L-Acoustics takes world’s largest AVB touring system on Arcade Fire tour

Supporting their latest release, Everything Now, Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire have just wrapped up the two-month North American leg of their Infinite Content tour, performing at more than two dozen arenas across the continent with the world’s largest ever Audio Video Bridging (AVB) system for touring concert sound reinforcement.

Infinite Content, which will soon head to Mexico and South America in late November, also represents L-Acoustics’ first official tour using an AVB system.

The system brings a host of benefits, including ultra-simple deployment with minimal network configuring, robust long-distance network communication, low latency, improved synchronisation and reliability.

Supplied by L-Acoustics’ North American certified provider Solotech, with support from Germany’s Black Box Music, the tour is carrying a total of 92 AVB-equipped L-Acoustics LA12X amplified controllers, 48 K1 and 80 K2 loudspeakers, 56 KS28 subs, eight ARCS Wide and eight X8 coaxials. Processing is being handled by a pair of redundant Meyer Sound Galaxy units, one driving analogue lines over copper for system fallback. All of the L-Acoustics and Meyer Sound equipment is certified through the Avnu Alliance and networked via the AVB/TSN protocol using Avnu-certified 11 Extreme Networks switches.

According to David Brazeau, Solotech’s senior audio project manager, “We conducted some A/B testing here in the warehouse with L-Acoustics last year and discovered that AVB brought a sonic advantage. It brought better translation from analogue to digital, so we wanted to offer that to our client.” Solotech worked closely with the L-Acoustics engineering team during pre-production to build the AVB network and ensure trouble-free operation on the road, he added.

One of the many benefits of implementing an AVB network has been the reduction in the number of connections, reported Marc-Olivier Germain, owner of Méduse Audio Inc., the designer of the system and the audio system technician on the tour. “I used to drive the amps with AES, and would usually have a network just to do the remote control,” he recalled. “By using AVB, I eliminated one of the two XLR connections on the amplifiers, so there’s less patching and less material to carry around. I’m also using a little MOTU AVB USB soundcard device at my front-of-house rack so I can grab AVB streams from my Galaxy to look at the EQ curves in real time in Smaart.”

AVB’s flawless performance on this tour more than proves that it is an extremely solid solution for concert sound

– Marc-Olivier Germain, Méduse Audio Inc.

Germain’s loudspeaker design complement includes 12 K1 over four K2 flown at each corner of the 25-foot by 25-foot stage above a four-sided video wall. “Behind each K1/K2 main hang there is a tower of eight KS28 angled at 45 degrees, and the two middle subs are reversed using the cardioid preset. By flying the system in this configuration, I stay clear of the moving lighting elements,” he said.

He also revealed that L-Acoustics X8 coaxial cabinets served as the tour’s front fills. “I put the front fills on the subs at each corner. To get enough throw on the main upstage and downstage sides I used two ARCS Wide per corner but kept the X8s on the sides.

“AVB’s flawless performance on this tour more than proves that it is an extremely solid solution for concert sound – it’s a radical improvement in terms of deployment and sounds amazing with K1/K2!” Germain concluded.

Following shows in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Argentina through mid-December, the Infinite Content tour resumes in Europe in April 2018, with scheduled stops in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.