Eurovision and Germany wins ESC two years running

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Considering it was Azerbaijan who won, there was also an enormous groundswell of praise throughout Europe for what Germany achieved in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) finals in Dusseldorf. “Bearing in mind that this was staged in a football stadium the sound was outstanding,” said Ola Melzig, production manager for the ESC since the year two thousand, and well placed to pronounce on such things.

For the team at d&b audiotechnik the challenge of the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf was sheet metal, nine hectares of it to be precise. “The roof structure is enormous, all corrugated metal,” said NDR’s head of sound for the live event Jochen Jensen (NDR is part of ARD, the German broadcast union; although the regional broadcaster for northern Germany, the responsibility for the whole ESC production traditionally falls to them). “With a reverberation time of six to eight seconds it was absolutely critical we keep sound energy from hitting the roof, or reflecting off the floor up to it. My first thought was, who are the specialists who can help me with this?” Fortunately for Jensen he had an old colleague from his early days spent working in Hamburg who knew a lot about stadium sound. “I called Ralf Zuleeg at d&b audiotechnik and asked if he could help. It will require a big commitment from d&b, I warned him.” Zuleeg, in typical fashion, shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Hmmm’.

“Yes of course we wanted to do it,” said Zuleeg, “Who wouldn’t?” Management agreed, not least Werner ‘Vier’ Bayer, the so called ears of d&b, “with such a huge ‘no compromise’ production comes a chance to learn and experience handling of this sized genre of live sound reinforcement. Great, I said, let’s look deeper into it.”

The resulting system comprising over three hundred loudspeakers embraced three main elements from the d&b range of products Q, J and T-Series, and for distinctly different functions. “In collaboration with my old friend Jochen we conceived a distributed system solution that properly delivered the correct direct to reverberant ratio throughout the venue,” explained Zuleeg. “In simple terms a set of three concentric circles of PA radiated out from the main stage. The first ring needed to point acutely down onto the front rows of the audience; and consider this: we had to fly every part of the PA above eighteen metres to be clear of the camera angles. For this the Q-Series with its lighter weight and slightly narrower dispersion angle proved ideal. For the next two rings the J-Series took the main role; here the need to tilt down was not so acute, but the throw distances were typically fifty-five to sixty-five metres. Finally the T-Series was used for the upper ‘nosebleed’ seats at the very top of the grandstands; here the audience were so high relative to the stage that the need to use a physically smaller line array that could still deliver the required punch without blocking their sightlines was essential.”

All d&b equipment was supplied by Crystal Sound with support from the wider d&b network, overseen by Simon Klumpp, with all consoles front of house and monitors provided by Neumann & Muller. “I think NDR is fortunate to have a man of Jochen’s calibre to oversee such an event,” concluded Zuleeg. “There can’t be many TV companies in the world who have a man with the kind of skills he brings to the event.” Jensen pronounced it a job well done, “they all did an excellent job. This show was all about performance; the PA system, the personnel, and most importantly the artists themselves. All produced a world class result.” The Director of the show for the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), Lutz Marmor said that it was a "technically brilliant event that took course exactly as we had imagined it would" (“technisch brillante Veranstaltung, die genauso verlaufen ist, wie wir uns das vorgestellt haben").

We adapted the Q rigging system to take flying frames top and bottom of the line array to achieve the necessary acute downward angle.

Adaptamos el sistema de rigging Q para situar las estructuras voladas en la parte superior e inferior de cada arreglo y conseguir el ángulo hacia abajo necesario.

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