AVB Protocol Powers Sound of Arcade Fire Infinite Content Tour

Published: November 10, 2017

Following the release of album Everything Now, the Canadian band Arcade Fire have just concluded a two-month run of North America dates for its Infinite Content Tour. The second leg of its tour, however, will utilize an A/V system backboned by Audio Video Bridging (AVB protocol).

Using a system provided by the North American certified L-Acoustics provider Solotech and with support from the German company Black Box Music, the tour will feature a total of 92 AVB Protocol-equipped L-Acoustics LA12X amplified controllers, 48 K1 and 80 K2 loudspeakers, 56 KS28 subwoofers, eight ARCS Wide, and eight X8 coaxials,

Redundant Meyer Sound Galaxy units will handle the system’s processing, with one unit driving the analog lines over copper to serve as a fallback system.

“It is exciting to see the power of the AVB protocol bring together this magnitude of devices into one reliable, flexible, yet massive touring rig for Arcade Fire,” says Patrick Prothe, segment chair, Avnu Alliance Pro AV.

“We’re thrilled to have members putting their certified products to work in the field. Having L-Acoustics and Meyer Sound equipment working together in the same setup via AVB is a testament to Avnu certification.”

Infinite Content Tour Benefits from AVB Protocol & L-Acoustics

Before implementing a system backboned by AVB, David Brazeau, senior project manager, Solotech, notes the company tested the protocol to validate its performance.

“We conducted some A/B testing here in the warehouse with L-Acoustics last year and discovered that AVB brought a sonic advantage,” he says. “It brought better translation from analog to digital, so we wanted to offer that to our client.”

Marc-Olivier Germain, owner of Meduse Audio Inc., the system designer, says that utilizing the AVB protocol provides a number of advantages in addition to the sound quality it delivers.

“I used to drive the amps with AES and would usually have a network just to do the remote control,” explains Germain. [related]

“By using AVB, I eliminated one of the two XLR connections on the amplifiers, so there’s less patching and less material to carry around … I’m also using a little MOTU AVB USB soundcard device at my front of house rack so I can grab AVB streams from my Galaxy to look at the EQ curves in real time in Smaart.”

The system design for this tour utilizes 12 K1s over four K2s flown at each corner of the 25-foot by 25-foot stage above a four-sided video wall.

Germain’s design calls for a tower of eight KS28s angled at 45 degrees behind the K1/K2 main hang, with the two middle subs reversed using the cardioid preset.

Augmenting the subwoofer hang, there are 16 K2s facing the sides to provide coverage into the corners of the tour-stop’s venues. Supplementing the flown low-end cabinets, there are two stacks of three KS28 subs set up in a cardioid configuration located on the ground at each corner of the stage.

Other components of the system include X8 coaxial cabinets that serve as front fills and 20 LA12X amplified controllers flown per corner.

Germain adds that Jim Warren, front of house (FOH) engineer for Arcade Fire and Radiohead, has been a long-time proponent of L-Acoustics, and after experiencing the benefits of AVB, he now understands why the use of the protocol is gaining momentum.

“I’ve been working with him [Warren] for three or four years and it’s always been our go-to, and I was using L-Acoustics before that. I always enjoy the quality, definition, and the top end. Plus, having the opportunity to change the patterns with boxes like the K2 makes it easy to adapt the coverage for different venues,” comments Germain.

“AVB’s flawless performance on the Infinite Content Tour more than proves that it is an extremely solid solution for concert sound. It’s a radical improvement in terms of deployment and it sounds amazing with the K1/K2.”

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