The tables closest to the stage, set up on the venue's playing field, were covered by front-fill enclosures
Italy - Rome's Palalottomatica indoor sports arena hosted this year's Italian Summit by global nutrition and weight management company Herbalife.

The event's AV, lighting and ground support contractor was Planet Service of San Marino, whose audio team consisted in Alessandro Saudelli (audio chief, responsible for the system's design and fine-tuning), Emanuele Vischi (sound engineer and PA man), Francesco Passeri (mic tech and PA man) and Edoardo Michelori (PA man).

Saudelli explains how the team faced the venue's infamous acoustics (the domed ceiling and extremely reverberant environment are many a sound engineer's nightmare), ensuring excellent sonic quality for the 8,000 attendees.

"Our brief was for a central stage, to exploit the venue's entire capacity. This, plus the fact that the rig couldn't be flown, meant we had to opt for a ground support format, with consequent load limits and problems connected with audience sightlines, without overlooking the aesthetic results, since it was a convention, not a concert."

Planet Service has worked with Herbalife since 2004 and, even if already familiar with the basic needs from a scenographic and spectacular point of view, the production bar is raised every year, so technology has to follow the same trend.

Saudelli continues, "We chose Outline Butterfly for this important event's sound reinforcement, not only because we're familiar with the system, but also for the enclosures' excellent weight : performance ratio. We deployed a total of 96 Butterfly plus 16 Outline Mantas and 90% of the attendees were covered by eight clusters, each comprising 12 Butterfly and two Mantas (down-fill) and weighing approximately 450 kg (992 lb). Therefore, the audio rig loaded the ground support system with just 4.5 tons of the 10 maximum.

The tables closest to the stage, set up on the venue's playing field, were covered by front-fill enclosures, for the distance between the lower limit of main cluster coverage and the stage (normally two or three metres, but on this occasion approximately six).

"The choice fell on Outline's Eidos 265 LA, conceived for array use, but ideal for this situation, as their compact dimensions ensure low visual impact, but they're extremely efficient and a perfect match for the Butterfly and Mantas speakers' sound. We installed fifteen Eidos round the stagefront."

Lengthy discussions were held on sub positioning and, for seating capacity reasons, it was eventually decided to position them round the stage, with 21 Outline Subtech 218 and 12 Outline Victor Live in end-fire configuration, with the rearmost sub under the stage.

Saudelli enthuses, "This was obviously a compromise, but any doubts we had vanished completely after switching on the rig and listening to the performance."

(Jim Evans)

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