Thunder Audio Deploys L-Acoustics on Post Malone’s Runaway Tour

Thunder Audio carried a full K1/K2 system, plus four DiGiCo SD-Range mixing consoles, on latest North American leg supporting the artist’s newest album, Hollywood’s Bleeding.

Following the Beerbongs & Bentleys Tour, which wrapped up in August 2019, after more than 100 shows around the globe – Post Malone took a brief, three-week hiatus from the road before heading back out on the 38-date fall Runaway Tour – in support of Hollywood Bleeding, his third full-length album released on 6 September 2019.

The second leg of that North American trek picked back up in early February and carried Malone through most of his 22 additional dates before 2020’s global pandemic put live touring on hold in March. However, although much of the material performed on the Runaway Tour was new since Beerbongs & Bentleys, one element that remained constant throughout was the use of an L-Acoustics K1/K2 loudspeaker system supplied and deployed by Detroit-based provider Thunder Audio.

The standard PA configuration for most arenas on the latest tour was comprised of 16 K1 flown over four K2 per side as the main hangs, each backed by 12 KS28 subs flown in cardioid configuration. Adjacent outfill arrays each consisted of 16 K2, while two additional hangs of 18 Kara enclosures covered the 270° seating areas. Additional low-frequency energy was generated by a total of 24 more ground-based, cardioid-configured KS28 enclosures, while two stacks of two K2 per side—plus one Kara centered at the very end of the stage thrust—provided distributed frontfill. Everything was powered by LA12X amplified controllers, with the exception of the 270° hangs and frontfills, which were LA8-driven. All signals on the tour were routed via AVB, using six Milan-certified L-Acoustics P1 processors, with the LA8 being fed an AES signal from the localized P1 processors for a fully digital transport throughout.

Julian Gates served as the systems engineer on the most recent tour leg, and he says that Soundvision’s new Autosolver tools were incredibly helpful: “Autosplay and Autofilter both make my life a lot easier, and they’re now ‘a must’ for every show I do. They’ve reduced the need to set up six different measurement mic positions down to just one or two per array, which gets us to our end result much faster. Autoclimate is also wonderful; using it to keep temperature and humidity in check has made a huge difference. These amazing tools that L-Acoustics provides really do help make my work easier, faster, more efficient, and more consistent, and the predictions that we’re able to quickly create come very, very close to what we achieve in the real-world once preliminary tunings have been done.”

Gates also points to the L-Acoustics P1 as being key to the tour’s sonic success. “We had two P1 units at FOH to do all the summing of the console feeds, plus two on stage left and two more on stage right to serve the distribution,” he described. “Running it all via AVB with the LA12X amps made for such a solid rig. The clarity, definition, and power that this setup provides is insane, and when combined with the K1/K2 arrays, the system literally makes the audience feel like they’re right there with the artist performing on stage, even if they’re in the very last seat of the room. It made my hair stand up on end!”

FOH Engineer, Joseph Hellow has worked with Post Malone since Coachella 2018. Both he and Monitor Engineer Travon Martin manned DiGiCo SD5 consoles; plus, the tour also carried a pair of SD10 desks for opening acts Swae Lee, Tyla Yaweh, and other guests. “I am completely sold on the rock-solid DiGiCo SD platform,” Hellow said. “Post is much more than just your average artist, and I try to approach each show like it’s a studio recording. With the SD5, Waves plug-ins, and Burl and Symphony I/O using SoundGrid integration, I have the tools to present that kind of depth and detail in a live setting—especially when combined with K1 and K2, which are truly capable of reproducing that.

“Throughout my career, I’ve used a lot of sound systems, and It’s come to my realisation how essential the right system is for the application we are deploying it on,” he continued. “Most people don’t understand exactly why Post’s tour sound is so captivating; they just know they love it. L-Acoustics gives us the tools we need to complete our mission of giving the audience the best show we can night after night, an experience that sends chills down your spine even after you leave the stadium. The efficiency and reliability of this sound system ensure the confidence we need to go out and make that happen.”

Gates adds that he and the rest of the audio crew heard quite a few compliments on the sound at the February and March shows: “Everything from how seamless the transitions between the arrays and fills sounded to how impactful yet smooth the sub coverage was,” he said. “Every seat in the arena could truly feel the low end, which is so important in this genre—so everyone can communally experience the same thing. Joe did a fantastic job of mixing Post’s show each night, and L-Acoustics gave me the right tools to equip him with a trustworthy, incredible sounding PA every time he stepped up to his console. It made for a really memorable string of shows and we’re already looking forward to the next round.”

“I have had a longstanding relationship with both Thunder Audio and L-Acoustics, and Greg Snyder and the team at Thunder provided us with unprecedented support in executing last-minute adjustments to both the PA and staffing as required,” said PostyCo Production Manager, Dennis Danneels. “Comparatively, with having used other PA types throughout my tenure with Posty Touring, I always prefer to return to the K1/K2 configuration. The benefits of this system make our day-to-day life easier, and with Post’s aggressive touring schedule, that is exactly what we have needed.

“In addition to efficiency in deployment, the K1/K2 rig is incredibly consistent from venue to venue. Venue-required adjustments were made on a regular basis and the PA remained consistent in terms of coverage and intelligibility, while also providing the appropriate amount of horsepower we demand night after night. Pairing this PA with an audio crew that really understands what its capabilities are and how to achieve them provides a very sonically pleasing experience for the fans at every show.”