Aero Shines in Mendoza

More than 25.000 people attended the amphitheater where they enjoyed a spectacular show


Music was, without a doubt, the star of the National Grape Harvest Festival celebrated recently in Mendoza (Argentina). Colorful street parades and an impressive show of colors, lights and movement at the Frank Romero Day Theater became part of an unforgettable celebration. Approximately 67.000 tourists, many of which were foreign, celebrated the 2008 edition of the National Grape Harvest Festival. More than 25.000 people attended the amphitheater where they enjoyed a spectacular light and dance show, live music and the crowning of the new queen of the festival.

The Greek theater offered the musical performance "Nacida del río y de la tierra" (Born of the river and the earth) which was directed by Alejandro Conte and based on a script written by Nora Meineri. In addition, this was the first time that the music for this event was not in play back, so a high performance P.A. system was needed to guarantee the success of the show. For this reason Mendoza based "Merino Producciones Técnicas" was contracted to handle the sound reinforcement for the 2008 edition of the festival. Directed by the sound engineer Carlos Merino, the company proposed new, innovative ideas in order to provide the show with a top quality sound reinforcement system. The objectives were sound uniformity, acoustic intelligibility and high sound pressure.

The P.A. system supplied by the firm consisted of 32 Aero 38A powered line array systems. Sixteen units flown per side of the stage, four of which were used for down-fill, coupled with 16 Aero 28A systems, eight per side of the stage for out-fill, provided topnotch sound to one of the most anticipated events of the season. "Merino Producciones" chose eight Aero 218 Sub subwoofers stacked in the center plus 16 Aero 218 Sub in a right-left configuration. Front-fill coverage of the first rows was handled with eight 38A systems. The P.A. system configuration was designed with the main stage in mind. Carlos Merino comments, "The main stage is a semicircle with a 180 meter diameter and a 93 meter radius from the P.A line. Concentrically situated within the semicircle is a fountain with a 70 meter diameter and 16 meter radius from the P.A. line. This caused many inconveniences as there were front rows that were too close to the right and left clusters, and because of the fountain, other rows were 16 meters away between the two clusters. The front rows were at 0 meters and the last rows were at a height of 20 meters. To reach the goals, I used 12 audio outputs: Left P.A., right P.A., left center, right center, left out-fill, right out-fill, left down-fill, right down-fill and four outputs for the subwoofers which were placed in groups of eight, and covered the entire 84 meters of the stage proscenium."

Exceptionally uniform sound coverage throughout the entire performance area for artists and musicians was provided by the Stage Monitor series. A total of six SML-12 and six SML-15 enclosures were used, and controlled by a Yamaha M7CL console.

Regarding the P.A Merino comments: "The next step was to setup the central system which would cover the front rows that were in a semicircle surrounding the fountain. Due to the distance, I decided to use the Aero 38 because they gave me a narrower horizontal angle than the Aero 28 as well as more power. Later we arranged the out-fills in different configurations, primarily because each coverage area was different. I believe that one of the most important factors was the positioning of the subwoofers. Putting them in line but with a virtual arc, we achieved uniform dispersion, and with the number of units we had, we didn´t lose pressure.

Also, what really helped -at the time I spoke about it with Ramón Franco, D.A.S. engineer- was to lower the crossover frequency of the Aero 38A down to 60 Hz and project those frequencies up into the last rows thanks to the height of the P.A. line." After the show, Carlos Merino concluded: "The systems performed incredibly well, they were stable and distortion free. I must mention Emiliano's work with the console because it was crucial in maintaining the dynamic range of the instruments throughout the entire show, obtaining fantastic nuances that made my work stand out. The objectives were fully achieved thanks to the Dolby Lake 412 , to the placement of the bumper at an 18 meter height and to the almost two days of trying different angles with Ease to fine tune the coverage."

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