Fantasy has serviced more than twenty TOTM concerts for the ski resort of Ischgl in the Tyrol, and has been deploying NEXO STM Series systems for the last five years. The company has just made a major investment in the STM M28 ‘Omni’ modules, and this was the first appearance for the new cabinets in a starring role on the mountaintop.
Hannes Knapp, technical director of Fantasy, explains that “we’ve just invested in the new STM M28 compact module, an ‘omni’ element which can be used as a downfill with the M46 modules or as the main cabinet in the arrays with B112 bass cabinets. It has a huge amount of headroom, unbelievable really; the clarity and precision of every single instrument is phenomenal, even at 70-plus meters.”
With the input of STM specialist Norbert Bund, and Val Gilbert from NEXO’s Engineering Support Team, a radical system configuration was designed for MUSE and their front-of-house engineer Marc Carolan, maximising the modular versatility of the STM Series to meet the band’s LF requirements. A single line of 18x M28 cabinets was bracketed by 9x B112 bass cabinets, creating a 3-wide array.
- 18x M28 ‘omni’ modules per side
- 18x B112 bass modules per side
- 48x S118 subs, flown and groundstacked
- 9x M28 modules per side for delay system
“When NEXO first released the STM Series, we offered the rigging options to present the system 3-wide,” explains Val Gilbert, “however, few customers have deployed that design with the large M46 main cabinet, and Fantasy is the first to do it with the new M28. Our original design for Ischgl was a line of M28 and a line of B112, but rigging restrictions meant that we had to spread the weight of the arrays. Rigging limitations vary, depending on the density of the snow, and they are very strict. The modular nature of STM enabled us to break the system into 3 lines, which could be done without compromising acoustical performance. The atmospheric conditions are the hardest anywhere, and the M28 performed with distinction.”
With another 9x M28 cabinets per side acting as delays for the system (at 60 meters), and 48x STM S118 subs flown and groundstacked, this compact line array system was easily able to handle the audience of 14,000, spread over a considerable listening field, and the expectations of one of the biggest rock bands in the world.
“It’s a magical little box,” says Hannes Knapp. “It has the light weight and flexibility for our smaller shows, yet, using the same components, we can assemble a system for a MUSE concert. It is easy to handle, totally versatile, and can deliver for more than 20,000 people – you can do everything with this tiny little system.”
There are complex logistical issues for the Top of the Mountain concert. “We’re well within the snowfields and there is no flat surface at all so it is difficult to transport heavy equipment there,” explains Knapp. “We need simple and easy-handling dollies and covers so we can load-in or strike quickly. All stage construction is directly on 3 to 5 meters, built on snow with no concrete beneath, so we need lightweight cabinets – another reason for choosing NEXO’s M28.
Norbert Bund joins in. “Rigging is all-important. We have to move very fast because we may not always have good weather, and there are obvious difficulties of access for the vehicles. But the STM rigging is extremely flexible, allowing us to change the configuration as we did for Muse from a standard 2-line array to the 3-wide system that was compatible with the rigging point load factor. No other system would have given us such possibilities.”
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