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EXCLUSIVE: d&b has new PLAN for sound

PA maker to tackle noise pollution by teaming up with German 'neighbour'

German loudspeaker manufacturer d&b audiotechnik is teaming up with a specialist team of software designers and consulting engineers to formulate radical plans to tackle noise control and environmental sound reinforcement at key events.

The maker of speaker solutions such as the J-Series line array is partnering with SoundPLAN, an organisation based in Backnang, the same area of Germany that d&b is headquartered, offering expertise in noise control, air pollution and environmental protection. The collaboration was revealed during Reproduced Sound 2015, the annual conference organised in the UK by the Electro-Acoustics Group of the UK’s Institute of Acoustics.

At the conference, Dr Elena Shabalina of d&b’s R&D acoustics department in Backnang made a detailed presentation of how d&b’s ArrayCalc modelling software can be combined with SoundPLAN’s noise mapping program to harness its advanced algorithms in the service of a multiple-source line array configuration typically used at outdoor festivals and on other large-scale concert sites. She went on to explain how data collected by d&b from specific sites is currently being used to calibrate the link to SoundPLAN’s technology.

“The standard SoundPLAN package, which is called SoundPLANnoise, will be able to read a d&b ArrayCalc project file and treat the multitude of sources in the project as correlated sources, in the context of its noise propagation calculations and mapping functionality,” says Matthias Christner, team leader R&D acoustics at d&b audiotechnik in Germany. “The development of this interface is in the final state of verification against pre-aquired data from several outdoor events.”

“We are more or less neighbours,” adds SoundPLAN’s managing director Jochen Schaal, speaking of d&b audiotechnik, “and both companies are working successfully in acoustics, but in quite different fields. Some years ago, probably 2011, I thought we should meet sometime and discuss if there were any topics that could connect the two companies.

“I was introduced to d&b through a friend, Achilles Bückle – who is a building physicist and an expert in room acoustics – and having a cup of coffee together was the beginning of what we see today. At the beginning there was just the interest and the commitment from both sides to do something new, innovative and maybe crazy together. After knowing and understanding the strengths of both partners the idea for this project was born, and we might have some more in mind for the future.”

The collaboration promises a new generation of noise-sensitive sound reinforcement solutions just as regulations tighten around large-scale entertainment events for which d&b audiotechnik and its many pro-audio partners are leading suppliers.

Pictured (L–R): Steve Jones, John Taylor, Elena Shabalin and Matthias Christer (all d&b) and Jochen Schaal, MD and founder of SoundPLAN, at Reproduced Sound, the annual conference organised by the Electro-Acoustics Group of the Institute of Acoustics