Outline and Powersoft electrify Rockin’1000
Tuesday, 3 December 2019
rockinRockin’ 1000 at the newly renovated Milano-Linate airport (photo: Marco Onofri)
Italy - After captivating the Stade De France in Paris and the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Rockin’1000 brought their That’s Live - No Borders, On Board tour to Italy, landing in Milan and hosting two special guests, Manuel Agnelli from Afterhours (joined by Rodrigo D’Erasmo), and Subsonica.
The band originally found fame on 26 July 2015 at the Ippodromo Park in Cesena, where the 1,000-piece band played Learn to Fly in an effort to convince Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl to perform live in Italy (which happened the following November). Since then, the Thousand have been organising concerts around the world.
The band’s latest appearance - an outdoor show at newly renovated Milano-Linate airport - required the combined audio firepower of Outline’s GTO system and Powersoft’s K and X Series amplifiers to match up to the sheer the size of the stage and venue. This combination proved extremely effective at capturing the band’s massive live sound in Florence in 2018, so the show’s organisers knew the technology would be up to the task.
With so much equipment necessary to pull off this event, the gear had to be supplied by three companies, all of which belong to Outline and Powersoft’s Italian / European rental network: Gigant Sound (Poznań, Poland), Emporio On Stage (Scandicci, Florence), and Show Technologies (Recco, Genova).
To ensure even coverage across the venue, 100 of Outline’s GTO modules and 72 Outline DBS 18-2 subs were required. Several point-source systems (about 14 Outline Vegas 12 CX) were scattered among the Thousand as fold-backs and another 6 speakers (Outline Vegas 15 CX) were used for the monitoring on the stage.’
With the entire live system relying on 101 Powersoft amplifier platforms strategically positioned throughout the venue, reliability, power and impeccable audio performance were guaranteed.
The tech team chose 73 K10DSP AESOP to drive the main hangs, 23 K20DSP AESOP for the subs and five X8 Dante for fold-back, the conductor’s communication with the Thousand, and on-stage monitoring.
“The biggest challenges when amplifying the Rockin’1000 are the spatialisation and high harmonic content of the source,” says FOH engineer, Luca Stefani. “Managing this has been one of the most complex problems we have faced since the very first shows with the band.”
He continues: “First, the performance area is about 100m wide x 50m deep and contains 1,000 different sound sources. This is incredibly difficult to discern through a single speaker due to the distortion caused by the transducers in trying to replicate such a complex mix. The technologies already on the market were unable to solve this problem, so we had to create a different way of arranging the PA and a different way of distributing the signals.”
At Milano-Linate airport, the crew rigged 10 speaker clusters to a total of six towers. Each area of the audience, including the sides, was covered by at least two clusters; one left and one right. Each of these clusters received a dedicated mix of different signals that tries to represent the acoustic sound coming from the 1,000 musicians.
The DBS 18-2 subs were placed in end-fire configuration at the foot of each tower and at intervals between them. In this case too, each sub block was driven by a dedicated signal to allow the engineer the freedom to decide the musical content to be reproduced.
The scale of the networking was just as impressive with 22 separate signals (10 for the arrays and 12 for the subs) coming to FOH via Dante. Thanks to Powersoft Armonìa and Outline Dashboard, the engineers were able to keep things at a manageable level.
Outline’s R&D engineer, Giulio Gandini, explained the complex system: “Given the distribution of the amplification racks, we opted to use four Newtons as Dante/analogue converters and to add an additional level of processing. This allowed us to ‘colour’ the whole system according to the needs of the sound engineers.
“In the stage area we had two switches properly set for Dante, one for the primary and another for the secondary. From here, via a ‘star’ connection we went to each Newton with two ethernet cables. This guaranteed a high level of stability in the event of power problems in a tower. Each Newton, having two independent power supplies, was connected to two different power lines in order to guarantee greater stability.”
Despite the challenges and complexity inherent in such an event, sound designer Francesco Penolazzi was confident that the Milano-Linate airport show was the Rockin’1000’s finest to date. He said: “It was fantastic and couldn’t have been possible without such an amazing team of capable and inspired people.”
(Jim Evans)

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