Europe - Metallica continues to break new ground with their in-the-round production for the global, two-year M72 World Tour that recently kicked off in Europe. Throughout the tour, the band’s sound is immersing the entire audience - at full bandwidth across a broad stereo landscape - through a Meyer Sound system comprising a record 288 Panther large-format linear line array loudspeakers.
The band and long-time creative director Dan Braun have moved beyond the old paradigms. Two concerts will be presented at every tour stop, with completely separate music sets for each show. The celebrated ‘snake pit’ has been relocated inside a ring-shaped stage, requiring four drum kits for Lars Ulrich to rise up as needed. Also, the sonic field has been expanded to ensure a wide stereo spread of guitars and drums at every seat and standing point in the stadium.
“I’m always concerned about making all these new ideas work at scale,” admits Braun, “but we have great partners to rely on, not the least of which is Meyer Sound. So, I never let things like practicality and logistics inhibit the creative process.”
Braun took his idea for the tour sound directly to company founders John and Helen Meyer, who captured his vision and assigned director of system optimisation Bob McCarthy to design audio for the tour.
“I told Bob that my goal was to have full stereo sound at every point with no overlap, from the centre pit to the nosebleed seats,” Braun continues. “We wanted everybody to hear the band as if with nearfield monitors, and I think we’ve come closer to that than ever before in a concert setting.”
Braun also credits the new Panther line array loudspeakers as a key component in realising the ambitious concept. “The clarity of the system is breath-taking, and that combined with Bob McCarthy’s brilliant design is giving us a show that sounds spectacular.”
Crafting the Metallica sound from FOH is Greg Price, a veteran known for his long stints not only with hard rock legends Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne but also for pop acts including The Glee Show on Tour, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, and Chicago.
“We’re only a few shows into the tour and so far I’m very impressed,” says Price. “And I would have to say that I don’t think there is any other PA manufacturer in the world that could take on what we are trying to do on this tour.”
As for the massive Panther arrays, Price describes them as “a PA system that acts like a reference monitor, like an Amie or a Bluehorn in the studio. I’m hearing things in my mixing that I always knew were there but lacked definition. Now they are right in my face, and I can work with them.”
The gargantuan M72 World Tour system is deployed in three concentric rings. The outer ring arrays are suspended from eight towers, with two Panther arrays on each tower: 16 cabinets per array on the four long-side towers and 13 cabinets on the four short-side towers. Each tower also carries dual hangs of six-each 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements and one set of six VLFC very low-frequency control elements.
The inner system, suspended from a web over the stage, has eight hangs of seven-each Panther line array loudspeakers, providing stereo coverage out to 42m from centre. The ‘doughnut hole’ in the stage centre is covered by eight inward-firing UPQ-D2 narrow coverage loudspeakers, while the outer side of the ring employs 20 ULTRA-X40 compact loudspeakers as front fill. Ground sub-bass is powered by eight sets of 2x 1100-LFC elements around the stage.
The entire system is connected, controlled, and monitored over three Milan AVB networks. The three networks comprise 52 Luminex switches and 35 Galaxy Network Platforms. Meyer Sound’s new Nebra software platform manages all network configuration, connection, and real-time system monitoring.
The tour is supported by Clair Global, and Price gives a tip of the hat to the company’s logistical resources and depth of expertise. “We salute Clair Global for their tremendous effort in building the M72 audio systems,” he says.
Metallica’s M72 World Tour launched on 27 April and is scheduled for two European legs and two North American legs, wrapping up at the end of September 2024.

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