Dusseldorf, Germany (June 1, 2011)—This year's Eurovision Song Contest hosted a battle of a different sort: d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers versus the Espirt Arena’s massive metal roof.
"The roof structure is enormous, all corrugated metal," said head of sound for the live event Jochen Jensen. "With a reverberation time of six to eight seconds, it was absolutely critical we keep sound energy from hitting the roof, or reflecting off the floor up to it. My first thought was, who are the specialists who can help me with this? I called Ralf Zuleeg at d&b audiotechnik and asked if he could help. It will require a big commitment from d&b, I warned him."
"Yes of course we wanted to do it," said Zuleeg, "Who wouldn't?" The resulting system, comprising over 300 loudspeakers, embraced three main elements from the d&b range of products Q, J and T-Series, for different functions.
"In collaboration with my old friend Jochen, we conceived a distributed system solution that properly delivered the correct direct to reverberant ratio throughout the venue," explained Zuleeg. "In simple terms, a set of three concentric circles of PA radiated out from the main stage. The first ring needed to point acutely down onto the front rows of the audience; and consider this: We had to fly every part of the PA above 18 meters to be clear of the camera angles. For this, the Q-Series with its lighter weight and slightly narrower dispersion angle proved ideal. We adapted the Q rigging system to take flying frames top and bottom of the line array to achieve the necessary acute downward angle. For the next two rings, the J-Series took the main role; here the need to tilt down was not so acute, but the throw distances were typically 55-65 meters. Finally, the T-Series was used for the upper 'nosebleed' seats at the very top of the grandstands; here the audience were so high relative to the stage that the need to use a physically smaller line array that could still deliver the required punch without blocking their sightlines was essential."
All d&b equipment was supplied by Crystal Sound with support from the wider d&b network, overseen by Simon Klumpp, with all consoles front of house and monitors provided by Neumann & Muller. Jensen pronounced it a job well done, "they all did an excellent job. This show was all about performance; the PA system, the personnel, and most importantly the artists themselves. All produced a world class result."