Nearly 45,000 music lovers took to Hyde Park for a 10th anniversary of London’s end-of-summer celebration, Proms in the Park, which included performances by the BBC Concert Orchestra, along with tenor Andrea Bocelli, violinist Nicola Benedetti, pop vocal quartet G4 and special guests soul-rockers Simply Red. This year’s event also marked the debut of a 96-cabinet, self-powered Meyer Sound system built around MILO and MICA high-power curvilinear arrays.
Proms in the Park presents a daunting challenge for sound reinforcement, as the audience spreads out in casual picnic fashion, making the coverage area immense: 300 meters deep and nearly 250 meters wide. In addition, because of the eclectic combination of pop/rock and classical fare, the system must project delicate transients and handle an exceptionally wide dynamic range. In addition, everything is broadcast live on the BBC, so the system must tightly control bleed back to the stage.
The overall brief for system performance was set by Simon Biddulph of System Sound and Light, who has been the primary audio contractor and chief sound system designer for Proms in the Park since its inception. The specifics of the loudspeaker configuration were given to Chris Marsh of Major Tom Ltd., who worked with design consultant and Meyer Sound associate Dave Dennison to turn Biddulph’s requirements into a system design using Meyer Sound’s MAPP Online Pro™ acoustical prediction program.
The design stipulated main left and right arrays of 14 MILO cabinets with two MILO 120 high-power expanded-coverage loudspeakers underhung for front-fill. For deep bass, six 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers were flown behind the main arrays, augmented by four more ground-stacked on each side. A single hang of six MICA compact high-power curvilinear array cabinets covered one side of the asymmetrical front audience area.
Biddulph laid out two delay rings with nine positions: eight positions with four MILO cabinets each and one position with six MICA units. “The most outstanding attribute of the system was the fact that it threw sound farther than any other used in the event’s 10-year history,” remarks Biddulph. “In fact, during system setup, we were told that the delays were working very well even though, at that point, they had yet to be switched on!”
Other members on the crew included Pete McGlyn and Ali Viles who, acccording to Biddulph, “looked after a particularly difficult stage,” front-of-house operator Richard Sharrat, monitor operator Steve Watson and Chris Coxhead, who took care of the Sunday “Family Proms” and other acts.
For more information on the Meyer rig, visit www.meyersound.com.