BSS Audio FDS-366T Omnidrive Compact Plus loudspeaker management systems were used to drive the JBL VerTec line array systems on Metallica’s recent 23-date European and UK stadium tour. This was the first high-profile outing for the FDS-366T’s new Version 2.0 firmware used with VerTec.
The result of extensive collaboration between Rich Rowley of BSS Audio (UK) and Scott Opie of JBL, Metallica was the first international act to use the new settings, a nod to the initial collaboration between Rowley and Metallica’s long-term front-of-house engineer, “Big Mick” Hughes, back in 1995 when BSS introduced its first Omnidrive units.
The SB2 software package offers control of multiple FDS-366T units from a wireless tablet PC, using a complete custom interface that can be personalized to the engineer and allows wireless control from anywhere within the venue.
The VerTec system was broken down into five different zones. In the main hangs, there were three zones—tops, medium-throws and near-fields—with three Omnidrives driving these (left and right). A further device drove the side hangs, and the fifth was deployed on two different subwoofer zones and also sent a signal to the cluster of four VerTecs providing the center-fill.
“Rich told me about the new software and since I was all set to use VerTec, it made perfect sense to use the Thiele settings,” says Big Mick. “These worked very well. The system was way more optimized and it allowed us to do our own EQ on top. Once we’d tuned it, I could immediately see the benefits of this new filter.”
While Big Mick is no stranger to tablet-driven devices, this was the first time that he has been able to control different bands of the P.A. “This was because we had access to the loudspeaker management systems,” he explains. “It was great to be able to visualize the crossovers and delays and have monitor reference via the custom pages. It meant I could wander off anywhere I wanted to with the crossover tablet inside a stadium, which provided me with enormous flexibility.”
Metallica is currently in the middle of its tour across the U.S., which started in mid-August.