The STM modular line array PA system had to cope with the biggest-ever audience at the Silvretta Arena
Austria - The legendary Top of the Mountain concert brought two new stars to the alpine resort of Ischgl this year: Robbie Williams and Nexo STM.

Held each May at an altitude of 2,300m, Top of the Mountain rounds off the ski season in fine style. Robbie and his Big Band scaled the heights this year to perform their entire Swings Both Ways album, marking the event's 20th anniversary.

The STM modular line array PA system had to cope with the biggest-ever audience at the Silvretta Arena, a crowd of 30,000 people, but it also had to score in another crucial area. All equipment is brought into the resort by snow gondola, with snowploughs handling on-site transport and the crew flown in by helicopter. Here, STM's ability to break down into smaller elements proved invaluable, allowing for ease of transport to the arena.

All technical production was supplied by Austria's Fantasy Event Engineering, working closely with sound rental company acoustic Network from Germany to provide 15 sets of STM M46 Main, B112 Bass and S112 Sub units per side, covering up to 80 metres. The S112s were supplemented with two stacks per side of 4x CD18 cardioid sub bass units. Two delay towers of 10+2 GEO T cabinets covered from 85 up to 135m. Overlap between the two systems was smooth, and very little EQ had to be applied. In addition, eight GEO S12s were used for the VIP area, and front-fills were provided by four PS15s.

The system surprised even Val Gilbert, Nexo's concert sound technical advisor, who has heard STM in a great many locations and configurations. "With snow acting as an absorbent everywhere, it was almost like listening to very big studio monitors," he says. "We experienced some of the most pronounced climatic effects I have ever heard. Cold air on the ground, warm air above the crowd's head, and cold air from falling snow and fog above created a layer of warm air exactly at the height of the FOH engineer position, driving mid and high frequencies straight into the tent.

"This made it difficult for the FOH engineer, Simon Hodge, to mix in a predictable way. However the sound was solid and coverage and throw were excellent. Without a doubt, STM was up to the task, and performed extremely well."

Both Hodge and Britannia Row's system engineer Josh Lloyd, who tours with Robbie Williams, were complimentary about STM, expressing a desire to spend time with it in more 'hospitable' conditions. "The system sounded great, especially considering the tough environment we were dealing with," says Lloyd.

Lloyd wasn't the only one who thought so; the event's technical director, Hannes Knapp from Fantasy Event Engineering has already confirmed that STM will be used for next year's Top of the Mountain, with multiple high-profile sources telling him it was "the best sound ever in Ischgl".

(Jim Evans)

Latest Issue. . .