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MILO and Masque Sound Bring Out the Best on Celtic Woman US Tour
Celtic Woman's success is a fairy tale in today's music industry. With their soaring spectrum of music genres ranging from symphonic to a cappella and Irish folk to pop, the five female artists took the number one spot on Billboard's World Music chart for an unprecedented 81 weeks with their 2005 debut album, which only ceded the position to its follow-up, A Christmas Celebration. The group's latest release, A New Journey, spent an even more impressive 95 weeks at the top of the chart. On their recent US tour, Celtic Woman performed their best-loved tunes in an assortment of venues through a Meyer Sound system of MILO high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers, supplied by Masque Sound of East Rutherford, NJ.
"We are in different venues each night. Some are intimate, and others are very big," explains FOH engineer Wayne Pauley. "So the PA setup could be different every night as well. It's almost like 28 different five-minute shows and five or six musical genres in the space of two hours. It's very demanding on the sound system, and it's made me even more of a fan of the MILO."
The main system, 20 MILOs and four MILO 120 high-power expanded coverage curvilinear array loudspeakers, are reconfigured to adapt to each venue's conditions. "We basically have to determine the character of each room and do the best we can to adapt to that," says Pauley. "Tom Stegemann, our systems tech, gets in first and sizes things up with MAPP Online Pro. We might hang two MILO arrays one night, do a ground stack the next, or a combination of both. Every show is literally like a one-day install."
MILO helps Pauley solve a major challenge in the smaller venues. "Our biggest hurdle most days is finding enough rigging points to get the PA where it needs to be," explains Pauley. "Arenas aren't so bad, but in many of the theaters you're somewhat restricted, since the rigging points are in more traditional locations alongside the proscenium. At any given time I've got as many as 13 omni wireless headset mics on stage, and it's a challenge to get the PA far enough out front. The MILO's tight focus really helps."
The system also includes two side hangs of four MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers each, as well as ten UPM-1P ultracompact wide coverage loudspeakers for front fill, and four CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeakers for infills. A Galileo loudspeaker management system utilizing two Galileo 616 units is used to provide DSP signal control for the system.
"We've got a great team of guys, and that really helps make it a lot less challenging," adds Pauley. That team also includes monitor engineer Gordon Adams, RF tech Jason Dallin, A2 Jason McCarrick, and production manager Scotty Ross, as well as Masque Sound's production coordinator Mitchell Keller, systems coordinator Lorne Grabe, and systems designer and executive director Lucas Corrubia.
Pauley admits that mixing on a MILO system is particularly enjoyable. "I'm surprised and impressed every time with how well MILO can help pick out even the most minute aspects of the mix, even at the back wall," says Pauley. "I can't recall ever having a situation where everything is this articulate; it's like mixing a record every night."