The focus of Pope Francis’ three-day visit to Lithuania was an open-air Holy Mass for more than 100,000 at Sàntakos Park in the city of Kaunas. For audio reinforcement of the event, Lithuanian rental company NGR Service deployed a 228-loudspeaker Meyer Sound system anchored by Leo Family line arrays.

Pope Francis in Lithuania‘The greatest challenges we faced were the overall size and irregular contours of the audience area,’ says Valdemaras Karpuška, a partner in NGR Service who also served as location manager and live broadcast sound engineer. ‘The area we had to cover was around 320m wide by 360m deep, and it wasn’t a regular ‘shoebox’ venue. There were numerous obstacles, such as trees and raised embankments, that we needed to work around.’

FOH engineer Tomas Ždanovičius, also a partner in NGR Service, took the lead on sound system design for the event. ‘We started our planning by using the Mapp XT software, which is an irreplaceable tool for predicting coverage,’ he says. ‘Once we knew where we stood with coverage, we assembled a system based around loudspeakers from the Leo Family – Leo, Lyon and Leopard – along with M Series and UltraSeries speakers. With the delay integration, all pass filters and other options built into the Galaxy and Galileo processors, we had no problem making the whole system coherent with practically no delay and phase differences in the whole venue.’

The four main front arrays each comprised eight Leo and four Lyon line array loudspeakers. An additional 14 towers for fill and delay systems carried combined total counts of 52 Leopard, 60 Milo, 24 Mica and 40 M’elodie line array loudspeakers. Ancillary fill and foldback systems used JM-1P (6), UPQ-1P (2), UPA-1P (4), and UPJ-1P (2) loudspeakers along with MJF-210 (4) stage monitors. Seven Galileo Galaxy and eight Galileo 616 processors provided system drive and optimisation.

‘The Meyer Sound line arrays have a convenient rigging system that let us get the job done quickly and easily,’ Karpuška says. ‘Also, the wide frequency range of the arrays gave us full music bandwidth without using subwoofers. We had faster set-up involving less equipment, and with lower power consumption. And the final coverage was at 99 per cent of what we had predicted. So we were very happy with the results.’

In addition to celebration of the Mass and a homily from Pope Francis, the complete program also included music from an 80-piece orchestra, a 300-voice choir, two vocal soloists and an ensemble of eight traditional national instruments. ‘On the main arrays, the music and the voice of Pope Francis and the other speakers came through as rich, clean and clear as it could possibly be,’ says FOH engineer Ždanovičius. ‘Personally, I could not hear any sound from the delays, but the positive feedback from the organisers told us all we needed to know.’

Ramūnas Alenskas of Sonus (Meyer Sound’s Lithuania distributor) played a coordinating role throughout the preparation and implementation stages of the event. ‘I think it shows the importance of good planning, and the quality of the equipment from Meyer Sound, that every aspect of the project – from rigging through final tuning – ran smoothly and on time. We’ve had a number of compliments from the organisers, telling us how pleased they were to work with NGR Service and Meyer Sound on this extraordinary event.’

Two fully mirrored DiGiCo SD12 digital mixing consoles were used for the live reinforcement mixes of the event. Principal podium microphone was a Shure KSM8 dual diaphragm dynamic microphone.

More: www.meyersound.com

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