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Powersoft amplifiers deliver words of worship for millions of pilgrims

Equipment used included the Outline premium GTO, C-12 and Mantas line arrays

When 2.5 million pilgrims from all over the world descended on the former Polish capital city, Kraków, for World Youth Days, 200 Powersoft amplifiers were used so Pope Francesco could be heard on the 1,200 acre site.

Supplier, Poznan-based rental company Gigant Sound Letus, delivered system sets including a total of 66 delay towers, with equipment on two towers and altar doubled, to create 70 towers. Spread over huge distances, the towers comprised Outline premium GTO, C-12 and Mantas line arrays powered by Powersoft K Series and X Series amplifiers.

It was one of the biggest ever deployments of the two Italian manufacturers’ inventories and required a vast international collaboration as the amount of gear needed to do the job extended to 600 line array modules.

These speakers was powered by around 200 Powersoft amplifiers (34x X8 Dante) and 80x K10, 30x K20 and 56x series T7/T9/T11 DSP + KAESOP. This was all connected to a single TCP/IP network and controlled with the latest release of Powersoft’s proprietary Armonía Pro Audio Suite for time alignment and fine tuning of the system.

Pawel Zakrzewski, senior system tech for the event, says: “Armonía is a very easy and user-friendly environment. I split control over the system into four PC’s for more flexibility and convenience — which was crucial as I had to cooperate simultaneously with several crews working out in the field.”

Zakrzewski also admits, “We had to deliver sound over a huge radius of 1,650 metres (over 5,000 feet) and between the furthest delay line towers the distance was 2,400 metres (about 7,300 feet), so adding a pre-delay to specific tower feeds was also necessary — but the majority of system tuning was done via Armonia Pro Audio Suite.” With the extended functionality, he describes working on a system of that size as “a piece of cake” with the latest 2.8.0 version of Armonía.”

The project utilised towers with a constant number of interchangeable transducers, with Outline’s Dual Parabolic Wave Guide devices common to all the loudspeakers.

Support engineer from Outline, Giulio Gandini, who was in charge of technical support adds: “Fine tuning of this kind of system, size wise, requires mobility as the coverage and time alignment have to be controlled over a huge area.

“I was travelling along the field with a moped, and fortunately thanks to Armonía Pro Audio Suite — and Pawel of course — walkie-talkie and cell-phone were the only things I needed to carry with me. Having to adjust each tower manually would increase build-up time to a scary extent. Thanks to full Ethernet control performed from a single point, we had the possibility to remotely monitor each rack.”

Apart from prayers, which were led by the Pope himself, pilgrims were able to enjoy a worship concert featuring Polish and foreign mainstream artists, accompanied by an orchestra and choir conducted by Adam Sztaba (supported as second conductor by priest, Robert Tyrała). This required five premier mixing consoles and engineers for FOH alone.