Montreal, December 12, 2019 – Embarking on their first ever all-stadium tour in 2019 the multiplatinum-selling industrial metal German band Rammstein, renowned for their epic stage shows, wanted the production values of their Europe Stadium Tour to fill the massive venues. So, who did they rely upon when adding video into their stage design for the first time ever? Solotech. And who did they trust for arguably the most important production element of any Rammstein tour, the audio package? SSE Audio, a Solotech company.
Coordinating with Stefan Mehnert of Rammstein’s management and Production Director Nicolai Sabottka, as well as the production’s design teams, Solotech and SSE Audio provided the needed audio and video gear and services to solve the challenges of touring to the many different stadiums in multiple countries. Solotech’s Holger Schader, Senior Consultant, Concert Touring and Special Events for the Live Productions division oversaw the account for Solotech and SSE Audio.
Rammstein’s Stadium Sound
The sold-out Europe Stadium Tour supported the release of the band’s seventh album, which is the first Rammstein studio album in a decade. Eager to hear the new tracks live for the first-time concertgoers were certainly not disappointed by Rammstein’s stunning show and the power, range, and clarity from the audio package delivered from SSE Audio.
The tour’s audio spec, put together by Rammstein´s longtime FOH Engineer Olsen Involtini and Systems Engineer Andreas Vater, called for L-Acoustics speakers and Avid VENUE control. Having both worked with Rammstein for such a long time, they knew exactly what was needed to make the band sound great in every stadium fully immersing the audience in the music.
Photo Credit : Jens Koch
SSE Audio being a well-stocked L-Acoustics house was well positioned to handle the large package. Assisting Vater was SSE Audio Crew Chief Nick Pain, and Audio Technician Nils Knecht, who oversaw the L-Acoustics’ Soundvision system and system alignment.
Solotech and SSE Audio were able to address the logistical challenges of putting together the stadium-sized audio system by thoroughly testing it prior to sending it to the tour for their prep and rehearsals. The tour had a warehouse in Berlin that afforded everyone the luxury of testing everything together before rehearsals.
The control system for FOH supplied by SSE consisted of two Avid VENUE S6L systems including two S6L-32D control surfaces; two Avid VENUE E6L-192 Engine for S6L; two Waves SoundGrid Server Extreme; and two Avid VENUE Stage 64 stage boxes. For the monitor system SSE Audio provided two S6L systems with matching components, which was similar to the FOH setup.
To accommodate the different sized stadiums, the audio rig could be expanded. In the bigger cities Production used up to four delay towers, and up to eight positions for roof delays with 12 L-Acoustics’ K2s to get rid of unwanted reflections.
The audio package’s full L-Acoustics speaker system delivered by Solotech and SSE Audio was comprised of 140 L-Acoustics K1 large format WST® (Wavefront Sculpture Technology) line source elements; 128 L-Acoustics K2 full range WST® line source elements; 40 L-Acoustics K1-SB flyable high-power subwoofers; 68 L-Acoustics KS28 high-power subwoofers; 16 L-Acoustics ARCS II constant curvature WST® line source elements; and 16 L-Acoustics KARA WST® system modular line source elements.
The line array rig included some rigging challenges which SSE Audio helped solve at the request of the production to improve the load-ins and -outs. Production wanted SSE Audio to keep the hoists for the main hangs on the floor. Technical consultant Jeremy Lloyd of Wonder Works and WIcreations, came up with a cage solution holding four hoists on the floor. Each hoist was capable of lifting 2.5 tons.
The rigging solution streamlined the audio load-in to four to six hours, depending on the production schedule and most of the load-outs took just two hours. SSE Audio sent out with the tour a crew of 10 technicians, led by Crew Chief Nick Pain.
“Quite frankly Rammstein was an amazing show and one of the best sounding stadium tours out this summer,” notes Schader.
Video Joins the Show
The production having decided to use video as part of the tour’s design, a video system consisting of a massive five-meter by nine-meter (16.4-feet by 29.52-feet) LED video screen, control, and camera package was specified by Designers Patrick Woodroffe and Roland Greil of Woodroffe Bassett Design. For this stadium tour the design team opted for a main screen, which was automated to go up and down on the massive center tower of the set.
Solotech provided 600 tiles of their proprietary nine-millimeter Solotech/Saco S9 LED modules, with Solotech/Saco Nano processing to create the centerpiece HD LED video screen, which was able to move 27-meters up and down the center scenic tower travelling at speeds of up to 0.4 meters per second. The automation was handled by entertainment engineering specialists WIcreations. Being a stadium tour, the screen was wind braced and guided along a set of vertical rails to allow an in-use wind loading of 15 meters-per-second.
To feed the content to the screen, the Solotech video crew deployed two disguise GX2 Pro media servers driven from MA Lighting grandMA2 light consoles along with a Barco ImagePRO Dual multi-format image processor/scaler. Solotech also supplied an extensive camera package, which consisted of two front of house cameras, two pit cameras, a camera track system, as well as a wireless remote camera in the package. The camera gear included four Grass Valley LDX86 HD studio cameras, two with Fujinon 99x lenses and two with Fujinon 23x lenses; Sachtler tripods; two Panasonic PTZ HD cameras and three Panasonic POV cameras; a Blackcam B10 robotic camera and track system; and a Marshall remote camera.
The video package also included a Solotech Flypack system centered around a Grass Valley Korona switching system, a Ross Video 32×32 SDI router along with Ross Video terminal gear and video control products from Brainstorm Electronics, DirectOut, and Tektronix. The Solotech video team on the tour consisted of three technicians led by Video Crew Chief, Steve Tomanek.
Though it was the first time the band took a video system on tour it likely won’t be the last time as it was well-received by audiences and the band itself.
Everybody on the Solotech and SSE Audio teams look forward to continuing to work with Rammstein on the wildly successful stadium tour. “With the size of this 2019 tour and the fact that it will be touring Europe again in 2020; they already have sold-out most dates for next spring and summer,” comments Schader. “I believe the production knew they wanted an international partner. Solotech and SSE Audio are able to offer that partnership globally. I feel we are ideally suited to really support the band’s vision and the production’s needs throughout the entire tour.”
Founded over 40 years ago, Solotech is a world leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology with 12 strategic locations in Canada, the United States and Europe. Thanks to an inventory encompassing over 300 renowned manufacturers, Solotech is the single source for audio, video, lighting, rigging, soft goods, control and collaboration solutions & services. The company is internationally recognized for its expertise in Live Productions and Systems Integration in various markets, namely music, sports, business, culture and education. Solotech employs 1,400 professionals in its offices located in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, Chicago, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City and Saguenay.
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Manager, Corporate Communications