The Decibel Open Air stage

The Visarno Arena in Florence’s Parco delle Cascine hosted Decibel Open Air, following its success in 2018. The event was organised by Decibel Eventi and has become a fixture among large international music events.

This year, more than 30 performers from the international EDM scene performed on the two stages, with Armin Van Buuren headlining. To ensure the thousands of fans a unique sonic experience, Scandicci-based Tuscan rental company Emporio On Stage equipped both stages with Outline GTO PA systems. The hurdles to be overcome to achieve the results requested included ensuring the highest possible SPL for the audience, while reducing sound spill into surrounding areas.

‘This is achieved by means of a correct positioning and aiming of the enclosures,’ Giancarlo Paladini, PA tech and system engineer responsible for the rigs, explains. ‘This sometimes jeopardizes 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.’

Decibel Open AirArmin Van Buuren had two personal technicians, who arrived the day before the show to check out the equipment and cables and exchange information with the team on site. ‘The only very small changes his sound engineer 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, but nevertheless we reached 110dB SPL A-weighed at FOH, 50m from the stage,’ Paladini reports.

The main stage set-up comprised two hangs of 12 GTO and a GTO-DF (downfill) each, 28 DBS 18-2 subs (twin 18-inch systems) and 24 Mantas 28 as front fill, while the second stage had two hangs with nine GTO and 1 GTO-DF each, 16 DBS 18-2 subs and 18 Superfly front fill. The subs had a hybrid arc/endfire configuration to concentrate power in the correct area, above all stage-front, and ensure decisive side and rear rejection.

Paladini stresses the importance of Outline’s Openarray3D acoustic simulation and modelling software at the drawing board stage: ‘To install a system of this size, having to concentrate and limit coverage to the utmost to the areas effectively of interest, particularly as far as the subs were concerned, while also guaranteeing maximum sound pressure, Openarray3D enabled me to simulate several solutions and choose the best,’ he says. ‘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.’

‘From a technical point of view, the audio took a big step forward compared to the previous editions,’ reports Decibel Eventi General Manager, Daniele Ferrazzano. ‘The organisers, artists and public were completely satisfied. The clean, powerful quality of the sound had everybody agreeing, from the technicians to the fans at the festival.’

More: www.outline.it

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