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Bryan Ferry live with Alcons in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

Bryan Ferry live with Alcons in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
Bryan Ferry live with Alcons in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

Germany – PM Blue transports the elegant, seductive sound of the Roxy Music legend with LR18 and LR7 pro-ribbon line array systems.

With Roxy Music he celebrated international successes in the 1970s, in 2019 the now 74 -year-old Bryan Ferry presented his greatest hits once again as part of a major world tour, which led him for five dates also to Germany. Special attention received his concert at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. Here the PM Blue GmbH provided, as a technical service provider, an unforgettable sound experience together with Alcons systems.

PM Blue has been serving the Elbphilharmonie for many years. Even before the planning of the 'Elphi' both companies were connected through the joint cooperation in the Laieszhalle. The team led by project manager Jo Stankowski, as such, also provided the sound system for the concert of Artrock legend Bryan Ferry at the Elbphilharmonie; And as always at the Konzerthaus in Hamburg’s HafenCity, relied on a sound reinforcement system from the Dutch premium manufacturer. For the 360-degree sound reinforcement mainly LR18 and LR7 pro-ribbon line-array systems were used.

The main PA consisted of a stacked five-cluster of LR18/90 compact line-array on a BC543 triple-18" cardioid subwoofer. Right next to it, another BC543 was used. The near field in-fill was taken care of by four LR7/120 micro line-arrays. The rearward projecting sound system consisted of six 3 LR7/120 each on a tripod, supplemented with two out-fills each consisting of three LR7/90, between the main PA and the first rear-fill. This ground setup has proven itself and serves PM Blue as the standard setup for the lower listening areas up to the first ranks. With minor adjustments, it has been used since the first rehearsals. "At the request of the artist, we only doubled the bass here," says Jo Stankowski, senior project manager at PM Blue.

A truss circle placed above the stage was used for the sound system for the upper ranks. This set-up consisted of six ten-piece Alcons LR18/90 arrays for each left / right main, side and rear slope, also a cluster of two Alcons RR12 point-source arrays served as rear-fill for the nearfield. For the low frequency support, a cluster of eight Alcons LR14B line-array bass were mounted.

PM Blue's stated goal is always to make the sound in the concert hall as discreet as possible, a difficult undertaking with 70 loudspeakers in the ceiling, as with Bryan Ferry. "Imaging and fidelity to the original source are of great importance to us, which is why we try to follow the natural 'direction of sound' of the room," Stankowski continues. The world-famous Weinberg hall of the Elbphilhar-monie is designed according to acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota in all its details so that sound is carried from the stage to every seat.

"In order to realise the imaging and the appropriate sound direction here, we worked for a long time on our sound system design and made changes whenever necessary," says the project manager. "Basically, we did a great job when the listener wonders why he sees speakers everywhere, 'the grand piano is loud enough already'."

Of course, the sound characteristics of the speakers used play an essential role in this. "The Alcons systems are doing very well in the Elbphilharmonie," Jo Stankowksi says after more than two years of "Elphi experience". "They are characterised by a very high degree of transparency, which in combination with the already extremely transparent sounding room, simply delivers the best result.

From the beginning, we’ve experienced the Alcons systems as very defined and linear. The speakers provide us with the best possible technical means to control the final result, and every intervention in the signal is faithfully reproduced here. Moreover, they are very precise tools. Results that can also be tracked in the case of the Bryan Ferry concert. "Artists and sound crew were very pleased with the sound in the hall. After handing over, the crew only minimally adapted the system to their taste, especially the volume ratios of the individual speaker groups."

"You often hear that Alcons sound very hi-fi. And that's right. The systems are simply among the best possible sound transducers. Some have difficulty with that, as you can tell by the fact that it is often said that the speakers are not as loud as others. This impression often arises with people who expect the typical distortion of compression drivers with horns at the same sound pressure level. This side effect of non-linear air compression and non-linear deformation of the driver diaphragm at high levels fatigues the listener for a long time, but at the same time is perceived as 'loud'. We counter that with examples such as the concerts of Iron Maiden, Kiss, Def Leppard, Iggy Pop or Volbeat or the presentation at Prolight + Sound last year with PRG. And then there was the Dance Valley Festival: all events that nobody ever thought of 'being pretty quiet'," says Stankowski, laughing.

PM Blue has a wide range of Alcons pro-ribbon systems, including the LR7, LR14, LR14B and LR18 line array systems, as well as the QR36 line-source array, VR8 and BF302 bass systems. For amplified controlling, Sentinel3, Sentinel10 and ALC2 are available in Hamburg.

26th September 2019

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