Harmony in the amphitheatre with ArrayProcessing

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The ancient Roman amphitheatre in Verona was the magnificent setting for Intimissimi on Ice, a sumptuous evening of music and dance produced by Balich Worldwide Shows and Opera on Ice. Designed in the classical amphitheatre style, the two thousand year old stone structure is elliptical in shape, with the outer walls standing about seventeen metres in height. A vast iced stage covered nearly half the arena floor, with the audience located in the remaining space and seating built into the steeply tiered bleachers of the original building. Beautiful and atmospheric certainly, yet presenting quite a challenge for sound reinforcement.

“To begin with, ArrayProcessing was chosen for its help with performances in this sort of environment,” explains Davide Carlotti, Education and Application Support at d&b audiotechnik Italia. “It was the first time for our Partner, Musical Box Rent, at a big event such as this, with so many challenges to find solutions for. The main L/R arrays, comprised of J-Series loudspeakers, had to be located a full sixty three metres apart and thirty metres beyond and behind the edge of the stage to accommodate the necessary sight lines.

“The restrictions on where we could locate the main arrays, along with the size and shape of the stage, also dictated that the stalls area had to be covered by T-Series as frontfills and Y-SUBs; there were J-SUBs ground stacked below the left and right arrays. We also deployed several Y7Ps as infills for the stalls and outfills to cover the outer seating very close to the stage. Of course d&b ArrayCalc gave us the opportunity to predetermine the ideal locations for all the loudspeakers, within the specified parameters, but then using ArrayProcessing on the main J-Series array allowed us to deliver a perfect audio experience to each and every member of the audience.”

Jonas ‘Jones’ Wagner, Education and Application Support at d&b, arrived the day after the initial load in. “Musical Box Rent had done a great job in rigging the system: the Romans never designed these amphitheatres for twenty first century shows. With the two arrays rigged so far apart, and with all the variables of the tiered seating and stonework, we were all eager to hear just what a difference ArrayProcessing could make. We were not disappointed.”

The event presented a wide variety of musical genres, from some of the most famous opera arias to a short set from Ellie Goulding, accompanied by a choir and an orchestra, while world dance skating champions performed on the iced stage. The task of mixing FoH for all these different acts fell to Arturo Pellegrini. “This was a really prestigious show, set in the most atmospheric of venues. The coverage, for both level and frequency response, was smooth and consistent for the entire area and, if I had to find a word to describe the sound, it would be ‘velvety’. Pellegrini concludes: “I was quite concerned that the combination of the distances, the dynamics of the musical programme and the elliptical shape of the venue would prove insurmountable, but I was proved wrong on all counts.”

Images courtesy of: http://www.balichws.com/intimissimi-on-ice

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