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Pussycat Dolls Crew Adapts to European Venues with Butterfly Outlinearrays

FOH Staff • International News • March 3, 2009

ZURICH, Switzerland — The European leg of the Pussycat Dolls’ Doll Domination world tour traveled with Britannia Row Productions’ Butterfly Outlinearrays. A total of 72 Butterflies joined the pop-dance quintet for the tour, blitzing through 28 dates in just over a month and adapting to a variety of venues.

For the mid-February stop at Zurich’s Hallenstadion, for example, sound reinforcement consisted in 56 Outline Butterfly Hi-Packs (16+16 for the main front hangs, 10+10 for the sides and 2+2 for “front-fill”) backed up by 26 Subtech 218 (12 either side and 2 in the center).

Two Outline DVS 15 multi-purpose enclosures (1×15”; 1×3”) were also used for coverage for the front rows of the audience. Outline T9 power amps (2 x 4800W, a single rack unit and just 12 kilos each) powered the rig.
Adam Smith, system engineer, was the technician in charge of the Butterfly system on behalf of Brit Row. Bryan “Froggy” Cross, who arrived from America, served as FOH engineer.

“We found some locations — both large and small — that were acoustically complicated, in England and Germany in particular, but this PA is very adaptable, from the most impressive stadium down to small venues,” Cross said. “The crew could use 12, 8 clusters, or even stacked systems. This is something big PAs aren’t able to do.

“My favorite set-up consists in 16+16 Butterfly Hi-Pack enclosures for the front and 12+12 Hi-Packs for the sides, 26 Subtechs, divided into 12+12 at the side and two stage center,” Cross added. “In larger venues, I add eight enclosures per side for delay purposes.”

“For the Doll Domination Tour, after rejecting the idea of a big PA, we looked for a medium powered system with the best possible quality and versatility.

“I tried a lot, but wasn’t satisfied,” Cross said. “To get a good sound, I often had to work a lot with the processors. Even if I got good coverage, I had to cope with poor mid-low frequencies due to a lack of air movement. Then we tried Outline, and I thought: ‘heck, I’m a fan of Italian cars — now I’m also a fan of their audio systems.’

“What further impressed me was the bottom end — in other words the Subtechs,” Cross said. “The majority of spectators don’t just want to see and hear the show.  They want to feel it. In Pop-Dance music like this, the bottom end is really important: there are low frequencies that in almost all the songs go from 60-65Hz to 40Hz and are very well defined. With a lot of subs used together, this part usually sounds very ‘slappy.’ The Subtechs, on the other hand, are absolutely full-bodied, precise and powerful.

“After the first concert with this rig, my partner, the lighting engineer, came over to me and said, ‘What have you done to the bass frequencies? Even my eyes were shaking.’

“I often understand if the system works by just looking at the crowd from my mixing platform,” Cross said. “If there’s a good impact and I see the punters bopping on the bleachers, I know the system works.

“Plus, on this tour and with the current economic situation, dimensions and weight are also important factors. We’ve got 11 trucks and the more we manage to reduce space occupied and load weight, the less we spend on truck rental and gas.”

The Doll Domination tour picks up again later this month in the U.S. before heading to Asia and Australia.

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