The flagship Firenze KH8 touring system from K-array recently covered London's O2 with a core front of house set-up of just nine KH8 panels per-side.
The Firenze system arrived at the O2 as part of a 10 date UK arena tour by street dance troupe Diversity, staged by Production North with Audiotech Services supplying the audio and video rigs.
Stage Miracles local crew member, Joe Hales, says: "It took maybe 10 minutes to get out of the truck and then 10 minutes to fly – it's brilliant!"
The K-array Firenze system was used throughout the tour, taking in arenas including Glasgow's SSE Hydro, Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena, the Manchester Arena and Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena.
"The last time I mixed front of house in the O2, I was running 18 boxes per-side," said Diversity front of house engineer, Christian Lewis. "This arena sized system is occupying less than half of an artic. It sounds as good as any other system I've used. In fact because of the shallow box design the response is instant and there's plenty of top end. It's all there."
For Diversity at the O2, for which the upper balcony of the arena was blocked, the system comprised nine KH8 panels per-side plus side-hangs of two per-side KH7 elements, each containing four 12-inch coaxial drivers with rotating waveguides. On stage, two side-fills were based on portable KR802 systems, while eight hard to spot KH2 panels lined the lip of the stage for front fills. A total of 12 IP65-rated KS8 subs provided low frequency support on the ground. Had the full arena been in use, only a further three KH8 panels per-side would have been required. A DiGiCo SD9 was used for both front of house and monitors.
At front of house during set-up was system tech Sergey Becker. "The nine KH8 panels per side are all progressively down-tilted at 2-degrees, but the angling only provides minimal adjustment – regardless of how the system is deployed, the software will sort out the coverage," he explains. "In terms of the venue's acoustic challenges, the system minimises reflections and gives a lot of direct sound, and that helps a lot. But I think the biggest advantage is the system's physical size and the ease of rigging, which is amazing. It's all pre-cabled and I can actually fly it on my own. It's impressive, the size and the power you get out of it."
"When you hear the Firenze system, you realise its designed, first and foremost, to sound fantastic," adds Sam Nankivell, of UK K-array distributer, 2B Heard. "Taking 20 minutes from unloading the system to flying it provides a real wow factor, but it was conceived to deliver excellent sound reproduction, and that's precisely what it does."