For three evenings in July, 45,000-plus fervent fans gathered at the Lollapalooza festival's Bud Light Stage to hear some of the world's top musical acts, including Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne, Avicii, Justice, and Franz Ferdinand. To deliver their music with full impact across the 7.5-acre grassy quadrangle, Thunder Audio of Livonia, Mich. assembled a massive sound reinforcement system built around 76 Meyer Sound MILO line array loudspeakers.
"The MILO system sounded phenomenal, as it always does," comments Thunder's Gregory Snyder, who served as system designer and project manager for the event. "The FOH mixers for every act were amazed with how smooth and coherent the system was, regardless of levels."
Anchoring the sound at the stage were dual main hangs of 18 per side MILO loudspeakers, supplemented by outfills of eight MILO loudspeakers each. Low end pumped through 36 700-HP subwoofers while MILO 120, MICA, and M'elodie line array loudspeakers provided, respectively, front, front-out, and center downfill. Eight MILO loudspeakers were hoisted atop each of three delay towers, and the entire system was governed by a Galileo loudspeaker management system with four Galileo 616 processors.
The Meyer Sound rig—along with everyone in attendance—received a thorough drenching from a fierce Saturday afternoon thunderstorm, forcing cancellation of one act at the stage. All other acts performed as scheduled, and to overwhelming audience response.
"They all sounded great, but to be honest I thought Black Sabbath with Ozzy was beyond amazing," recounts Snyder. "Considering the volumes they were playing, the stereo imaging and clarity were astonishing. It never sounded overdriven."
With Florence + The Machine, Snyder was impressed by "the precise separation of the instruments and the way her voice fell into the mix." And with the French DJ duo Justice, he noted how the low end was "punchy and yet smooth, with none of that distorted square wave sound you'll get sometimes in DJ sets."
Thunder Audio also provided Avid Profile consoles for FOH and monitors, plus eight Shure 900 Series IEM systems and eight Shure UHF-R wireless microphone systems. Systems tech on the Thunder Audio crew was Erik Rogers.
Lollapalooza producer C3 Presents invited Thunder Audio to bring the MILO rig to Chicago based in large part on the performance of the system at Metallica's Orion Music + More festival, also produced by C3, which was staged in Atlantic City in June.