R&B diva Mariah Carey recently packed "A-level" arenas across Europe with a Meyer Sound LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system. The powerful and transparent system clearly delivered Carey's five-octave range and soaring, melismatic vocal style to every seat without the use of delays. Mixed by FOH engineer Lorin White Jr., the 22-city "Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour" was Carey's first European tour in 13 years.
"The LEO system is superb for handling Mariah's voice, particularly when I'm tracking her extended high notes," reports Lorin, whose mixing credits include Roberta Flack, Jon Secada, Hilary Duff, Melissa Manchester, and Machine Head. "She always gets a strong crowd reaction when she hits those extreme highs—like on 'Emotions'—so I always try to give her a push over the top. With LEO, the highs come out just as clear, and without hurting your ears.
"All the nuances are right there," continues Lorin. "I never feel like I'm working around troublesome frequency bands when I push it up from 85 to 96 dBA or more. The sound stays the same, with no changes."
Lorin also appreciates the performance of the LEO system's 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements. "I never have to push to get low end clarity out of the mix," he says. "There's always plenty of headroom available without fighting the limiting or processing."
Supplied by UK-based Major Tom, Ltd., the system was typically deployed with twin main hangs of 12 LEO-M over four LYON linear line array loudspeakers, with dual flown arrays of five-each 1100-LFC elements in a spaced cardioid configuration. The system also comprised 12 LEO-M and two LYON loudspeakers for out fill, 12 additional 1100-LFC elements, 10 UPA-1P loudspeakers for front fill, and a Galileo Callisto loudspeaker management system with one Galileo Callisto 616 AES and six Galileo Callisto 616 array processors. Onstage foldback comprised eight MJF-212A stage monitors, one LEOPARD line array loudspeaker over one 900-LFC low-frequency control element per side for side fill, and two 500-HP subwoofers for the keyboardists.
Lorin mixes on a DiGiCo SD7 digital console with Waves plugins and a Bricasti M7 reverb processor. Carey's vocal microphone is a custom, gold Shure UHF-R wireless with a BETA 58A capsule.
Prior to the European tour, Lorin mixed Carey's in-residence performances at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on the venue's installed Meyer Sound loudspeaker system. Carey returns to The Colosseum for 18 shows this summer.
Assisting Lorin at FOH on tour were systems engineer David "Digga" Vinnicombe and stage techs Kyle Carter and Ian Hamilton. Simon Kemp was monitor engineer.