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A staggering d&b system supports World Youth Day 2016
Poland – Over 600 d&b loudspeakers, nearly 150 D80 amplifiers, and 29 delay towers for one stage, this was an event on an almost unprecedented scale. Blonia Park, near Poland’s ancient city of Kraków, was the venue for the 13th World Youth Day. Since the inaugural gathering in Rome in 1986, the Catholic Church has invited young people of all faiths and persuasions to congregate at events held globally, from Toronto to Sydney to Denver to Manila in the Philippines. World Youth Day 2016 presented an opportunity for Pope Francis to engage with hundreds of thousands of young people who were also treated to a music festival on a massive scale: bands of all different backgrounds and genres, and a large number of soloists. All of which represented a herculean task for GMB pro sound, the audio company responsible for providing sound reinforcement across the 48 hectare site.
GMB’s Remigiusz Kasztelnik said: “There were 50 people from GMB pro sound involved in this project directly. All tasks were allocated a long time before the system set up: two project coordinators, a crew manager, eight sound engineers, three system engineers, stage managers and real ‘armies’ of stage and off stage technicians, drivers and warehousemen. We also allocated specialists to be responsible for signal splits, configuration of the IEM system, wireless microphones, Dante stage network, riggers and logisticians. It’s fair to say that the scale of the operation was beyond anything we had done before.”
With such a vast amount of d&b on site Kasztelnik called in support from d&b application support; Janko Ramuscak describes the collaboration: “Credit has to go to GMB for the success of this event. Remigiusz Kasztelnik, Janusz Klimowicz, Paweł Adamowicz and Kamil Zajdel made the design and chose to go with more than 430 J-Series speakers in order to provide enough full range potential throughout the area. There was a main PA system made of two long J-Series arrays left and right, infills comprising V-Series and two pairs of outfills, realised with hangs of J-Series and V-Series respectively. The rest of the J-Series cabinets were used on 29 delay towers. The number and placement of the towers was specified by a consultant working for the church; each of these arrays contained between eight and 16 boxes. There were also nearly 50 B22-SUBs placed near the stage, and over thirty J-SUBs hung on the first ring of delay towers.
“Mathias Kleinen and myself from d&b’s headquarters in Backnang, along with Christian Ländner from our software R&D department, arrived on site the day before rigging began. As they became available, we started to commission individual towers, checking components and performing some measurements and EQ adjustments to achieve the agreed upon target response for every one of them. Once the full audio and remote delivery system was up, we set and verified delay times for all the towers and walked the field to make sure all the transitions between the different coverage areas were appropriate. Chris’ role was to observe the large remote network in operation and collect valuable user input directly on site.”
Forward planning was a key element, as Kasztelnik explains: “Naturally, it all began with not just one but several ArrayCalc project files, as we could not fit the whole system into one (ArrayCalc can simulate up to fourteen separate arrays in a single file). ArrayCalc was absolutely crucial in designing the system, making sure the general tonality of all towers was the same, and presetting delay times. Laminated printouts from ArrayCalc, detailing the mechanical configuration of the respective array, accompanied the equipment set for every delay tower, so that the numerous crews that were working on rigging the system did not always have to consult back with the project management staff. Janko also created an EASE simulation report to document certain acoustic requirements that had been specified by the acoustic consultant.”
The whole system was controlled through the d&b R1 Remote control network, from a central control container located behind FoH. The audio and network distribution was realised via Optocore, with a d&b DS10 Audio network bridge in every tower, serving as a switch and multicast filter. Audio-wise, there were several consoles at FoH to submix the symphonic orchestra, choir, band, and of course the main altar. Their signals were, in turn, routed through another master console in the control container that served as the master audio hub and visualized the signals coming in via the various submixes. “Obviously, there were several redundancies built into that system,” adds Ramuscak, “to make sure any fault in one component wouldn’t compromise the whole system. But as those things go, the careful planning resulted in them not being needed during the show – everything just worked.
“I cannot emphasise enough what a joy it was to work with such a dedicated and professional team as Remek and his crew,” concludes Ramuscak. “'No' was not present in their vocabulary. This also speaks for GMB as a whole, to have this amount of skilled professionals available.” Kasztelnik himself is justifiably proud of GMB’s achievement. “I’ve said thank you to everyone involved but I can’t pass up this opportunity to once again thank all the people who were involved in this undertaking both at GMB and at d&b audiotechnik. Thank you for your commitment and effort throughout the whole process. Really guys – respect!”
20th October 2016
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