Into Arenas with Niall Horan

Live ProductionsAudio

Solotech has supplied a d&b audiotechnik system for Niall Horan’s UK and European arena dates, the European leg of the artist’s ‘The Show’ world tour.

Niall Horan first achieved success as a member of boy band One Direction. Following the band’s hiatus in 2016, Horan has gone on to forge a career as a solo artist. The solo project has gone from strength to strength with the latest album ‘The Show’ achieving number 1 in the UK and number 2 in the US.

Such was the reaction to The Show’s release, the Niall Horan team opted for Arenas across the EU and UK for the live performances. A long-standing relationship dating back to One Direction meant Solotech was the obvious choice as audio supplier.

d&b audiotechnik SL System

Senior Hire Manager Tom Bush specified a d&b audiotechnik SL system for the tour that kicked off in Belfast, taking in ten UK and Ireland dates before heading out into Europe.

Main hangs of up to 18 x GSL per side were flown left and right with side hangs of KSL ensuring even coverage to the sides of the arenas. Such was the popularity of the tour that at some venues a 270-degree footprint was required, with additional d&b V-Series brought in for the purpose. d&b Y7P and Y10P were deployed across the stage apron as infill, ensuring constant sound pressure levels throughout the venue.

Low frequency reinforcement was via a combination of flown and ground stacked SL subs. At 45 degrees to the stage 6 x SL subs per side were  flown between the main and side hangs, with GSL subs ground stacked in front of the stage. System tech Craig Burns explained, “Niall Horan likes to keep bass on stage to a minimum and really likes to avoid the kick you’d get off a ground stacked sub array. Therefore we’ve elected to fly the majority of the subs to ensure more directivity to the audience and reduced LF on stage.”

Mixing Pop Bands

Mark Littlewood has been FOH engineer for Niall Horan since the artist first started touring as a solo act. Mark has an impressive CV, having worked with Westlife, One Direction, Little Mix and many more. “Somewhere along the way I got a reputation as the bloke who can mix pop bands, and here I am 20 years later.”

“One of the biggest challenges can be that pop artists are very much a visual experience, with audio not being the number one priority when it comes to show design. Therefore you can end up with speaker arrays that are not in their optimal position so you’re having to work that much harder to get a good mix to every seat.”

“Many of the shows opt for music playback off Pro Tools or similar, but with Niall Horan it’s been great to work with a live band.”

DiGiCo Consoles

Mark Littlewood opted for a DiGiCo Quantum 5 console at FOH while Mons engineer Dan Kent had a Quantum 7 for the bands individual monitor mixes via 18 channels of Shure PSM1000.

Solotech PM Tom Bush was delighted with how the tour had gone. ‘It was great to continue a relationship that started with One Direction. It was our pleasure to work with  Ant Carr, Andy Colby, and the rest of the Niall Horan production team.”

Following the UK and European dates, the Niall Horan ‘The Show” tour has moved on to Australasia before heading for North America where Solotech will once again be the audio supplier.