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Kylie's Back on Top with Meyer Sound MILO
Australian pop icon Kylie Minogue has made a strong return to touring and performance after her courageous and public battle with breast cancer. The GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter's "Homecoming" tour has been winning rave reviews, including a recent series of seven sold-out dates at London's Wembley Arena.
Front-of-house engineer Christopher Pyne specified a multiple line array system featuring MILO high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers. The main arrays of 16 MILO cabinets per side were augmented by two side arrays of 16 MICA compact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers each and frontfill from 12 M'elodie ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers. The rig was driven by three LD-3 compensating line drivers.
As Pyne explains, the MILO array played a critical role in the Wembley venue. "A lot of people aren't aware that Wembley Arena was built as the swimming venue for the Olympics and British Empire Games (now the Commonwealth Games), shortly after World War II," he says. "Since it's protected under a heritage order and can't be structurally altered, the empty Olympic pool still lives beneath the stage, creating what amounts to an enormous drum. The room's low-end decay time can exceed five seconds." The arena has undergone some recent renovations, including acoustical treatment, mainly to absorb reflections in the midrange and high frequencies.
"Kylie's music is largely pop-dance oriented," Pyne continues, "so the low end is very prominent. In a venue like Wembley, in the end, you have to reach a tonal compromise to compensate for the characteristics of the venue. Luckily, the MILO is quite coherent and predictable to set up, so the overall image is very much in your face and easy to manage."
A show as big as Kylie's is hardly routine by any standards. The show's stage design incorporates a 40-foot stage thrust into the audience, which, notes Pyne, presents a challenge in achieving a strong, clean vocal with adequate gain before feedback. "The MILO's tight horizontal pattern, along with (design assistance from) MAPP Online Pro (acoustical prediction) software, was really key to steering energy away from the problem areas."