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Journey FOH Engineer on Meyer Sound LEO and LYON: “Music-In Translates to Music-Out”

Rock legends Journey and the Steve Miller Band are touring North America this summer with the Meyer Sound LEO™ Family of products, including the compact LYON™ linear line array loudspeakers launched this year. The equipment choice for the 40-city tour was driven in large part by Journey’s FOH engineer Jim Yakabuski, a former mixer for Avril Lavigne, Van Halen, and Matchbox Twenty. Tower of Power opens the show.

Yakabuski is especially impressed with the linear reproduction of the Meyer Sound system. “With LEO, I find that music-in translates to music-out,” he explains. “The tonality I heard from studio monitors during rehearsals is what I heard when I cranked up the full LEO system. What I find with other systems is a ‘coloring’ of the sound. You often have to adjust your system EQ or even your mixing style to compensate for the tonal quirks of the PA.”

Provided by VER Tour Sound, the system is based around dual main hangs of 12-each LEO-M line array loudspeakers with four LYON loudspeakers under each hang for down fill. Outfill hangs are 10 LYON loudspeakers each, while four MINA™ line array loudspeakers and four JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers are used for front fill. To maximize low-end impact for the audience and minimize undesired spill for the musicians on stage, dual flown cardioid arrays of nine-each 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements are supplemented by two cardioid ground stacks of three 1100-LFC loudspeakers each.

A Galileo® Callisto™ loudspeaker management system with six Galileo Callisto 616 and two Galileo Callisto 616 AES array processors supplies system delay and optimization. The system was designed by Yakabuski and VER’s Greg Mahler, who is system tech for the tour. Rob Kern is production manager.

“Journey’s music can get very busy in the midrange, and in some amphitheatres it can be hard to keep any space in the mix,” says Yakabuski. “With LEO’s amazing accuracy and clarity, I can create space that has a chance of making it through any muck the venue creates. It’s stunning how crystal clear the system sounds in outdoor venues.”

Although most shows take place outdoors, the tour has also included two arena shows. “It was a treat to hear this PA and Journey in my favorite concert conditions—arena rock,” continues Yakabuski. “The LEO system shines in arenas, with the top seats every bit as sonically pure as at the FOH position.”

Yakabuski mixes Journey on a DiGiCo SD5 digital console. The touring package also includes Sennheiser IEM systems and Shure UHF-R wireless microphone systems.

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