Known for creating sampled loops of guitar and vocal sounds during his songs, Ed Sheeran needed an audio system with the capacity to relay these effects without distortion, says production manager and front-of-house engineer Chris Marsh.
The two-year Divide tour, whose final dates included the UK’s Roundhay Park (cap. 80,000) in Leeds, Hungary’s Sziget Festival (80,500) and Iceland’s Laugardalsvöllur (15,000) in Reykjavik, used a LEO Family linear line array loud speaker by Meyer Sound, provided by UK-based Major Tom to create an “intimate” sound despite the large audiences.
“We started using LEO on the earlier arena tours before we got into stadiums, and the first thing that was really noticeable was headroom,” says Marsh. “It seemed like we never would run out of it. Also, the clarity and definition are exceptional. Ed’s looping has many layers to it, and sometimes other PAs just seemed to make noise.”
The system comprised four main hangs of 18 LEO line array loudspeakers, augmented on the low end by nine flown 1100-LFC low frequency control elements plus 24 1100-LFC elements on the ground. Stage front and fill systems were LINA and UPA-1P loudspeakers, while delays consisted of 14 MILO line array loudspeakers per hang, with LEOPARD speakers added when required.
“We were able to take Major Tom’s Meyer PA with us almost everywhere,” says Marsh. “We’ve taken it on and off airplanes a dozen times, in and out of ocean-going containers eight times, plus through torrential rain, heavy winds, and even sand pits.”