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U2 360°: Redefining Stadium Sound In The Round On Current Tour

“Part insect, part spacecraft, part cathedral...”

By Greg DeTogne August 4, 2011

"The Claw" is at the heart of the U2 360° tour production, supporting huge line arrays as well as lighting and video. (All photos by Steve Jennings)

Up until this time, U2 had historically relied upon Clair S4 PA to meet the needs of all its outdoor stadium shows.

“But with the goals of the 360° system in mind, the S4 system wouldn’t apply this time around,” O’Herlihy says with a hint of melancholy like that usually reserved for bidding farewell to an old friend.

“In-the-round, the application clearly called for a line source array system. The new Clair i-5 technology ultimately stepped-up as the timely and perfect solution that we needed to accommodate the off-center, 360-degree stadium configuration.” 

The audio design team received their first real chance to test its plan in early 2009 in Toronto.

Setting up the i-5/i-5B-based rig at Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), the system was put through its paces over the course of rigorous testing that verified sonic calculations and phase references, established low-end time alignment, and confirmed strategies developed to maintain full 360-degree coverage, all while covering the audience with a blanket of even, uniform sound and high SPL, as well as the dynamic range and quality the band is known for in large outdoor spaces.

Air & Ground
Today, on this, the seventh leg of the tour in North America, the sound system sprawls out widely across 15 zones, deployed in a combination of different hangs.

Traditional left/right hangs facing the house mix position incorporate 36 i-5 and 36 i-5B boxes per side. Moving around to the opposite side of The Claw, left/right hangs of 24 i-5 and i-5B cabinets apiece are designated as rear arrays.

Another look at “The Claw” – 170 feet tall – supports video, lighting and enough Clair i-5 PA to be heard intelligibly a continent away.(click to enlarge)

Left/right hangs of 16 i-5 and 16 i-5Bs each continue the circle on the east and west poles of The Claw, while the main stage area houses a ring of 24 front fill FF2 enclosures and 24 BT218 subs.

A “B” stage used in the production is essentially a circular ramp that connects to the main stage via moving bridges.

Those holding general admission tickets can be seated either outside the ramp or in between the ramp and the main stage. For this B stage area, 72 S4 subs amend the low-end.

Supplementing the coverage further are four hangs of eight Clair 2-way, iDL delay boxes built expressly for the tour that increase intelligibility in far-flung and nosebleed sections.

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About Greg

Greg DeTogne
Greg DeTogne

Gregory is a writer and editor who has served the pro audio industry for the past 32 years.


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