Meyer Sound LEO powers Metallica WorldWired Tour

Metallica’s summer-long WorldWired Tour is currently rolling through the largest stadiums and festival sites in North America with a massive Meyer Sound LEO Family reinforcement system.

The system, which was supplied by VER Tour Sound, incorporates for the first time anywhere the company’s new VLFC (very low frequency control) element.

FOH engineer "Big Mick" Hughes, who has been at the helm of Metallica’s sound for 33 years of the band’s 35-year history, has listed the LEO systems as his first rider preference over the past five years of intermittent tours and one-off events.

"I just love the clarity of LEO," said Hughes. "It’s a very powerful box that produces a fantastic guitar and vocal sound. Also, having a two-way system, with the crossover point down where it is, keeps everything smooth and sweet in the mid-highs. You can pick the volume you want and it doesn’t change tonally, unlike some other PA’s where you have to hold it in a certain sweet spot. It’s the easiest PA in the world to turn down when you have to."

Making its global concert debut on the WorldWired tour is Meyer Sound’s new VLFC (very low frequency control) element, which reproduces only a single octave – the one that spans the lower threshold of hearing from 32Hz down to 14Hz. The tour features two colossal end-fire arrays each made up of 21 VLFC cabinets: “We use the VLFC’s as a special effect to create a realistic experience of an explosion, one that you feel in your chest more than you hear with your ears," Hughes explained.

An even larger assembly of 85 1100-LFC low-frequency control units, operating from 28Hz to 90Hz, handles the audible portion of the show’s deep bass. These are variously deployed as flown arrays, end-fire arrays beside the stage, and at the delay towers. The balance of the system, in the standard stadium configuration, is anchored by four main hangs of 18-each LEO line array loudspeakers.

Covering the far end of the bowl are three delay towers, each carrying arrays of eight LYON-M main loudspeakers over eight LYON-W wide coverage loudspeakers. Twenty LEOPARD loudspeakers are spaced across the stage as front fills, with an additional 12 LEOPARD on the ground at the delay towers. A contingent of UPQ-1P loudspeakers is utilised as needed for miscellaneous fill.

The WorldWired Tour also boasts by far the most extensive implementation to date of Meyer Sound’s Galileo GALAXY networked platform. A total of 14 GALAXY frames and ten Extreme Networks Summit X440 series switches are interlinked via a redundant fibre optic network using the IEEE-developed AVB protocol. The three GALAXY 816 frames at FOH serve as the hub, broadcasting streams to the GALAXY frames positioned near the main left and right arrays and at the three delay positions. All activity at FOH revolves around Big Mick’s favoured Midas XL-8 console.

The summer stadium leg of the WorldWired Tour – during which Metallica are playing some venues of more than 50,000 – kicked off at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on 10 May and wraps up at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta on 16 August.