International EDM festival Decibel Open Air took place this year, again at Visarno Arena in Florence’s Parco dell Cascine with over 30 performers taking to the two stages. The headliner for the event was none other than Holland’s Armin Van Buuren.
In terms of sound, Tuscan rental company Emporio On Stage from Scandicci equipped the two large stages with Outline GTO sound systems.
The hurdles to overcome in order to achieve the desired results included ensuring the highest possible sound pressure in the chosen area while reducing sound spill outside that zone.
Giancarlo Paladini (the PA and system engineer responsible for the rigs) explained: “This is done by correct positioning and aiming of the enclosures. This sometimes jeopardises perfect even coverage of the zone in question, but not in this case, thanks to the precise directivity control of the Outline systems installed.
“As far as headroom was concerned, the sound pressure reproduced by both rigs was more than sufficient. At previous editions of this festival, a larger number of enclosures were deployed. In spite of that, this year, although working at really high pressure, the sound was ”soft” and without the slightest trace of distortion.”
Armin Van Buuren had two personal technicians, who arrived the day before his show to check out the equipment and cables and exchange information with the team on site.
Paladini continued: “The only very small changes his sound engineer (a real pro) asked me for was a pair of EQ settings to meet Van Buuren’s personal taste and, as far as volume was concerned, he had to turn down to avoid exceeding the limits. Nevertheless, we reached 110 dB SPL A-weighted at FOH, fifty metres from the stage.”
For the main stage, the set-up comprised two hangs with 12 GTO and a GTO-DF (downfill) each, 28 DBS 18-2 subs (twin 18-inch systems) and 24 Mantas 28 as frontfill units, while the second stage had two hangs with nine nine GTO and one GTO-DF each, 16 DBS 18-2 subs and 18 Superfly on frontfill chores.
The subs had a hybrid arc/endfire configuration to concentrate power in the correct area and ensure decisive side and rear rejection.
Paladini also stressed the importance, at the drawing board stage, of Outline’s Openarray3D acoustic simulation and modelling software: “Openarray3D enabled me to simulate several solutions and choose the best. In the end, the result was exactly as simulated. The software also enabled us to reduce calibration time remarkably, since the simulated delay and gain values of the various sections of the PA corresponded exactly to the real ones.”
Daniele Ferrazzano, general manager of Decibel Eventi, enthused after the event: “From a technical point of view the audio was without doubt a big step forward compared to the previous editions. We, the organizers, the artistes and all the public were completely satisfied. The clean, powerful quality of the sound had everybody agreeing – from the technicians to the fans at the festival!”