b CEO Amnon Harman.

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Firehouse Productions

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