South Korea (October 3, 2014)—When Pope Francis visited South Korea in August, he held multiple masses and events in different cities as he toured the nation; among the highlights was the mass he held on August 15 for the sixth annual Asian Youth Day. For the occasion, the mass was held in Daejeon where where he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption at the Stadium built for the World Cup in Korea.
An estimated crowd of 800,000 people gathered; bringing the event to the massive crowd required an equally massive pro audio effort, using equipment from around the globe. Inter-M, headquartered in Korea, was chosen as the official supplier of the PA system, and it supported the installation with 20 employees from its SR-team, speaker R&D team and engineering team to prepare, install, test, calibrate and operate the system at Gwanghwamun Square. The 12-square kilometer venue, facing Seoul’s City Hall Square, had two main speaker towers and 16 delay towers. Single-mode fiber cables in a star configuration connected all 18 towers. Audio to the towers was transmitted using 20 pairs of Inter-M’s FTA/FRA- audio over fiber transmitters and receivers.
The main PA system featured TL-22 12-inch line array speakers, entirely manufactured in Inter-M’s Korea speaker factory, which were used in a live venue for the first time during the historic event. To power the 180 speaker cabinets throughout the system, 120 V2-5000 power amplifiers were used, as well as 45 DPA-600D and 90 DPA-1200S as well. In all 762,000 watts of audio power were on-hand.
Providing a networking backbone for the system were 20 Inter-M DAC-288 transmitter/receivers, incorporating Audinate’s Dante digital audio over IP networking solution. Dante transported the audio from the FOH mixing console to all other audio devices, distributed over the large area outdoor venue, reportedly simplify the installation while reducing massive cabling costs.
The next day, the Pope visited a shrine to 124 victims of 18th Century religious persecution in Seosomun, Seoul, where he held a two-hour Beatification Ceremony that, again, was attended by nearly a million people while a further million viewers watched at home on TV. Regional audio vendor Art Mix provided sound for the event; Sung Jun Park, director of Engineering, used J Series and Q Series loudspeakers from d&b audiotechnik, a DiGiCo SD8 console and a half-dozen Earthworks FMR500/HC 19-inch podium microphones for the ceremony.
Park mentioned he chose the microphone in part because “The sensitivity and dynamic range are good. Additionally, their gain before feedback is definitely superior to the other microphones. The Vatican was satisfied, since the FMR500/HCs have a high-quality sound.” Nonetheless, there were other reasons for the choice, he noted: “The microphone’s head is small, so it did not hide the Pope’s face.”