ArrayProcessing fixes festival sounds at Sónar.

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Divided into distinct Day and Night programs, the three day Sónar festival features the likes of Duran Duran and The Chemical Brothers alongside EDM artists such as Skrillex and DJ Fresh.

The fact that Sónar Day’s main stage plays within the confines of what appears to be a fortress, surrounded as it is by high walls, presents a distinct challenge for Barcelona based sound provider Tour Serveis. “This was why the moment we realized the potential of d&b’s new ArrayProcessing tool we wanted to use it here,” said System Technician Josan Bravo. Technical Director for the festival, Pedri González, supported Bravo’s enthusiasm: “The location for our festival is ideal for a city venue in terms of infrastructure, transport, and public comfort and safety, but the issue of sound has always been difficult. When Josan told me what he believed was possible I endorsed his ideas immediately.”

The Sónar Village audience area is wider than long: the main system throws 60m. The width of audience area is around 140m, but only 75m is covered by sound, as required by Sónar. The surrounding buildings are part of the Barcelona Expo complex and are, on average, 20m tall; the building directly opposite the stage also features large areas of glass. “It’s a system technician’s nightmare,” confirmed Bravo.

Working with Jonas ‘Jones’ Wagner from d&b EAS and Juanma De Casas from d&b Spain, Bravo jumped straight into his first ArrayProcessing gig like it was a cold pool at the end of a long hot day. “We configured ArrayProcessing for a big reduction of SPL at 55m from stage. It was amazing. If you listen to the system in the stage position without ArrayProcessing it’s like an audio mirror in front of you. When ArrayProcessing is on that reflection just disappears. It has proved to be a remarkable improvement of the audio experience for the audience, and a better work experience for the front of house mix engineer and the artists that perform on stage.”

“We applied two settings of -20dB and -40dB for the rear zone in ArrayProcessing,”detailed Wagner. “This allowed the FoH team to adjust for audience size during the day; thin crowd in daytime was -40dB. But just a cut of -20dB was needed for the evening when the crowd was full.”

Bravo was also pleased to find engaging with the software tool so straightforward. “Workflow is quite quick and simple. Overall ArrayProcessing is an extra positive to d&b value, an optional tool that takes consistency and homogeneity to a new level. For me, in the future there are some venues, especially where you encounter sloped floors or balconies, where this would be mandatory. For Sónar festival ArrayProcessing has been decisive. Avoiding back wall reflections has launched sound reinforcement to a new level. ArrayProcessing has allowed what the sound engineer at FoH hears to be exactly the same for the audience. Now that’s democracy for listeners.”

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