First Aid Kit kick off with KSL at the Ericsson Globe Arena.

© Timothy Gottlieb

Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit played one of the biggest gigs of their career in January 2019, wowing thousands of fans at Stockholm’s hemispherical Ericsson Globe. The performance was the flagship event of the band’s world tour, in support of their fourth album, Ruins. 

The sold-out gig was also the Swedish debut of the d&b KSL System, on its first outing from concert audio supplier, Soundforce Scandinavia, which purchased KSL from Arva Trading. 

Soundforce’s system tech, Anders Molund, had an existing relationship with the group, touring with them through Scandinavia: “The band’s production wanted to use the SL-Series, and we’d just taken delivery of the KSL System – it was like a Christmas gift. – so I suggested we use a GSL, KSL and SL-SUB System for the Globe gig.”

Molund set about designing a KSL and GSL solution for the tour. The main L-R Arrays consisted of GSL8 and GSL12, complemented with outhang arrays of KSL8 and KSL12. d&b V-Series provided frontfill. On amplification duties were a series of D80 with a DS10 audio network bridge.

SL versatile

“The SL Series is a very fast-paced and flexible system, where with relatively few boxes we get full coverage in the whole Globe,” he continues. “The KSL arrays really impress when it comes to output, full-range capability and their detailed, balanced sound even at long distance. They possess a very similar character to the bigger GSL System.

The SL-Series’ extended low-end response helped reduce the number of subs on tour. “We used 12 SL-SUBs for the Globe arena, with a total of 56 top speakers - this is a really low ratio of subs,” explains Molund. “The SL-Series is a big improvement over most systems when it comes to clarity and headroom in all frequencies, but particularly in the high-mid and highs.”

Acoustic challenges

The Ericsson Globe is known for presenting acoustic challenges, leading Molund and the team to d&b intelligent software solutions. 

“At the Globe Arena, I had a very good result immediately with the settings derived from my ArrayCalc file regarding time delay and levels,” Molund continues. “There is almost an undetectable transfer from the GSL coverage to the KSL coverage when you walk the arena. This, and the advantages of ArrayProcessing, means that the clarity is so much better at a distance and in most cases you do not need to hang delay arrays where you previously used to do so.”

Collaborating with Molund on rigging the SL System was Björn Carlsson and Christoffer Pinnen Malmqvist. FOH Engineer Benkt Söderberg was at the controls for the Ericsson Globe gig, alongside Nick Boulton from BCS Audio.

Consistent tonality and precise coverage

© Timothy Gottlieb
© Timothy Gottlieb

“KSL has an extremely consistent tonality throughout the area of coverage,” says Boulton. “It means I can be confident that if it sounds good at FoH, it'll probably sound just as good everywhere else, including the cheap seats at the edge of coverage…”

Molund comments: “The cardioid performance of both GSL and KSL is extremely good. It really helps with controlling issues with room reflexes and also there is almost no chance of any feedback or ‘bleed’ issues back to performers on stage. Even in a small venue with low clearance, where the KSL arrays where flown very low and almost ‘on stage’, we had no problem getting the vocals and the acoustic guitars loudly and clearly out even at the back, some 45-50 metres out.

“The cardioid back rejection and the precise coverage pattern in the entire frequency range actually ‘clean up’ a lot of that ‘arena boominess’ and low to low end ‘rumble’ that you are so familiar with in many venues.”

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