Shaken and stirred, by a not so secret agent - The National Theatre Nicaragua.


Having survived the earthquake of 1972 that devastated much of Nicaragua's capital city Managua, there has been little that has shaken Teatro Nacional since; until that is, time came to re-equip the venue in the modern vernacular. "Function is core to our art at the Teatro," said Licenciado Ramon Rodriguez, Director of the theatre (Licenciado is a term of respect, one Señor Rodriguez has earned during his time at the theatre), "and technology forms a big part of that." Teatro Nacional had been surviving on a bequeathed audio system for many years, "But now we needed a system that can manage all forms of performance; musical theatre; classical concert, rock and folk concerts; these were not even considered when the venue was first built."

Teatro Nacional, named Teatro Rubén Dario after a national poet, was built as a concert hall; seating twelve hundred people across raked stalls and three balconies, it has an acoustic shell over stage and the room has a 1.8 second reverberation. "For an orchestral performance the acoustic is quite beautiful," said audio consultant Andreas Baldenweg from Managua based International Sound, "and it’s a great room for the audience with unrestricted views from every seat. But it's lively when you consider installing a sound reinforcement system, as I was obliged to do. My brief from Licenciado Rodriguez also requested I give consideration to international touring shows. That last specific led me to propose a system solution based upon d&b audiotechnik equipment, easily the most frequently specified system we see on tour riders. The big question was, did this manufacturer have the right tools, and would it be within the Teatro's budget?"

Baldenweg, a native of Switzerland who has made his home in Nicaragua since the 1970s, contacted d&b audiotechnik direct. "Ralf Zuleeg from their Application Support department proved very supportive in the system design process. Rather than taking the project off my hands, he guided me through the process as we designed coverage for the room using their ArrayCalc software. We arrived at an interesting solution. A left/centre/right installation of T-Series using T10 in particular, is flown. The left/right hangs cover the balconies and rear stalls outside the shadow of the balcony overhang; the centre hang covers the front stalls. The left/right hangs are augmented by a pair of 27A SUBs from the d&b xA-Series flown immediately behind them. All are small, aesthetically pleasing loudspeakers that do not detract from the classic sixties wooden stage architecture; the 27A is also cardioid in nature, removing any potential for projecting unwanted low end energy down onto the performance platform. More T10s are stacked at stage level left and right to provide further energy into the two lower balconies, and specifically into the stalls beneath the overhang. These stage stacks sit atop a pair of d&b V-Series V-SUBs each side; this is a considerably more potent source of bass energy, extending the lower reach of the 27A (40 Hz) down to 37 Hz and with significantly more power."

Baldenweg's company made the installation back in mid September 2013, the system being commissioned for a grand opening on the 3rd October. "We were supported directly by d&b for this tuning phase, Jesus Diaz Iñiguez, d&b's freelance system engineer for Central and South America came down with Zuleeg. Both were again gracious with their expertise, engaging with and involving our own personnel in the tuning process, Jesus providing that vital Spanish language element."

Since inauguration the changes have not gone unnoticed by the capital's press or the Teatro's audiences, "Everyone is more than satisfied," concluded Licenciado Rodriguez. "International Sound have provided the perfect solution. For us the system flatters and compliments the already well loved natural sound of the Teatro."

Photograph (interior) courtesy of © Robert Lerich |

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