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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)

Power for the entire affair pummels yet another record, using the largest number of amplifiers ever assembled by Clair for a tour.

In total, the amp-army waging the campaign under O’Herlihy’s command includes over 180 Lab.gruppen PLM 10000Q and 14000Q models, plus 20000Qs employed to give serious grunt to the low-end.

To accurately calculate the SPL required of the formidable task of bringing sound to audiences routinely numbering 95,000 each night, the resources of Clair’s proprietary AlignArray software were enlisted.

Identical Shows
Having been with the band since its early days, and working within the industry since the early 1970s when he toured with Rory Gallagher, O’Herlihy draws upon tried-and-true technologies he knows that work, as well as the latest the industry has to offer to complete his aural palette.

“I went with DiGiCo on this tour for my console needs,” he says, “based upon the multi-matrix capacities and onboard effects I could keep at hand. Two SD7s run identical shows. Each has three stereo outputs for inside left/right, outside left/right, and the matrix left/right – a combination of the inside and outside left/right for the side hangs. There are two 40-input main stage racks, with one distributing AES to each leg, and a backup system of analog feeds to each amplifier.”

Serving as living testimony that even in this digital age, not all effects need come from the console, O’Herlihy stands by outboard gear including a Manley Vox Box and an Avalon 737. Guitar compression is a task relegated to a DCL-200 compressor/limiter from Summit Audio; all other limiting falls under SD7 protocol.

Richard Rainey (left) and Alistair McMillan both build their stage mixes with DiGiCo SD7s. (click to enlarge)

With the band constantly performing to the audience on all sides, input relies heavily upon wireless elements from Shure for instruments as well as vocals, with a Beta 58 standing-in as per usual in the lead position.

In the backline, drums are captured at kick with a Beta 91/52 combination, SM57s on snare top and bottom, an AKG 451 on hat, Sennheiser 421s on toms, and Audio-Technica AT4050 multi-pattern condensers on overheads.

In The Hive
Monitorworld on the tour occupies a below-grade, subterranean space that could conceivably make a nice home for trolls, voles, or nightcrawlers at each stop if it wasn’t such a hive of activity.

With no direct sight lines to the stage, the crew uses video monitors to perform the visual portion of its work.

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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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