EAW KF740 Line Array Relays Rugby World Cup Semi-Final to Cardiff Millenium Stadium

ABacoustics hail success of ‘on the fly’ production at largest ever event

More than 61,000 people turned up to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium recently to watch the free live streaming of Wales v France in the Rugby World Cup 2011 Semi Final from New Zealand.

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This required a hasty sound reinforcement infrastructure to be constructed inside the Stadium for the commentary and live performances, including an EAW KF740 line array speaker system and three big screens.

For Huw ‘Buz’ Evans and Rob Ashton from Welsh sound rental company ABacoustics, it might have seemed something of a poisoned chalice as they accepted the challenge from local production company Orchard Media & Events Group to rig their EAW PA — and deliver the same outstanding performance from the KF740 system as they had achieved when the two companies last worked together on ‘Ponty’s Big Weekend’ in Pontypridd.

For whilst this would be the biggest production the company had ever undertaken they were given just four days’ notice — and they knew that sound curfews and restricted set up time caused by the presence of television crews carrying out pre-match day presentation would dramatically reduce the customary set-up and prep time.

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However, Rob Ashton had worked out the configurations for the KF740 back in the office to optimise coverage. As Huw put it, “The thing that really impressed me was that despite the compromises, Rob managed to hang the system, play one track, carry out a few ‘one-twos’ and we were sound-checking.”

Initially a crowd of only 25,000 had been expected, but as interest grew so ABacoustics had to adapt and undertake different plots. “I had my doubts about whether the KF740 system would carry — but it just sounded fantastic,” said Huw. “It had both the throw and the coverage and we didn’t need to use the house system at all.”

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Aside from relaying the match commentary ABacoustics provided sound reinforcement for the singing of the Welsh National Anthem (by Only Men Aloud and Sophie Evans) and for local rock band 4th Street Traffic.

There was further live entertainment during the interval — and it would have continued after the game, had Wales won. But they cruelly lost the match by a single point.

The PA itself consisted of two main hangs of 12 x KF740’s per side, suspended from 15m ‘V’ Towers, supplied by Star Hire. The outfills, ground stacked on risers, consisted of six of the smaller EAW KF730 enclosures plus two SB730 subs each side.

Performing front fill duties at the edge of stage, were a pair of KF695 while the main subs were arranged in two ground stacks of eight EAW 2 x 18” SB1000’s per side.

The rig was powered by Lab Gruppen and optimised using EAW’s dedicated UX8800 4-in/8-out digital system processor — which Huw Evans describes as a fantastic asset.

Afterwards he said he had been delighted with the performance (as were Orchard). “This was all due to Rob’s design being so well set up in advance,” he stated.

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ABacoustics later fielded a second system at the same venue for the third position playoffs on October 21, providing a mix system for the commentary of the game against Australia — which Wales again lost. This time the rig comprised nine KF740 and three KF730 per side, along with 16 SB1000’s for the match commentary, which was relayed to a crowd of around 15,000.

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