Soundscape all the rave in Hong Kong.

In its third year, and after the most recent event in Thailand, ALTN8 – pronounced “Alternate” – returned to Hong Kong to get local fans of EDM raving to the beats of Electro, House, Techno and other styles of the genre. Around a thousand revellers came to party with more than a dozen DJs from Europe and Asia, including Super Flu, Taku Hirayama, Roman Flügel and Extrawelt.

As for the venue, PMQ was the location of choice – an historic site in between Hong Kong Central’s skyscrapers and residential buildings which had lately turned into a hub for trendy design, fashion and food – a good match with the festival organisers’ innovative spirit. “We like to push boundaries”, said ALTN8 co-founder Charlie Toller, “it’s about trying new things, and giving people that something more.”

“It’s the first time that we’ve done an event of this scale in this venue,” continued Toller on his ambitious goals. “PMQ is a heritage venue in Hong Kong, and we’re bringing some well-respected underground DJs from around the world here to put on an immersive show.”

Toller and the technical director and system engineer for the event, Jonathan Lulin, made contact with local sound and light provider Beating Heart, and d&b audiotechnik’s Hong Kong office, where they were introduced to d&b Soundscape. “We’ve used d&b speakers before, but Soundscape gives us a new realm of possibility,” explained Toller. “It allows us to create a more immersive experience for the people attending the festival.”

The solution in the form of d&b Y-Series was provided and installed by Beating Heart. All driven by d&b D80 amplifiers, two hangs of two Y8 and two Y12 with two Y-SUB, each with additional low-end support from two ground stacks of two B22-SUB positioned at the front. Two almost identical hangs of four Y8 and two Y-SUB were placed at the back. Along each side, five Y7P at equal distance from each other completed the 360 degree coverage. Four M4 were set up as monitors.

The Dante signal from the console was received by d&b DS10 audio network bridges and the DS100 Soundscape processor.

d&b En-Space software was used for enhancing the otherwise slightly dry room acoustics as well as creating the 360-degree experience. “Initially we were concerned since we would have only two channels from the DJs,” said Lulin, “but the system has the ability to duplicate every channel multiple times, and we used En-Space to have the sound surrounding the crowd. It was really easy and the result was fantastic.”

The crew also had sound effects prepared, ready to be positioned around the room, mixed with the main signal. 

ALTN8 having been the premiere event for d&b Soundscape in Hong Kong, meant it was the first hands-on experience of the immersive toolkit for most of the personnel on site. “I thought the build was going to be difficult, but it was straight-forward,” stated Craig Lomas, owner of Beating Heart. “I attended the show and enjoyed it rather than having to worry about it.”

“It is pretty easy to handle, easy to use, really efficient,” confirmed Lulin. “d&b Soundscape is a creative solution. Lomas comments, “it made bigger impact than I expected given that we didn’t have as much multitrack content as we would have liked. Normally I’m not much into EDM but found myself drawn into this one, and I think we were really just touching on it.”

“Overall feedback: amazing,” concluded Lulin. “Everyone inside the venue was completely immersed by the sound, surprised by the sound quality and the surround effects. A fantastic experience.”

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