Urban Peace 3

Europe’s largest hip-hop and urban music event, Urban Peace 3 found 60,000 fans packed into the Stade de France in Paris for five hours of live performance, headlined by IAM and Sexion D’Assaut.

For the event, sound rental company Melpomen brought Nexo’s new STM Series line array systems into the French national stadium for the first time, tying into the permanent Nexo Geo-S12 PA for extra coverage of the uppermost seating areas of the venue.

Staged five years after Urban Peace 2 and 11 after the founding event, the 2013 concert assembled the cream of French rap music on the city’s largest and most prestigious stage once again. This time the line-up included Stromae, Orelsan, Chris Brown, Youssoupha and La Fouine, and the mix tent hosted some of the best sound engineers in France. Sound design was by Melpomen Director, Thierry Tranchant, with measurement and tuning by Vladimir Coulibre, using 78 STM ‘sets’ – Nexo defines a ‘set’ of STM as a M46 main, a B112 bass and a S118 sub, the main loudspeaker components of this unique modular line array.

Urban Peace 3‘STM handled the job easily,’ he says. ‘As soon as the rigging was completed, I felt comfortable with the headroom and dynamics. What I like above all about setting up is that it is pretty much plug-and-play.’

The main PA comprised 15 M46 and 15 B112 boxes per side, with nine each M46 and B112 boxes per side for side fill. The first delay system used a further nine M46 and nine B112 per side 60m from stage, with six M46 and six B112 per side placed 90m from stage for second delay.

Melpomen engineers devised a new configuration for the S118 subs, which proved effective in the massive arena. Groups of nine S118 cabinets were groundstacked along the front of the stage, each group comprising six units facing forward and three facing back. This ‘hybrid’ cardioid configuration offers the same output as the omnidirectional mode with a significant benefit.

‘The new cardioid pattern has given us a 16dB drop in volume behind the stage,’ says Tranchant. ‘This two and one configuration has made the sound even tighter.’

‘This is the largest of all the French STM shows so far; everyone’s been so happy at the way the system sounds which of course means less work for them, and the carry of the low-end is particularly beneficial when working with this type of music. Tuning went very smoothly. We have SPL limits of 105dBA with a 15-minute LEQ here in the Stade de France, but headroom remained very high, and we positioned the delays so that STM was able to work absolutely optimally.’

System techs Cedric Bernard and Alexandre Borel supervised an impressively calm FOH riser where engineers arrived and moved on through the changeovers.

‘Although this is the largest STM show we have ever done – physically, it’s taken one-and-a-half days to put it all in, do the EQing, set the phases, and so on – it was very easy to tune, and everyone is very happy with the results,’ Bernard reports. ‘All of the engineers have found it very easy to just turn up and mix on this system – no problems at all - and they have commented particularly on how beautiful the low-end is as well as the great clarity in the highs.’

Urban Peace 3‘This kind of urban music obviously requires a lot of low-end, but, because the system is so versatile, we didn’t have to tweak it any differently than we would for a pop/rock show,’ Borel  says. ‘From an engineer’s perspective, less time is required to make adjustments on the console: for example, the engineer for headline act IAM only put in a hi-pass filter on his vocal channels; everything else was flat, which says a lot about STM.’

On stage, a selection of Nexo loudspeakers made up the monitoring system. Most of the performers were using IEMs, supplemented by PS15-R2 wedges and 16 45°N-12 line monitors. Four of the 45°N-12s were presented as pairs, the other 12 were spaced across the stage in the layout preferred by rappers. A total of 48 45°N12, and 22 PS15-R2 monitors were used.

‘The system sounded very natural and the guys set it up very well,’ says Nexo Concert Sound Manager, Stuart Kerrison. ‘The coverage in the Stade was way better than I thought it would be in a venue like this. When I walked into the soundcheck, arriving from the back of the stadium, the sub was killing – I assumed subs were on all the delays, but of course they weren’t using any on the delays, it was very impressive.’

More: www.melpomen.net
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