LEO is an incredibly open-sounding rig. Although Ed performs solo with acoustic guitar, the harmonies he builds with his loop pedal can be deep and complex, and no other system has handled them as well. I hear every part in the harmonies with superb separation, and the vocal sits effortlessly on top of the mix.”
Chris MarshFOH Engineer and Production Manager, Ed Sheeran
This fall, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran headlined three solo acoustic shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Performing to an arena of screaming fans, Sheeran and his acoustic guitar were supported by a powerful and transparent Meyer Sound LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system that kept the shows intimate, despite the arena’s size.
According to Chris Marsh, Sheeran’s FOH engineer and production manager, it was important to maintain a personal connection between Sheeran and his legion of adoring fans. “That feeling of immediate presence is crucial,” he says. “It helps everybody feel that Ed is up close playing an intimate show, despite that fact that he may be 80 meters away. With LEO, we’ve managed to make the transition from clubs and small theatres into arenas without losing that sense of closeness.”
Provided by UK-based Major Tom Ltd., the LEO system was built around dual main hangs of 12 LEO-M line array loudspeakers and four MICA line array loudspeakers. Side hangs were comprised of 16-each MILO line array loudspeakers, while six UPA-1P loudspeakers provided fill. Ten 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements were flown in cardioid arrays using MAS-1100 array spacers, with an additional six 1100-LFC loudspeakers stacked on the ground. The onstage mix was fed to Sheeran with six MJF-212A stage monitors and four 600-HP subwoofers. A Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system featuring two Galileo Callisto 616 array processors and two Galileo 616 processors supplied drive and optimization for both FOH and stage systems.
“LEO is an incredibly open-sounding rig,” says Marsh. “Although Ed performs solo with acoustic guitar, the harmonies he builds with his loop pedal can be deep and complex, and no other system has handled them as well. I hear every part in the harmonies with superb separation, and the vocal sits effortlessly on top of the mix.”
LEO was chosen for the New York shows based on prior experience in Ireland. “We had done five arena shows with LEO in Dublin and Belfast,” Marsh recalls. “In a production meeting with Ed and his management, we all agreed those were the best-sounding shows we’d done in two years. Basically, Ed said, ‘I want the sound system from Ireland for New York.'”
Marsh mixed the New York shows with a DiGiCo SD11 console, while a Sennheiser 2000 Series wireless system with an 865 capsule was used for Sheeran’s vocal. The pickup in his Martin LXE1 acoustic guitar was connected via an Avalon U5 direct box.
Sheeran’s New York run featured special guests Snow Patrol for the first show, and Taylor Swift for the second show.