Aarhus finds another first in new system?

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There’s a price to pay in always being first, as Head of Sound at Aarhus Musikhuset Per Adel explained, “Sometimes you have to wait a long time to be first.” Adel has a reputation for the enigmatic but for once he was not being ironic. “For the Musikhuset the V-Series is exactly what we wanted to have; size, weight, performance; dispersion, character and quality.” The Musikhuset is the premier concert venue in Denmark’s second city, Aarhus; what Adel had idealised in his mind’s ear for the venue was, for want of any other description, the V-Series line array from d&b audiotechnik, a system only recently launched at prolight+sound in Frankfurt 2012. “We have been using d&b systems in this venue for more than twenty five years. We were one of the first houses to purchase an F2/B1 system and have the legendary F1220 loudspeakers which we used for nearfill. Later we were the first to buy Q-Series, the serial numbers run 001 through 006 and Q7 001 and 002. Now we are the first house in Europe to install the V-Series.”

As Adel and the concert hall’s Technical Director Jonas Knive took delivery of their new V system in early April, they were at the same time waving a nostalgic goodbye to the F1220s. “They were still working fine and still running off the original amplifiers,” said Lars Frederiksen from alfa audio the Danish Distributor for d&b audiotechnik. “The amps predate the A1, a big beast 4u deep; apart from replacing some ageing capacitors they hadn’t been touched in all that time.” Adel hasn’t considered whether the V-Series will satisfy their needs for as long; he’s currently preoccupied with bedding it in.

“Now for the next month or two I will be working at fine tuning,” continued Adel. “This is a difficult room and it takes time. The main problem is that it is quite wide and at the same time there is a very big level difference from front to back. The three levels of the orchestra pit; down, flat to the stalls floor and fitted with seats, or raised as a stage extension, means I have a lot of work to do with the frontfills.” There’s also attention to the side walls required, the system is rigged as widely spaced as possible for reasons of sightlines.

“We officially launched the new system in May with a concert by James Taylor immediately followed by the Spot Festival, a festival of contemporary music from all over Scandinavia; so a good variety of source material. What do I think of the system? I mixed a couple of the Spot acts myself and found it really responds very, very fast. Just the smallest adjustment at the fader, or change in EQ, and you hear it immediately; even as you move the fader or pot, it’s there right away. The Spot Festival ended up too loud, apparently it’s a quality sought by young engineers; first it has to be loud, then second they think about how it actually sounds.”

The system supplied by alfa and installed by Adel and his house team comprises a V12 centre hang, a V8 and V12 combination hung left and right, with a set of V-SUBs flown immediately behind. “We currently have our B2-SUBs on the stage, but will soon replace them with J-INFRAs so that across the whole low end we will be consistent with the cardioid performance from the V-SUBs.” To complete the system replacement, the Musikhuset also took delivery of a set of M4 wedges for monitoring.

“The fact is a hundred percent of what you put in comes out,” concluded Adel. “Compared to other d&b systems of course I’m totally in love with the J-Series but it’s just too big for this room. The thing with J, as everybody agrees, is that it has the best mids of any system. With V the smaller ten inch diaphragm means it doesn’t have as much moving surface as the bigger twelve inch in the J so there is a difference of tone from the V-Series. But just like the J-Series, in the high end, at 5 kHz and above it's very good. But I cannot emphasise enough about response; the rise time in the entire system, from amplifier to loudspeaker is fantastic; that’s something I’ve only seen in much smaller line arrays, the smaller components can respond that much faster, but for a ten inch system the V-Series responds like a whip. In all it’s a very powerful machine.”

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