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Amplifying the classics

Amplifying the classics

Norway – Oslo Opera House frequently hosts events that need sound reinforcement, and it needs a loudspeaker system that’s up to the task. To deliver the best possible listening experience for discerning audiences, the venue has installed a flexible solution from d&b audiotechnik.

With regard to acoustic excellence, buildings don’t come much more impressive than the Oslo Opera House, home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. The acoustics at this stunning, waterside building are so good that no amplification at all is required for opera performances. Here, the design is literally all about sound, from the interior spaces and the shapes of the walls and stage, to the materials used for construction.

Although the acoustics at the opera house are world class, there are plenty of occasions when a loudspeaker system is needed. Often, recorded music is used in ballet productions, and the venue also hosts frequent rock and pop concerts. For these types of events, the opera house needs an audio solution that provides an excellent, and highly consistent, experience for members of the audience, wherever they are seated.

When it came to choosing a system, the audio team drew up a wish list. Gerhard Hertzberg, head of sound at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, says: “We didn’t just want a system that could deliver consistently excellent sound for our productions. We also wanted to be able to rig and derig it quickly in multiple configurations to support different types of events, from ballet productions to rock concerts.”

The Oslo Opera House was inundated with proposals. “I think we had 12 companies who wanted to deliver the loudspeaker system, so we had a lot of options and a lot of documentation to look through,” says Gerhard. “Based on an in-depth analysis of all the offers, we picked a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system from local sound company Drammen Lyd, which was the one that met our needs the best.”

The system that Drammen proposed and deployed for the opera house can be reconfigured effortlessly for the show at hand, and additional loudspeakers can be added easily if necessary. Key components include Y-Series line array loudspeakers and V-SUBs.

“Three of us can rig or derig the system in just 15 minutes, which makes it extremely fast and practical to set up for different types of productions,” says Gerhard. “We can rig the loudspeakers high up out of sight for the ballet, and bring them right down for rock concerts to provide the high volume and imaging needed.”

The Drammen designed d&b system is exceeding performance and flexibility expectations, reports Gerhard. “d&b subwoofers use an innovative driver arrangement that creates a cardioid dispersion pattern, which requires just a single amplifier channel. This rejects energy towards the rear, and minimises the excitation of the reverberant field at low frequencies. There is also excellent transient response, which provides impeccable reproduction for the short percussive sounds often used in classical music.”

As well as providing outstanding sound for ballet performances, the d&b loudspeakers are ideal for touring productions to use. As a result, the system is paying for itself very quickly. “Now, all of our visiting artists are happy with the in-house system, which makes it easy to justify our investment with d&b.”

17th March 2016

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