The biggest-selling artist in the history of classical music with over 80 million albums sold to date, and one of the very few classical artists to achieve crossover acceptance into the mainstream, Andrea Bocelli is comfortably the most popular classical Italian singer in the world today.
In November 2013 Bocelli performed two sold-out UK shows at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and Glasgow’s SSE Hydro. His long-time FOH engineer is fellow Italian Andrea Taglia, who is a devotee of Outline’s remarkable GTO system and has been using it with Bocelli throughout his 2013 US tour. Both UK shows featured an Outline GTO-based loudspeaker system, specified by Andrea Taglia, facilitated by Britannia Row Productions and with Outline’s UK distributor CUK Audio providing operational support).
45 GTO enclosures were flown as three hangs of 15 each in variants of Taglia’s preferred mono L-C-R configuration, and each hang used four Mantas enclosures as downfills (emphasising the value of flying hardware that is compatible throughout a range of loudspeakers). 24 Outline SubTech subwoofers delivered the low end, while 12 LIPF 082 dedicated compact stage lip-fill enclosures filled in the nearfield and small arrays of Outline Butterfly were deployed as sidefills. The entire system was powered by Outline T-Series amplifiers and controlled by multiple Lake LM-26 units.
“Working with Outline GTO, GTO-DF, GTO-SUB, Mantas, DVS 12 and Lipfill 082 products on the Bocelli US tour has been a great success – it is a light and compact system which is very easy to handle and store on trucks and also speeds up load ins / outs” said Taglia. “From a sound point of view, it is a very linear system. Using FIR filters extensively throughout the processing greatly improves its natural response, which is the best starting point for a classical music concert where we mainly use the best microphones with only hi-pass filters and a little reverb.”
“Venues are always arenas in the US but I am used to preparing an accurate sound design for each using Outline’s ‘Open Array’ software – it is a very quick, reliable and detailed prediction tool, so every sound design is tailored to every venue. I always use mono systems designed around venue geometry so it was a L-C-R / LL / RR system for Glasgow and a L-C-R for Leeds due to the different shapes of the rooms. A mono system built around a ‘star’ concept allows me to align it exactly to the stage centre that I use as zero reference to provide a sound image that keeps the attention over performers on stage and not over the loudspeakers!”
He continues, “PA systems should not be made for a specific music style but to provide the best possible diffusion. A large system such as GTO allows for better low frequency control, a major plus when using a large number of condenser microphones on stage as we do for Bocelli, as well as providing the long throw that in indoor venues allows us to use fewer delays, thus reducing set-up time and providing a much better sound image.”
“I always use a centre subwoofer arc delay as it provides the best match for the centre cluster dispersion. If the venue is wider than 90 degrees I match the horizontal coverage of the arc delay to that of the center cluster by adding two subwoofer cardioid arrays of four subwoofers each under the left and right hangs – they are then aligned to the subwoofer arc delay and effectively widen its horizontal dispersion to cover the entire venue.”
Clearly a man at ease with his system, Andrea Taglia concluded, “A linear system such as GTO with great overall coherence, which provides real low frequency control and delivers very even coverage over distance really helps the mixing engineer concentrate on the mix itself, rather than the technology – and that’s what the people come to hear!”