Dolly Parton Charms the Crowds with Thunder Audio and Meyer Sound MILO
"The audience pays to hear Dolly and it's my job to make sure they can," says Michael Fechner, Dolly Parton's longtime house engineer and production manager who recently joined hands with Taylor, Mich.-based Thunder Audio to power Parton's "Backwoods Barbie" world tour with a Meyer Sound system.
A charismatic performer, Parton spends much of her show telling stories, jokes and ad-libbing for the crowd. According to Fechner, the performance of the previous sound system prevented the audience from enjoying the full live experience. "The problem was we were losing a lot of that great interaction," explains Fechner.
Knowing that a system with much better clarity and control was needed to address Fechner's concern, Thunder did not hesitate to recommend the self-powered Meyer Sound MILO line array loudspeakers. "We were originally called in to tweak their system," notes Thunder Vice President Paul Owen. "But once they realized the possibilities with the MILO system and our production services, they were sold."
Dual arrays of 12 MILOs and eight groundstacked 700-HP subwoofers comprise the main system for the tour. Twin side hangs of seven M'elodie line array loudspeakers plus six UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers serve as frontfill.
Monitor Engineer Jason Glass utilizes 13 MJF-212A stage monitors, two UPA-1P loudspeakers and two USW-1P subwoofers to achieve a perfect mix for Parton's 11-piece band. "I really like using these MJFs," says Glass. "They've got all the headroom I want, along with amazing clarity. It's is a great combination for a monitor." Design and tuning are accomplished with MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program and a SIM 3 audio analyzer.
"We need something with superior vocal performance," concludes Fechner. "Intelligibility and tone are our top priorities. I'm able to achieve that more easily with Meyer products than any other, and I've used every competitor out there. The Meyer speakers have helped us immensely."
On her "Backwoods Barbie" tour, Parton will perform in theaters and arenas in North America, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and the UK through Meyer Sound systems. Thunder Audio has involved UK-based Major Tom to support select shows on the European leg of the tour.