Whilst not perhaps immediately familiar to Western audiences, the name AR Rahman could hardly be better known in his native India. In fact, with total sales in excess of 300 million units, the Indian composer, singer-songwriter, record producer, musician, multi-instrumentalist and philanthropist is one of the world’s best selling artists. A prolific writer of film scores (including ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘127 Hours’), he is noted for his integration of eastern classical music with electronic music sounds, world music genres and traditional orchestral arrangements. The two-time Academy Award winner is also a member of Mick Jagger’s new band ‘Superheavy’.
In early December 2011 the great man and his troupe performed at the Dubai Cricket Stadium for a capacity crowd. Production was provided by the Muscat-based Talentz Centre LLC, the largest production operation in Oman and whose expertise in large-scale events takes them all over the region, including the UAE. The company has invested significantly in Outline Butterfly systems with the MD, Baltazar Fernandez, quoting the products’ consistency, quality and flexibility as key factors in his company’s ability to handle visiting international acts.
The company deployed their compact Outline Butterfly system comprising a sixteen per-side flown main L&R system with eight further enclosures per side as ‘wraps’. Twenty Outline Subtech 218 subwoofers provided low frequency reinforcement, and the whole system was powered by Outline T-Series amplifiers. Despite the size of the venue and crowd, only one mono delay tower comprising eight Butterfly high packs and four Subtech subwoofers was required.
The Dubai Cricket Ground poses particular challenges for visiting production companies, being well known for its ‘slapback’ echo generated by a combination of the roof covering the seated area, the huge video screens and the plastic material used to protect the playing surface during events. Outline’s senior technician Francesco Ferretti was on hand to assist with tuning the system using the company’s own ‘Open Array’ 3D prediction software. The accuracy of this system plus the extremely tight dispersion characteristics of Butterfly meant that the unwanted reflections were kept to a minimum resulting in exemplary coverage and intelligibility throughout the audience area.
FOH engineer KJ Singh said, "Despite its small footprint, I was very impressed by the clarity and power handling of the Outline Butterfly system we used for the AR Rahman concert in Dubai. Mr. Francesco from Outline did a fantastic job of tuning and aligning the system very quickly and it was amazing to hear its wide, even dispersion, especially considering the difficult acoustic environment that we were in. I am a convert!"