Ed Sheeran played three acoustic shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden recently, where he was backed by a Meyer Sound LEO system.
Supplied by UK-based Major Tom, the LEO set-up featured dual main hangs of 12 LEO-M line array loudspeakers and four MICA units. Side hangs consisted of 16-each MILO speakers, while six UPA-1P loudspeakers offered fill. Ten 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements were flown in cardioid arrays using MAS-1100 array spacers, and an additional six 1100-LFC loudspeakers were stacked on the ground.
The onstage mix was fed to Sheeran via six MJF-212A stage monitors and four 600-HP subs. A Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system, comprising two Galileo Callisto 616 array processors and two Galileo 616 processors, supplied drive and optimisation for both the front-of-house and stage systems.
According to Chris Marsh, Sheeran’s front-of-house engineer and production manager, the plan was to use the system to maintain a personal connection between Sheeran and the audience. “That feeling of immediate presence is crucial,” he said. “It helps everybody feel that Ed is up close playing an intimate show, despite that fact that he may be 80 metres away. With LEO, we’ve managed to make the transition from clubs and small theatres into arenas without losing that sense of closeness.”
“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.”
The Meyer Sound solution was selected for the NYC gigs following a successful run in Ireland. “We had done five arena shows with LEO in Dublin and Belfast,” Marsh commented. “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 Madison Square Garden shows on a Digico SD11 console, while a Sennheiser 2000 Series wireless system with 865 capsule was chosen for Sheeran’s vocals. The pickup in the singer's Martin LXE1 acoustic guitar was connected through an Avalon U5 direct box.
Sheeran was supported by Snow Patrol for the first concert, and Taylor Swift for the second.
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