Urban Peace 3, Europe’s largest hip-hop and urban music event, was an all-NEXO affair. 60,000 fans packed into the Stade de France in Paris for 5 non-stop hours of live performance, headlined by IAM and Sexion D’Assaut. Sound rental provider Melpomen brought NEXO’s new STM Series line array systems into the national stadium for the first time, tying into the permanently-installed NEXO GEO S12 PA for extra coverage of the uppermost seating areas.
Urban Peace 3, which comes 5 years after Urban Peace 2, presented the cream of French rap music on the city’s largest and most prestigious stage. The line-up included Stromae, Orelsan, Chris Brown, Youssoupha and La Fouine, and the mix tent hosted some of the best sound engineers in France.
Sound design for the event was done by Thierry Tranchant of Melpomen, with measurement and tuning by Vladimir Coulibre, using 78 ‘sets’ in total for the system – NEXO defines a ‘set’ of STM as 1x M46 main, 1x B112 bass and 1x S118 sub, the main loudspeaker components of this unique modular line array. “STM handled the job easily,” said Coulibre; “as soon as the rigging was completed, I felt comfortable with the headroom and the dynamics. What I liked above all is that it is pretty much plug-and-play.”
- Main PA: 15x M46 and 15x B112 per side
- Side outfills: 9x M46 and 15x B112 per side
- First delay: 9x M46 and 15x B112 per side (60 metres from stage)
- Second delay: 6x M46 and 15x B112 per side (90 metres from stage)
Melpomen engineers devised a new configuration for the S118 subs which proved hugely effective in the massive Stade de France. Groups of 9x S118 subbass cabinets were groundstacked along the front of the stage, in each group 6 units facing forward and 3 facing back. This ‘hybrid’ cardioid configuration offers the same output as the omni-directional mode with a significant benefit. “The new cardioid pattern has given us a 16dB drop in volume behind the stage,” says Melpomen director Thierry Tranchant; “this two and one configuration has made the sound even tighter.”
“This is the largest of all the French STM shows so far; everyone’s been so happy at the way the system sounds which of course means less work for them, and the carry of the low-end is particularly beneficial when working with this type of music. Tuning went very smoothly. We have SPL limits of 105dBA with a 15-minute LEQ here in the Stade de France, but headroom remained very high, and we positioned the delays so that STM was able to work absolutely optimally.”
System techs Cedric Bernard and Alexandre Borel supervised an impressively calm FOH riser; engineers moved swiftly through, as the changeovers were handled with the minimum of fuss. “Although this is the largest STM show we have ever done – physically, it’s taken one-and-a-half days to put it all in, do the EQing, set the phases, and so on – it was very easy to tune, and everyone is very happy with the results,” reported Cedric Bernard. “All of the engineers have found it very easy to just turn up and mix on this system – no problems at all – and they have commented particularly on how beautiful the low-end is as well as the great clarity in the highs.”
Alexandre Borel continues, “this kind of urban music obviously requires a lot of low-end, but, because the system is so versatile, we didn’t have to tweak it any differently than we would for a pop/rock show. From an engineer’s perspective, less time is required to make adjustments on the console: for example, the engineer for headline act IAM only put in a hi-pass filter on his vocal channels; everything else was flat, which says a lot about STM.”
On stage, a selection of NEXO loudspeakers made up the monitoring system. Most of the performers were using IEMs, supplemented by PS15-R2 wedges and 16x 45°N-12 line monitors. Four of the 45°N-12s were presented as pairs, the other 12 were spaced across the stage in the layout preferred by rappers. A total of 48 x 45N12, and 22 PS15R2.
NEXO Concert Sound manager Stuart Kerrison summed up a very successful night for NEXO’s flagship line array technology. “The system sounded very natural and the guys set it up very well. The coverage in the Stade was way better than I thought it would be in a venue like this; when I walked into soundcheck, arriving from the back of the stadium, the sub was killing – I assumed subs were on all the delays, but of course they weren’t using any on the delays, it was very impressive!”