Hip hop legends Outkast recently completed their summer tour with three sellout hometown shows in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Dubbed "#ATLast," the 20,000-plus crowds were supported by a Meyer Sound LEO linear large-scale reinforcement system as specified by FOH engineer Darcy Khan.
"The first time I'd mixed with LEO was earlier this summer at the Montreux Jazz Festival," says Khan. "I loved the way it sounded. It was astonishingly clear, with no phasing issues, and I could walk from the stage all the way to the back and hear a nice, even wall of sound. A few weeks later, I mixed on another LEO system at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal, where I experienced the system's long-throw power. That sold me. I knew I wanted a LEO rig for Atlanta."
Supplied by VER Tour Sound, the Atlanta system deployed main arrays of 14-each LEO-M and side arrays of eight-each LYON linear line array loudspeakers. Three delay towers comprised eight MICA line array loudspeakers each, while 12 MINA loudspeakers provided front fill. Low end was supplied by 12 flown and 18 ground-stacked 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements. A Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with three Galileo Callisto 616 and three Galileo Callisto 616 AES array processors provided system drive and optimization.
According to Khan, the linear characteristics of LEO helped him to maintain sonic consistency despite the extreme dynamics of Outkast's sound. "Even if you spend all day tuning the PA, when the show starts, the crowd gets going, and you push it up to 110 dB SPL, many PA systems start to change," he points out. "So I'm constantly fighting the mix, and that's frustrating. But with LEO, I always hear the same qualities in the mix, whether during a soft part or going full on. It's always even, so I can just mix and not worry about the system."
Khan was also impressed by the musicality of the 1100-LFC loudspeakers. "I like to feel the low end, but I also want to hear the unique sound of the instruments, like the Roland TR-808 drum machine. With the 1100-LFC, I can hear that tonality all the way down to 30 or 40 Hz."
Representing VER on-site were project manager Kyle Shepherd and system engineers Erik Rogers and Chad Fuller. Logistics were orchestrated by VER Tour Sound's Ralph Mastrangelo and Chance Stahlhut.
Khan mixed Outkast on a DiGiCo SD10 digital console while the band used Shure UHF-R wireless microphone systems, with Antwan "Big Boi" Patton on a Sennheiser SKM 5200 wireless microphone. Monitors were mixed on a DiGiCo SD5 digital console, with the band using Shure PSM 1000 IEM systems.
Outkast have won six Grammy Awards and sold over 25 million albums. The "#ATLast" event was their first concert appearance in Atlanta in more than a decade.