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Sound Stories

Canadian pop megastar Justin Bieber’s ‘Purpose’ world tour made just two stops in the UK during 2017, one of which was a sold-out show at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in June which drew ‘Beliebers’ from throughout the UK and Europe.

London-based Capital Sound Hire were the audio contractors for the event and supplied a bespoke system design using Outline’s flagship GTO family of products designed by Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Perreux, who already had the Cardiff stadium stored in his OpenArray acoustic measurement files. Capital had of course worked frequently at the stadium before with major pop acts including Take That, and a last-minute decision to close the roof did not necessitate major changes to the basic system design.

Case Study: PA for Bieber’s Purpose >

The main and side hangs comprised 15 of the 2×15-inch GTO elements with one GTO-DF downfill at the bottom of each hang, in addition to 12 GTO-SUB flyable subwoofers per side and a further nine DBS 18-2 subs per side. Near-field coverage was handled by LIPF-082 lip-fills, two 3-high ground stacks of Mantas 28 line array elements between the main and side hangs and a further three Mantas 28s on the thrust stage. Three downfield flown delays (in L-C-R configuration) used 15 of the Outline’s compact GTO C-12 elements plus three more Mantas 28s in each hang.

In the midst of a busy summer for Capital and with their extensive inventory heavily committed on other projects, the event was a perfect opportunity to engage the international Outline Network to source various system components.

Capital’s Robin Conway, Head of Development at Capital Sound, was heavily involved in the project and he commented, ‘Justin Bieber regularly tours with well-known 15-inch boxes so we had to establish what was the best fit – and Outline was definitely it. We had to get the right proposition for the American engineers, and we knew that thanks to the Outline Network we could source a GTO system from Poland, supplemented by our control and delays. They didn’t need much persuading: they know and trust Vinnie and were aware of Outline’s growing reputation.’

L to R: Audio System Tech, John Kaylor, Outline’s Fernando Rey Mendez, FOH Engineer Ken ‘Pooch’ Van Druten, Outline representative Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Perreux and Capital Sound Project Manager Robin Conway.

‘In terms of control we have large primary and secondary Dante networks running, onto which we’ve placed all the data including the delay measurements from SMAART,” continued Conway. “It gives us complete control of all the amplifiers including our Outline X8 DSP models – the ones developed with Powersoft – and the ones we sourced from Poland, which are actually Powersoft K10 and K20. I forwarded the IP addresses so they could be preconfigured, and when they turned up I connected the Cat-5 cable and there they were on the network, immediately. Every amplifier channel, the speaker management, the distribution, the power management – it all came together really quickly.’

Conway concludes, ‘Capital Sound wants to provide customers with viable options and to have a wide variety of tools in the toolbox. Outline is by far the best alternative to the main brands you’ll see on the riders and it doesn’t demand the highest of premiums. This is simply because it’s less well known, not for any shortfall in quality. It has high-end processing, and amplification, it’s really well built, it flies beautifully and it delivers one hell of a punch. Gigs like this present no problem. If people are willing to trust us, they’ll find it offers superb value for money.’

Case Study: PA for Bieber’s Purpose >

Justin Bieber’s FOH engineer (known simply as ‘Pooch’) – had not used the GTO rig before but remarked later, ‘I was really glad that Vinnie recommended this box. After using it I’m surprised it’s not in more people’s speaker riders. The frequency response, vertical and horizontal coverage and overall speaker signature is competitive with all the other top line arrays out there.’

‘It reproduced my mix very well – no complaints. I have a lot of dynamics in my mix and it handled that without limitation. There are some other speaker manufacturers that can’t handle the moments when I really step into the PA for impact. They go flat. Outline had plenty of headroom and didn’t fall on its face for the 104dB moments in my programme.’

Although not part of the setup in Cardiff, Outline’s just-launched Newton 16+8 audio system control and networking processor also caught the attention of all the engineers present, including Pooch. ‘I’m really interested in getting my hands on the Newton. I think that it’s a great tool since it’s a box that will handle so many different formats. The fact that I can input and output so many different digital formats makes this a really great proposition. Hopefully I can get a demo of one soon…’

Three downfield flown delays (in L-C-R configuration) used 15 of the Outline’s compact GTO C-12 elements plus three more Mantas 28s in each hang.