Aug 24, 2007

Music Venues

Soundcraft Vi4™ For Konzerthaus Dortmund

--The renowned Konzerthaus Dortmund has installed a new public address system, specifying a Soundcraft Vi4™ digital console as part of an integrated Harman Pro solution over a HiQnet protocol backbone. The design includes JBL VRX loudspeakers and Crown i-Tech amplifiers.

The acoustic architecture was carefully considered by system designer, Sebastian Müller-Eckhard, from Dortmund-based B&B Veranstaltungstechnik.

The Konzerthaus originally opened in 2002 with an installed sound system designed for voice transmission only, since the primary intention was to have classical concerts only in this acoustically-optimised concert-hall.

However, the number of shows where dedicated sound reinforcement was needed started to grow steadily and for the past two years B&B rented a Harman Pro rig — including a Soundcraft MH3 — for special events at the Konzerthaus.

When it came to fitting a new infrastructure the venue’s head of stage-management/engineering, Ralf Leyk, originally specified a Soundcraft MH-3, 32-channel console with all the necessary outboard equipment. But around the same time Sebastian had the opportunity to work with a Soundcraft Vi6™ , and for the first time with a digital console was completely impressed.

“I felt no restrictions in creativity and control whatsoever. The sound of the EQs, dynamics and FX felt great, the user interface was unique and simple — and other engineers, who had to mix their artists for the first time on the Vi6 or Vi4, were able to use the whole desk without reading the manual.”

Coincidentally, B&B provided a Vi4 (from Soundcraft resellers, Licht & Ton Dortmund) for a show in the foyer of the Konzerthaus. “I suggested to Ralf Leyk that he take a closer look — and a few days later a Vi4 was specified for the main installation."

As a result it was decided at short notice to invest in a complete Harman Pro system with the Soundcraft Vi4 at the hub. Delivery was made in late June and installation took place throughout July and August.

The Soundcraft Vi4 digital system includes Vistonics™ II touch screen user interface, local rack and stage rack. It offers access to 48 inputs on 24 faders, with a total of 27 output busses available for use as masters, groups, auxes or matrices. The desk features the latest Studer SCore DSP engine and Vi Series processor card, with eight Lexicon FX and 27 high-quality 30-band graphic EQ’s from BSS Audio. Thus further outboard equipment is not required — a particular advantage given the cramped mixing location of the Konzerthaus between the chair rows.

Since the Vi4 is smaller and lighter than an analogue desk fewer hands were needed to set-up, and the CAT5-cable is far easier to run than an analogue multicore, notes Sebastian Müller-Eckhard. “Plus, with all the on-board-possibilities, it is easy to control the whole system.”

The installer has optimised the auditorium coverage, using 14 JBL VRX932LA line array elements (in left, centre, right, rearfill and frontfill configuration) — along with a pair of VRX918S subs, which can be extended with further VRX918S’s (everything is switchable depending on requirement). Integrated into the HiQnet network are four Crown i-Tech 4000 amplifiers with DSP processors and accessed by the matrix outputs of the Vi4.

He added, “The JBL VRX932-LA array with Crown I-Techs are perfect for this room, because suspension weight is limited to 300kg, and set-up and break-down times are minimal as everything has to be cleared after nearly every show.”

High priority was placed on audio quality within the 1550-seat venue, and it has been the system’s sound and 16kW capability — coupled with its reconfiguration speed — that has convinced the Konzerthaus of the wisdom of its investment.

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