A festival of musicals praises a point source performance.
Against the striking backdrop of the Swiss Alps, the Lake Thun musical festival attracts more than seventy thousand visitors each summer. Regarded as one of the top ten open air events of its kind in Europe, the program is diverse, ranging from Broadway classics to original works. Summer 2015 saw the traditional Romeo and Juliet story told in contemporary times, with biking and martial arts staged upon a large pink half pipe stood with its feet in the shallows of the lake.
Now in its thirteenth year, the festival has a reputation for meeting high expectations, through the quality and expertise of the performers and live orchestra, as well as numerous behind the scenes contributors. Thomas Strebel, seasoned audio engineer and founder, and co-owner of Basler audiopool GmbH, has experience in almost all aspects of musical production. As the man responsible for the festival’s sound it was Strebel’s decision to deploy d&b systems exclusively throughout the entire 2015 festival.
A fan of point source solutions, Strebel deliberately opted against using line array systems. Although the region is known for its changing and sometimes violent weather conditions, Strebel’s preference was not determined by the elements. “Audio technology is now pretty much weatherproof and for this you have to compliment the manufacturers,” he said.
Supplied by PRG Switzerland, the Romeo and Juliet system was discreetly integrated into the half pipe so as not to disturb the audiences’ view of the action. Q7s were mounted above doors built in to the side of the half pipe, and T10s provided a source from the orchestra pit. When these weren’t in use, eight Q1/Q-SUB pairs built in to the stage lip provided a preceding wavefront and a point source T10 delay system covered listeners seated more than sixteen meters from stage. “They sound fantastic and are so compact, so they do not impair the visibility of guests unnecessarily,” remarked Strebel. Two separately operated Q1s were positioned directly above the orchestra pit, and for the extra low end four J-SUBs were suspended in the structure under the stage.
The system was designed to have a level drop of about 6 dB between the seating immediately in front of the stage and the rear seats, for a natural listening experience. “The idea is that guests do not recognize the presence of the speakers regardless of their seat,” Strebel added. “We have always received extremely positive feedback from very different people at the lake. Audio professionals repeatedly express their praise for the sound at Lake Thun – I am told the quality leaves nothing to be desired.”