A staggering d&b system supports World Youth Day 2016

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Over 600 d&b loudspeakers, nearly 150 D80 amplifiers, and twenty nine delay towers for one stage; this was an event on an almost unprecedented scale. World Youth Day 2016 held in Blonia Park, near Poland’s ancient city of Kraków, presented an opportunity for Pope Francis to engage with hundreds of thousands of young people with a music festival on a massive scale. The line up of bands and soloists, of all genres, represented a herculean task for GMB pro sound, the audio company responsible for providing sound reinforcement across the forty eight hectare site.

GMB’s Remigiusz Kasztelnik: “There were fifty people from GMB pro sound involved in this project directly. It’s fair to say that the scale of the operation was beyond anything we had done before.”

Kasztelnik called in support from d&b Application Support; Janko Ramuscak describes the collaboration: “Mathias Kleinen and myself, along with Christian Ländner from the d&b R&D department, arrived onsite the day before rigging began. As they became available, we started to commission individual towers, checking components and performing some measurements and EQ adjustments to achieve the agreed upon target response for every one of them. Once the full audio and remote delivery system was up, we set and verified delay times for all the towers and walked the field to make sure all the transitions between the different coverage areas were appropriate. Chris’ role was to observe the large remote network in operation and collect valuable user input directly onsite.”

Forward planning was a key element, as Kasztelnik explains: “ArrayCalc was absolutely crucial in designing the system, making sure the general tonality of all towers was the same, and presetting delay times. Laminated printouts from ArrayCalc, detailing the mechanical configuration of the respective array, accompanied the equipment set for every delay tower, so that the numerous crews that were working on rigging the system did not always have to consult back with the project management staff. Janko also created an EASE simulation report to document certain acoustic requirements that had been specified by the acoustic consultant.”

The whole system was controlled through the d&b R1 Remote control network, from a central control container located behind FoH. The audio and network distribution was realized via Optocore, with a d&b DS10 Audio network bridge in every tower, serving as a switch and multicast filter. Audio-wise, there were several consoles at FoH to submix the symphonic orchestra, choir, band, and of course the main altar. Their signals were, in turn, routed through another master console in the control container that served as the master audio hub and visualized the signals coming in via the various submixes. “Obviously, there were several redundancies built into that system,” adds Ramuscak, “to make sure any fault in one component wouldn’t compromise the whole system. But as those things go, the careful planning resulted in them not being needed during the show - everything just worked. Credit has to go to GMB for the success of this event.”

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