Two of the biggest acts in music today, Drake and Migos, toured North America throughout the second half of 2018 on the highly-anticipated Aubrey and the Three Migos co-headlining run. Of course, a massive tour with a pair of massive headliners calls for a massive production, and neither Drake nor Migos rose to the top of the game by disappointing their fans.
Boxing ring-style stage
The trek boasted a sizeable boxing ring-style stage covered entirely in LED video panels that displayed some truly spectacular custom content. To ensure that the sonic experience was of the same calibre, the tour featured a substantial 360-degree audio system comprised of over 250 cabinets from Adamson Systems Engineering’s flagship E-Series and S-Series, all sourced through Cleveland, Ohio’s Eighth Day Sound.
“I love it,” says Drake’s FOH engineer, Demetrius Moore, about the Adamson system under his control. “The high-end is very natural, crisp, and clean, and you really can’t ask for a better low end.
It sounds big, it sounds powerful, but it doesn’t hurt, and that’s always the goal – a big, clean sound that’s not just there to blow people away with everything in the red.”
Moore consulted with Adamson’s Director of R&D, Benoit Cabot, and Product Manager and Senior Applications Engineer, Brian Fraser, plus Eighth Day system tech Chris Fischer to develop an initial system design.
The final configuration featured: four main hangs of 18 E15 three-way, true line source enclosures firing behind the goal ends of the arena floor; four side hangs of 12 S10 two-way, full range cabinets below four S10ns, which boast the same specs as the S10 save for a narrower dispersion of 80 x 10 degrees instead of 110 x 10; and four 270-degree hangs featuring 15 E15s atop four S10s. Only 10 Adamson IS7p point-source front fills were required for any given date thanks to the arrays’ extensive coverage.
Because the stage is comprised entirely of video panels, the system needed to be as unobtrusive as possible. That informed the decision to fly the E119 subs in eight hangs of nine cabinets.
“We’re on a tour – a hip-hop tour – with no subs on the ground. That’s pretty much unheard of,” says the man who’s also mixed genre staples Lil Wayne and Nikki Minaj from FOH. “Whether you’re standing front-row or up at the back, you’re getting nice, clean, but still high-impact bass.
With any other system, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we’re doing with all of the subs in the air. Other brands have subs you can fly, but here, the subs I’d be using on the ground, we’ve got in the air, and they go up without issue. You couldn’t do that with another system at this level.”
The sheer number of cabinets going into the air makes Fischer particularly glad that they’re using Adamson. “It’s a nice-sounding system, and the rigging is just incredible – it goes up and comes down so easily,” he says. “It’s just one move and the cart’s off.” He’s also getting good mileage out of the company’s Blueprint AV system design and simulation software. “I think Blueprint is much easier to use than other programs I’ve had in the past when it comes to analyzing the room and fine-tuning the system deployment.”
The reviews throughout the run have been stellar, but more importantly, the social media buzz from ticketholders was beyond reproach, and it was fairly common for the crowd noise to hit 110dB at FOH in anticipation of the show. “The crowd is really into it every night, and they’re getting loud,” Moore said near the end of the tour. “We know who and what they’re there to see, and we’re just making sure that the show sounds as good as it possibly can to deliver that experience.”
Text by Adamson. Photo by Theo Skudra.