Norwegian Idol, Norway’s version of the international Idols musical reality TV show, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a televised final at the Oslo Spektrum before a crowd of 7,000. As in previous years, sound for the event was being handled by local rental company Frontlite, but this year saw the first-ever use of a new NEXO STM system, which arrived in the country just days before the event. This was also the first STM sale for Norwegian NEXO distributor, BRIGHT.
Frontlite’s PA system and FOH technician Sondre Sandhaug had a weekend to get to grips with STM, its rigging software and amplifiers before the event, when the system had to be loaded in, rigged and line checked in one day.
“We had 111x NEXO speakers up in the air, but even though it was the first time with the new system, STM proved to us that it’s efficient and easy to rig,” says Sandhaug. “It really is an excellent system, and went up in the air so quickly. I’ve been a GEO T user for years now, and I love it, but I have to say that STM puts it in the shade, which says a lot! I’ve done almost 300 gigs with GEO T so it’s easy for me to rig, but I can see that STM has the same ease of rigging, probably better, once I get used to it.”
Frontlite utilised most of its new STM system – 24x M46 main and 24x B112 bass cabinets, with NUAR amplification racks – and supplemented with NEXO GEO T speakers and CD18 sub bass units.
“We haven’t taken delivery of our STM S118 subs yet, so we used the CD18s,” says Sandhaug. “It worked really well with our existing boxes, though I’m really looking forward to getting the subs. The CD18s are big cabinets and I’m anticipating getting even more volume from the S118s. Using custom setups on the amplifiers, there was absolutely no problem using STM together with the CD18s and GEO T cabinets.”
Not only was this Frontlite’s first use of STM, the show was being staged ‘in the round’. The company rose to the challenge, designing a main system of two hangs of 12x M46s and 12x B112 basses per side, with two further hangs of 14x GEO T 4805s and 2x T2815s as outfills on each side and two more hangs of 9x T4805s and 2x T2815s as a right/left system at the back of the stage. The CD18s were flown in three hangs of three, with a further eight ground stacked beneath the stage. Bringing the NEXO box count to 127, 8x PS15RS speakers were used as frontfills.
As the show was being televised it was crucial that the PA system didn’t dominate sightlines, and here STM also came into its own. “It was a difficult gig but the trim was pretty high, so the system was all hidden up in the air,” says Sandhaug.
“The height of the lower cabinets was around 9m; with other systems I would have had to have more boxes and a longer array to provide the same SPLs. The coverage throughout the theatre was excellent, so much so that I was really quite surprised. And the sound characteristics of NEXO’s STM and GEO T systems matched very well. We got a really good result, the front of house engineer was happy and we got really good feedback about the new system from everyone involved.”
Sandhaug is now excited about getting STM out on a variety of summer events. “After just one concert, I can see that NEXO’s claims of STM’s flexibility and scalability are well founded,” he says. “It features the sound characteristics which I’ve come to love and appreciate with NEXO, and this will make it easy to use with our existing inventory. And we’re making a large and a small amp rack that will allow us to use every single STM box we have, with our other NEXO boxes as fills. This will give us unprecedented flexibility, and is another great aspect of the whole package.”