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Meyer Sound's MILO Off to the Races in the Netherlands
The 2005 Red Bull Air Race World Series is the latest version of the spectacular "slalom-in-the-sky" event that debuted in 2003. The Air Race was conceived in 2001 with the idea of creating a competitive air event involving not only speed, but also aerobatics. To develop the idea, Red Bull tapped Hungary's two-time World Aerobatic champion Peter Besenyei. The Air Race premiered at Red Bull's Air Power 2003 event in Zeltweg, Austria, successfully enough to engender a second 2003 race in Budapest and three more races in 2004.
This year, the second week of June found Rotterdam hosting 700,000 spectators for the second of eight races in the newly created World Series. The huge crowd of air show fans turned out on racing Sunday to watch planes fly under the Erasmus Bridge at speeds exceeding 400 km per hour and hear the race called, over pounding "house" beats, through a huge system of over 200 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers supplied by Dutch Generations Light & Sound (Generations L&S).
Generations L&S is a company specializing in production for spectacular large-scale events. Investing in a large line array system therefore seemed only a matter of time, and the MILO high-power curvilinear array system was a natural decision. "We don't buy a system this size every day to put it mildly, so we looked into all options available," says Generations L&S CEO Gaby van Amerongen. "MILO, however, came out quickly as the best choice for us."
The system, which was deployed along the 2.6 km banks of one of the world's largest harbors, incorporated 60 MILO high-power curvilinear loudspeakers, 12 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers, 28 MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers, 28 UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers, 42 650-P high-power subwoofers, six M3D-Sub directional subwoofers, four CQ-1 wide coverage main loudspeakers, two CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeakers, 12 legacy, conventionally-powered MSL-3 reinforcement loudspeakers, and four LD-3 compensating line drivers.
The scale of the event made it challenging for Generations L&S to provide intelligibility for the announcing, and clarity for the music, especially given that the original attendance predictions were for 250,000 - 300,000. "At some points we had to shoot over 100 meters of water before even reaching the start of the audience," notes Sander Koers, Generations' operational manager. "The designs we did in Meyer Sound's MAPP Online acoustical prediction program gave us some peace of mind and did, indeed, turn out to be accurate. Still, it was quite an experience to find such high intelligibility and a sense of power over hundreds and hundreds of meters."
The sound system design for the event was both immense and complex, to say the least. The Erasmus Bridge area was served by two arrays of 12 MILO cabinets each and seven 700-HP subwoofers, which carried for up to 400 meters. A large square nearby was handled by two arrays of eight MILO cabinets each hung in scaffolding, with five 700-HP units delivering the low end.
Farther down the River Nieuwe Maas, the Veerhaven harbor area hosted another scaffold that supported an array of seven MILO units covering a street that was 60 meters wide and 150 meters long, and another array of five more MILOs that supplied the harbor itself with sound. These arrays were complemented by six 650-P subwoofers.
The last two MILO arrays were strategically-placed groundstacked arrays, each having four MILO cabinets and three M3D-Sub units. Along the harborside were 28 equally-spaced groundstacked clusters, each covering a 50-meter-by-50-meter area and consisting of one MSL-4, one UPA-1P and one 650-P. Additional CQ-1, CQ-2, MSL-3 and 650-P cabinets were employed at the VIP area on the harbor's south side.
Beyond performance, van Amerongen was heavily swayed by the support Generations L&S received from the Meyer Sound organization. "With both Meyer Sound's distributor, Audio Electronics Mattijsen (AEM), and the factory staff being instrumental in helping us manage a unique event like the Red Bull Air Race, all other options quickly faded." Obviously, many other companies feel the same, as is reflected by the growing number of international tours and high-end events using MILO.
Van Amerongen was impressed with how the MILO system handled the substantially inflated crowd size. "With 400,000 people more than expected, we were overawed by the hidden reserves that are apparently in the MILOs," he says. "They're simply awesome!"
In addition to the MILO and 700-HP cabinets, Generations L&S also took delivery of a complement of CQ-1 loudspeakers to add to their Meyer Sound inventory, which also includes MSL-4 and UPA-1P loudspeakers, 650-P subwoofers, LD-3 line drivers and legacy MSL-3 loudspeakers.
Koers is clearly pleased with the new additions and the way they fit into his inventory. "The new 700-HP subs are very powerful, and we can combine them both with our MSLs and the new MILO system," he states. "The CQs had been on our list anyway, given the continued demand for them in the theatre market."
For his part, van Amerongen is happy to add another major success to the firm's résumé and is appreciative of the aid Generations L&S received along the way. "We want to thank AEM and Meyer Sound for helping us to get great reviews from the government for controlling the SPL throughout the city," he concludes. Judging by the record turnout, the Austrian government, Red Bull and nearly a million fans were equally appreciative.