Tom Petty takes EAW ADAPTive out on 40th Anniversary Tour

FOH engineer Robert Scovill has specified an EAW ADAPTive sound reinforcement system to support Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for the second major tour in a row and the band’s 40th anniversary.

California-based Sound Image is providing the crew as well as the system, which is comprised of Anya array and Otto subwoofer modules, supplemented with Anna delay towers for stadium shows.

The 270-degree arena rig consists of 56 Anya for the main left/right arrays, hung in a 12-8-8 column configuration per side, a centre cluster of 6 Anya and 14 Otto subs spaced across the front of the stage. The majority of the tour will utilise this system although for stadium shows, like Wrigley Field in Chicago, Scovill has specified a delay ring made up of four towers of 12 Anna enclosures to supplement the main rig.

The ADAPTive system is designed to be a fixed variable, which means that no matter what the actual coverage requirements are for any venue, the system is deployed “physically” in same fashion in every venue. Resolution software calculates new coverage requirements day-to-day, even when the venue is asymmetrical.

“As we modelled a couple of stadiums, it was clear that improvements in coverage could be obtained through judicial use of delay towers,” explained Scovill. “They are used primarily to reach up under seating levels blocked by overhanging structures. The centre cluster of Anya provides imaging for the audience on the main floor. Coverage for the centre starts with a blending of the front fills but ends behind me at FOH. Where the coverage ends is critical as it has to stop right where the main left/right arrays begin to converge – ADAPTive makes this very simple to adjust as no physical movement of the arrays or array angles is required.

“Most of our shows will be in arenas but for the smaller setups like sheds, the system is designed to easily scale down,” Scovill added. “The well thought out horizontal arc-segment of Anya makes this incredibly easy. It’s almost as if they designed it that way.”

This is Scovill’s first outing with the Otto subwoofers, which he utilises to help anchor the sound to the stage, especially for the people sitting in the close VIP area.

“The Otto subwoofer had not been developed for the first tour so I was excited to test it for this one – it did not disappoint,” Scovill remarked. “Not only was the Resolution software able to deal with my spaced arrangement of enclosures required for the front-fill deployment, but the subs’ compact size and exceptional rear-rejection allowed me to use it without disturbing Tom on stage, who is very sensitive to sub-bass. The effectiveness of Spatial EQ and the new Airloss control features are more than impressive. To be able to pinpoint a physical area in a venue and only EQ that area is a tool that we, as an industry, have never seen before.”

Scovill concluded: “I chose ADAPTive when it was brand new for the 2014 tour and I’m still impressed with what the system can do and the improvements and upgrades the company continues to provide. My choice to use it this time was an easy one. It does exactly what they say it does and we have heard nothing but rave reviews from the band and fans.”