Maastricht, The Netherlands (January 29, 2007)–The small city of Maastricht, at the southern tip of The Netherlands, is wedged tightly between the borders of Germany and Belgium. Here, it sits astride a crossroads of European culture, a place where traditional artistry mixes with modern mass media.
Sound engineer Renco van der Giasen (left); and Erik Meij, head of the Vrijthof Theatre’s audio department, check out the Meyer Sound M’elodie line array.The focal point for the city’s thriving performing arts community is the Vrijthof Theatre. Behind the Vrijthof’s historic 1809 façade lies a new auditorium, completed in 1990. The 954-seat venue offers a varied calendar of performances, from drama and dance to pop and classical concerts. To provide this full range of events with the best possible sound reinforcement, the Vrijthof recently installed a system of self-powered Meyer Sound M’elodie ultra-compact, high-power, curvilinear-array loudspeakers, the first M’elodie installation in The Netherlands.
The size and shape of the venue pointed to a line-array solution, so the theater’s technical staff scheduled extensive comparison tests of various manufacturers’ systems. At the conclusion of the process, the theater’s chief sound engineer, Eric Meij, tipped the decision toward M’elodie.
The completed system comprises left and right arrays, each having 12 M’elodie cabinets flown under a single 600-HP compact, high-power subwoofer. The flown subwoofers deliver bass impact to the balcony seats, while two more 600-HP cabinets are ground-stacked to cover the lower level. According to Jasper Ravesteijn of Meyer Sound’s Netherlands distributor, Audio Electronics Mattijsen, the split upper-lower subwoofer design works very well. “The balcony subs are up very high, and don’t interact with the floor-level 600-HPs,” he explains. “The ability to integrate the 600-HPs into the M’elodie arrays was key to making this kind of design possible.”
The results were quickly praised by Meij: “This room is difficult for the subwoofer range, but, fortunately, we know the specific frequency that causes problems. We put a notch at the point, and suddenly realized what a powerful tool the 600-HP can be. The power-to-size ratio is truly unbelievable.”
A particularly striking feature of the Vrijthof Theatre’s new system is the horizontally flown center cluster of eight M1D ultra-compact, curvilinear-array loudspeakers. According to Ravesteijn, the unusual configuration was a result of extensive, and imaginative, application of Meyer Sound’s MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program during the design process. “The reverberant walls and the large, steep balcony got us looking into some unconventional strategies,” he remarks. “What started out merely as an interesting idea proved to be very effective when we put the data into MAPP. The M1D’s 100 degrees of horizontal dispersion was exactly what we needed for the vertical. Doing that gave us the freedom to determine a specific horizontal pattern that fit the room precisely. Some minor modifications to the QuickFly grid made it possible to securely fly the M1D array horizontally with a professional appearance.”
Completing the system is a pair of UPA-1P compact, wide-coverage loudspeakers to cover the front corners, and a Galileo loudspeaker management system for drive processing. The Galileo system’s Compass control software is installed on a WiFi-enabled laptop computer to allow precise system processing adjustments from any seat in the house.