06 September 2013

d&b and VRT: Radiohuis comes to the Town Hall

Leuven Town Hall is a gothic masterpiece that dates back to the mid fifteenth century. Even in a country like Belgium that has more than its fair share of medieval wonders, this one stands out as a breathtaking example of the genre, its ornate turrets punctuated by some two hundred and thirty statues added in the nineteenth century. All in all, not really the venue one would automatically imagine to locate a twenty first century radio station complex. That, however, is exactly what the Dutch language public broadcaster has done with its Radio 2 studios. One might well wonder why.

Frank Geerts, Amptec’s pro audio and theatre sales manager is the man with the answers, “The Flemish broadcaster, VRT decided a few years ago to construct a complete broadcasting environment within the Town Hall of Leuven, called Radiohuis or ‘R’. The Radiohuis consists of radio studios used mainly by Radio 2 Vlaams-Brabant and Brussel, editing rooms, conference facilities and also the R-Café. This is the space designed for live broadcasts, events and concerts and where the public see the workings of VRT radio stations including Radio 2, Klara and MNM at first hand. It is also the space where we installed a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system.”

The original specification was a combination of Ci7-TOP loudspeakers, E15X-SUBs and E12s but that needed to be revised as Geerts explains, “The room is quite spacious, for live broadcasts it accommodates a seated audience of fifty while, for presentations that are for a standing audience, there can be up to a hundred people, and it has a fixed stage with a mobile platform for extra space when necessary. We carried out a thorough acoustic survey and decided to install some additional loudspeakers from the xS-Series: 5S and 4S, to avoid feedback during live broadcasts. This also helps overcome any issues from the mobile stages, fixed obstacles such as columns and a staircase in the room and guarantees even coverage for all. The whole system is powered by d&b D6 amplifiers that are mounted in a central rack. Sound engineers have the option to control the complete installation through Wi-Fi using the d&b audiotechnik R1 Remote control software.”

Since its opening last year, the R-Café has been used regularly for live Radio 2 broadcasts such as ‘En nu serieus’ on the Saturday morning program and ‘Muziekcafé’ on Wednesday. “The ‘R-Café’ plays its role in getting radio programs closer to the audience and vice versa. The listening public can come to concerts and hear some of the most popular local artists, such as Jelle en Clara Cleymans, Brahim, Martine De Kok and De Romeos in a superb setting with a top of the range audio system.” What could be better?