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A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor


Take That Circus trucksCulminating in four nights at Wembley Stadium at the beginning of July, Take That’s Circus tour was the biggest the UK and Ireland had ever seen, with over a million people attending 20 stadium concerts. And it proved a triumph in every way.
Now that it is over, Ian Colville, Technical Director of the tour’s audio provider, Capital Sound, is happy to report that the DiGiCo, XTA, Martin Audio combination they have been using since they started working with the band, has once again worked superbly.
“No one wanted to tempt fate by saying it while the tour was in progress, but everything worked perfectly,? smiles Colville. “Al and Gary set exceptionally high standards and, as far as I know, they didn’t get a single sound complaint. It was fantastic.?
The design for the audio system was a collaborative effort between Colville, Front of House engineer Gary Bradshaw and system technician Al woods.
“My primary role at Capital is to work with system techs and engineers and make sure they get exactly what they want – and that it works,? says Colville. “The basic sound system wasn’t that different from the band’s last stadium tour. It comprises four large hangs of PA on the stage and up to a maximum of four delay towers deployed on the stadium pitches, which is a fairly standard size package for this type of tour.?
Three DiGiCo D5s were utilised, one for Bradshaw at FOH, one for Steve Lutley at the monitor position and then a further D5 for support band monitors.
“The show started with the boys out on the B stage,? explains Colville. “Steve felt too cut off 50 metres away in his bunker so he decided to remotely control his D5 from the FOH mix tower for that section of the show.?
“An RC unit was networked to Steve’s D5 and everything was mirrored,? adds Woods. There were 56 separate inputs and a mini rack for each console, split passively. Gary used most of the internal effects on the console and kept things simple, which is his trademark.
“Once again, DiGiCo were fantastic to deal with,? confirms Martin Connolly, Project Manager for Capital. “The support we received was second to none.?
“We always use XTA for processing on this system,? Colville continues. “We tried the 4 Series for this tour and used them exclusively as crossovers for the delay towers and they worked exceptionally well, performing faultlessly.?
The PA comprised main hangs of Martin Audio Longbow, 56 in total, with 56 W8LC as delays.
“We decided to use a 12 cell horizontal sub bass array each side of the stage and electronically ‘bend’ it to produce the required dispersion,? recalls Colville. “This is something we haven’t done on this scale before and it worked very well. We used XTA DP226s to progressively delay the feed to the subs from the centre to the outside of the arrays. Considering we only had 24 subs on the stage, they produced tight, even coverage. Gary and Al were both very happy with the design and, for me, that’s good enough.?
A total of 16 XTA units were used. Four DP448s with 12 DP226s making up the full compliment, all networked via XTA’s proprietary AudioCore software.
“Using the Martin rig, with the versatility of the way Martin drives its system, you have a lot of control over zoning and it worked well,? says Woods. “We didn’t have production rehearsals and, although the system was all prepped beautifully, it came together in dribs and drabs and it was only in Sunderland [the first date of the tour] that we married everything up for the first time. That can bring to light connectivity problems. Any data runs over long cables can be susceptible to interference, however it proved not to be a problem.
“It was very challenging dealing with the amount of audience noise and reflections in the venues, but it all worked well and the feedback we got, including from the people running the venues, was very positive. In fact, during the four nights there, and with feedback from the customers, Wembley Stadium had no official audio complaints. The first time in it’s history!?

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