Now in their 20th year of touring with Meyer Sound systems, Dave Matthews Band (DMB) once again relied on a LEO® linear large-scale sound reinforcement system for its recent 20-city tour of European arenas. As the band’s system of choice since 2013, LEO is the latest in a line of Meyer Sound loudspeaker systems provided by longtime supplier Pro Media/UltraSound, dating back to DMB’s first major headline tour in 1996 with an MSL-3A conventionally powered loudspeaker system.
“I find that LEO is so transparent that I can mix without worrying about problematic interactions within the system,” says Jeff Thomas, veteran FOH engineer for DMB. “Rather than mixing in a defensive manner, I can focus on artistically creating the ideal tonal balance. The low-mid directional characteristics of LEO and LYON™ also allow more gain before feedback and less interaction with Dave’s mic.”
Although the European shows were all indoors, Thomas also appreciated LEO’s power and control when playing outdoor amphitheatres in the US this summer. “At places like Blossom Music Center and Saratoga Performing Arts Center, we’ve had considerable success with LEO because of the system’s superior coverage, coherence and rear rejection,” he reports. “These venues are designed for orchestras, not amplified music, yet we’ve had fantastic shows thanks to LEO.”
DMB’s touring audio production for the indoor European tour was anchored by dual main arrays of 12 LEO-M and four LYON line array loudspeakers each. Twin side hangs were 10 LYON loudspeakers each, supplemented by eight M’elodie® line array and six JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers as front and out fills, respectively. A Galileo® Callisto™ loudspeaker management system with one Galileo Callisto 616 AES and two Galileo Callisto 616 array processors facilitated system drive and optimization. The tour’s front-end and monitoring systems were brought to Europe by Martinez, Calif.-based Pro Media/UltraSound, with main system support by Victory Tour Production of Denmark.
“The system we’re carrying now is incredibly easy to rig and tune,” reports Tom Lyon, systems tech for the tour. “The ability to preset angles before flying is a major plus, and tuning can usually be accomplished with only a few U-Shaping™ adjustments.”
Thomas mixed DMB on an Avid VENUE Profile console, with another Profile and an Avid VENUE SC48 used for monitors. The band used Shure UHF-R wireless microphones with Shure PSM 900 and PSM 1000 in-ear monitoring systems.
With festival appearances and occasional mandatory use of house systems, Thomas sometimes mixes DMB on other systems. “But it’s always nice coming back to LEO,” he remarks. “It’s like a Christmas miracle—there’s just nothing else like it.”