Gasworks Theatre embraces the future of performance with d&b Soundscape
Østre Gasværk (Eastern Gasworks) Theatre in Copenhagen is an extraordinary new performance space which uses the power of d&b audiotechnik’s Soundscape system, to take the concept of immersive theatre to a whole new level.
The system, installed by Alfa Audio in conjunction with consultancy Stouenborg, is part of a new concept termed TheatreMax®. A first for Danish Theatre, TheatreMax® combines innovative audio and visual technical solutions to set a new standard for enhancing the audience experience. The creation of visionary theatre manager Søren Møller, well known for revolutionising Denmark’s musical scene and raising standards throughout his career, TheatreMax® aims to bring the entire theatre into play during performances by transforming the entire room into a visual and auditory canvas.
As part of that aim, Østre Gasværk has become the first theatre in Denmark to employ d&b audiotechnik’s immersive Soundscape system.
I’ve always been interested in how sound propagates and resonates in storytelling. Sound is crucial to the success of any performance. We chose d&b Soundscape both because of its interface and because panning and time-lapse are taken into account in real-time, making it possible to create a perception that seems completely natural and transparent, all the time.Søren Møller, theatre manager
Any circular space presents acoustic challenges, but this old, brick-and-timber construction, with its open expanses and hard, flat, reflective surfaces – is an extreme example. To meet Møller’s immersive aims, the sound solution had to ensure that every seat received the same excellent coverage, with a true soundscape experience from the very wide stage.
Thanks to d&b Soundscape, each spoken word, musical note, and sound effect seems to emanate from the precise location of its source. What’s more, the system gives sound designers an unmatched creative flexibility, enabling them to use d&b Soundscape not just as a straightforward sound reinforcement tool, but as a powerful enhancement to the performance itself, and the audience’s experience of it.
The d&b Soundscape system installed draws its creative flexibility from two powerful DS100 64 x 64 matrix processors, with amplification from a selection of d&b’s D80, 40D, 10D and 5D amplifiers. Each amplifier has four channels with dedicated processors for the d&b loudspeaker and DSP filters for system tuning. A TTA Stagetracker II RF system is also installed to keep track of the precise locations of the performers. Network-based signal distribution is managed by Luminex 30i switches.
In all, d&b partner Alfa Audio installed 96 loudspeakers around 360 degrees in the theatre hall, to deliver a ‘realistic’ soundscape for its audiences. In addition, a vast video and projection system, with 25 large laser projectors, forms an enveloping visual field with a resolution four times higher than a cinema screen.
The output efficiency of the d&b loudspeaker systems combined with their high directivity is a huge advantage in controlling the sound in such a reflective environment whilst minimizing visual intrusion. Loudspeakers included d&b’s A-Series, positioned in nine clusters above the stage, chosen for its ability to cover a large vertical splay with a few cabinets; 44S front-fills chosen for their very low profile; Y10Ps for the main surround system and delays, blending high SPL and directivity in a small point source format, 8S coaxials across the ceiling and, for low-end, SL-SUBs, again mixing high directivity through their in-built cardioid performance and high SPL in as small a source as possible.
Alfa Audio worked closely alongside d&b audiotechnik to complete this project. d&b’s Steve Jones, who was previously involved with designing the sound system for another circular venue, London’s Royal Albert Hall. “Soundscape should, effectively, make the loudspeakers disappear,” says Jones. “If the audience notices they’re listening to a loudspeaker and they look at it, for me that’s a failure. Our aim is for audiences to lose themselves in the story being told – and for the technology to ‘disappear’.”
It has been a great opportunity to design a complete Soundscape system for a Danish theatre, both because it’s the first of its kind in Denmark and because of the overall acoustic challenges. It’s a spectacular venue, because of the round shape of the theatre hall, and because you need to take the original spectacular architecture of the building into account. The fact that you can work with relatively low sound pressures using Soundscape gives advantages in solving these acoustic challenges.Lars Frederiksen, CEO Alfa Audio
Just because a venue is located in a small town and prides itself on its community links and support for local artists doesn't mean that it is content with being simply average. The Godset Rock Club in Kolding, Denmark is an excellent case in point....
Kings Place, the thriving arts venue in London’s Kings Cross, is officially partnering with d&b - and d&b Soundscape - for its Sound Unwrapped season of performances throughout 2023. The performances will include a number of innovative...
Mobile application or fixed installation? Indoors or outdoors? Large or small? d&b provides tailored-made solutions for each and every requirement. What is more, the dedicated simulation software optimizes the planning of the system installation.