“The Who Hits Back!” – live sound for legends with d&b audiotechnik.

In the summer of 2023, legendary band The Who made a guest appearance at the Waldbühne Berlin together with musicians from the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. The only German concert of “The Who Hits Back!” tour used audio solutions from d&b audiotechnik. The good sound filling the steeply banked stands at the traditional open-air venue was largely due to systems from the d&b SL-Series, which were supplied by TSE AG.

The main PA consisted of 14 d&b GSL modules (10 x GSL8 plus 4 x GSL12) on each side, behind which six SL-SUBs were flown. Twelve SL-GSUBs aligned upright in a row along the front of the stage complemented the flown subwoofers.

We regularly manage concerts at the Waldbühne Berlin. The venue is a classic amphitheater, and for good coverage you have to achieve a really strong uptilt, which is quite demanding from a mechanical perspective. Given the local conditions, I think d&b ArrayProcessing is extremely helpful in making it possible to create an impressive sound experience for all guests, regardless of where they are sitting or standing. Immisions into the area surrounding the Waldbühne are a major issue: There are strict requirements that absolutely must be met.Marcel Fery, CEO TSE AG

The layout of the spectator area at the Waldbühne in combination with the height of the PA towers required a significant uptilt of the PA. “An uptilt is needed with any PA in these conditions and can be achieved nice and easily with the d&b SL-Series, since the bumper on the cradle slides forward, creating an additional rigging point well in front of the array’s center of gravity,” said Ron Hoffmann, Head of Audio at TSE.

“As such, even massive uptilts can be easily handled. The fact that the bumper no longer sticks out to the rear ultimately made it possible for us to hang the six SL-SUBs at the desired height behind the main arrays in the tightest of spaces at the venue. Incidentally, the flown subwoofers at the Waldbühne have proven to be a resounding success for pop and rock concerts – they simply distribute the low frequencies so much better.”

Together with the six SL-SUBs, the 14 GSL units create a very compact design. The flown subwoofers ensure that there is a pleasing amount of bass everywhere on the steeply banked rows of seats, even in the side areas. I listened to the sound in different areas of the venue during the show and the acoustic result was really cool! In my opinion, the flown subwoofers in particular make a real difference in the upper seats; you can still sense the body of the snare drum there, for example.Marcel Fery, CEO of TSE AG

Fery continued: “For me, one of the outstanding features of the SL-Series is the cardioid dispersion, which works right down to the low frequencies and, among other things, generates less booming onstage than some other systems. If there are a lot of open microphones onstage – as was the case with “The Who Hits Back!” due to the orchestra – that is a clear advantage! Feedback was not an issue at all during The Who’s performance. This works really well with the SL-Series, even in combination with the flown subwoofers. In addition, I still find it impressive how tonally harmonious the system radiates the sound to the outer areas – instead of just starting to get unpleasantly muddy at a certain point, it simply gets gradually continuously quieter while maintaining the same sound quality. Incidentally, a sound system from d&b audiotechnik was explicitly requested for The Who’s performance at the Waldbühne Berlin – it was an Eighth Day Sound production, and they are of course highly familiar with the systems from Backnang. And at TSE, too, the relationship with d&b audiotechnik has grown over many years.”

In addition to the SL-Series, The Who used six d&b V units (4 x V8 plus 2 x V12) as outfills on each side. Four d&b Y7Ps placed on subwoofers were used for the front fills, supplemented by AL60 augmented array loudspeakers mounted on high stands.

The amping was provided by d&b D80 four-channel amplifiers, which received their input signals via d&b DS10 Audio network bridges. One unique feature was the delay line, the setup of which was due to the topography of the Waldbühne: A total of 28 d&b T10s (4 x 4 plus 2 x 6 modules) were used in six positions in the second upper tier, which were driven by D20 amplifiers – a configuration that TSE generally uses for concerts at the Waldbühne.

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