Rihanna rocks out at Super Bowl using L-Acoustics

Nine-time Grammy-winner Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show has been met with universal acclaim, and its audio was provided by an L-Acoustics K2 system deployed by ATK Audiotek, a Clair Global brand.

The show, which featured her biggest hits such as Umbrella, Work, Diamonds and Run This Town, was accompanied by a cast of around 100 dancers, some of whom were suspended in the air. Rihanna rode a platform flown from the rigging of Glendale, Arizona’s State Farm Stadium.

This year's halftime sound system differed significantly from previous years. In the past, temporary music systems were loaded onto wheeled carts, which could be quickly moved into position as part of the overall halftime production staging. This process involved scores of local volunteers pushing all of the staging elements together in a matter of minutes just after the referee’s halftime whistle.

However, due to the location of this year’s Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium, the halftime production had to account for the venue's retractable grass field, which required careful preparation.

State Farm Stadium had a pre-existing L-Acoustics system, consisting of 122 K2 and 32 K1-SB enclosures, installed in 2016. To prepare for this year's halftime show, ATK added six identical arrays, each comprising 13 K2 over four K1-SB, which were suspended from the venue's Brunel truss system.

Additionally, there were four sideline hangs of KS28 subs, two 10-enclosure arrays of L-Acoustics K2, and a single sub hang of eight KS28 at each end zone. ATK used L-Acoustics LA12X amplified controllers to power their system, while LA8 amplified controllers drove the house system.

This was a real ‘rock’ PA system.

Dave Natale was the front-of-house mixer for Rihanna’s performance, bringing a lot of experience in the live sound industry. He has worked with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Yes, Mötley Crüe and Fleetwood Mac, and has also mixed the four most recent Super Bowl halftime shows. Natale was impressed by the performance of the K2 system during the show.

“This was a real ‘rock’ PA system,” Natale said. “It was one gigantic music system made up of the best technology and put together by people who really know what they’re doing.

“It didn’t just sound great – it sounded great everywhere. [ATK audio project manager, system designer, and pre-and post-game event mixer] Alex Guessard and I walked through the entire venue, from the 100 level to the 300 level and two levels of suites in between, and every seat sounded great. And that’s despite a challenging rigging situation that limited where they could place hangs, which were mostly along the sidelines.”

Natale was impressed with the K2 system's low end, which played a crucial role in the show's success. The combination of the various subs created a "spectacular" low-end environment with ample headroom to spare.

Natale praised the system for its ability to move a lot of air, which was necessary for the performance. Additionally, having an L-Acoustics PA as the installed venue system simplified system design and integration with the house system, according to Powell.

Following her Super Bowl performance, Rihanna's royalties soared in the week following her half time show. Find out how much she earned in seven days and for which tracks, here.