Made internationally famous by his 2012 ‘Gangnam Style’ single, Psy embarked on a multi-stadium tour of South Korea home country recently. Amid record high temperatures, supersized venues and a pumping EDM playlist, the tour needed a hardy and technologically advanced sound system – turning to d&b audiotechnik’s GSL System, along with ArrayProcessing, to cope with climate changes, climactic K-pop dynamics and challenging acoustics.

Psy's Soaking Wet TourThe 2018 dates were the fourth incarnation of his Soaking Wet Show series of concerts, so called due to the amount of water sprayed onto the audience to entertain and beat the sweltering summer heat. They are big-business events, drawing in thousands of eager fans from across South Korea and overseas. The tour played six stadia – Busan Asiad Main Stadium, Taegu Auxiliary Stadium, Seoul Jamsil Auxiliary Stadium, DaeJeon World Cup Stadium, Incheon Asiad Main Stadium and the Gwangju World Cup Stadium. Keen to showcase the latest technology, in addition to special effects and water canons, the tour marked the first South Korean outing for the GSL System.

The Seoul-based PA rental company Artmix supplied the GSL loudspeakers. The team rigged 14 d&b GSL8 and two GSL12 cabinets per side for the main LR system, eight SL-GSub per side for flown subs, 14 d&b J8 and two J12 were rigged for out fill. To meet the LF demand of PSY’s EDM style, Artmix deployed 16 J-Subs for ground stacks. The front fill consisted of 12 V8. A D80 amplifier powered the set-up.

‘Designing the sound system presented some challenges, since each of the stadiums has its unique characteristics, in terms of size, seating layout and distance from FOH to the main stage,’ says Artmix Audio Director, Sun-Joong Kim. ‘We decided that our main objective was to tune the system to be as similar as possible, to create an identical sonic response in each venue.’

Summer in South Korea can be hot and humid. During this tour, temperatures in the region reached some of the highest levels since records began. ‘At the Busan tour date, it was 40° with 40 per cnet humidity at the sound check, 36° with 65 per cent humidity at the rehearsal, and 30° with 70 per cent humidity during the show,’ Kim continues. ‘Needless to say, we had to ensure this didn’t have a negative impact on the sound. Thankfully, one can factor temperature and humidity into d&b Array Processing, so we ran the shows with multiple versions of ArrayProcessing slots, which was so helpful in making everything sound identical both day and night.’

The Artmix team used the d&b amp remote control software, R1, to monitor not only levels but also the system’s temperature throughout rehearsals and shows.

Sun-Joong Kim also served as FOH sound engineer for the tour: ‘It’s clear that the GSL System is optimised for large tours like this one,’ he says. ‘Generally, there is an excess amount of low frequency on the main stage when you rig large quantities, but not with GSL. This phenomenon enables us to focus monitors more cleanly. The GSL set-up minimised the impact on the stage and helped us to focus more on the house sound, which was a triumph. Utilising flown subs, for instance, we ensured the audience heard more LF throughout the seating region. We achieved the same tone across the huge stadia.’

When it came to sound, Psy himself had some specific requirements: ‘He asked me to ensure that the stage, IEM and FOH sound was identical,’ says Artmix’s Seung-ho Shin, monitor engineer for the tour. ‘Psy is not just a singer but also a producer who makes decisions on all aspects of his shows.

‘There are lots of times when Psy leaves the main stage and performs on the runway, performing while hearing FOH audio instead of IEM because dance cues with other dancers are mismatched. When he is by himself on the runway, he uses IEM. Therefore, our goal was making the tonal balance and sonic characteristics for both regions as similar as possible without compromising sound pressure and distortion. Having all d&b products for all our wedges as side fill and the main was highly beneficial to achieve this goal.’

More than 25,000 fans joined Psy for his show in the South Korean capital of Seoul, united in the dance steps made famous in his ‘Gangnam Style’ video. The tour has maintained Psy’s status as one of K-pop’s biggest global stars.

More: www.dbaudio.com

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