A world-renowned concert hall for orchestral music, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw is reinforced with a new Meyer Sound MINA™ line array loudspeaker system for its amplified events. The self-powered system is designed to be flown and ready within an hour, and removed for unamplified symphonic concerts.
Both coverage and voicing of the MINA system are optimized for the 1,974-seat hall’s natural acoustics, featuring a reverberation time of 2.8 seconds when empty and 2.2 seconds when filled.
“Our goal was to give The Concertgebouw a system that was consistently better than what was available from outside rental companies,” says principal system designer Jan Panis, an accomplished engineer who specializes in reinforcement for modern classical music. “It was a challenge, because the same acoustics that make The Concertgebouw splendid for unamplified music are problematic for amplified concerts. MINA’s clarity, purity, and lack of coloration are qualities exceptionally well-suited to this application.”
MINA has been well received in its new home, according to Alfons Hutschemaekers, theatre technology coordinator for The Concertgebouw. “With this system I don’t hear the speakers, I simply hear an open and spatial sound,” he says. “I particularly like how it reproduces vocals and the brass in big bands.”
The system provides total front and back coverage with two flown arrays, each featuring 11 front-facing MINA loudspeakers, one MINA loudspeaker for the extreme side balcony, and three MINA loudspeakers aimed to the rear for the choir/organ loft seating. On the floor, six UPM-1P loudspeakers supply front fill, while two USW-1P subwoofers anchor the low-end frequencies. The system also includes an Allen & Heath iLive FOH console.
The dedicated array configuration streamlines workflow, according to Hutschemaekers. “Saving time is a critical issue, since we have so many programs with very short periods in between,” he points out. “The system has been a tremendous time saver.”
In addition to its sound quality and discreet profile, the self-powered benefits of the MINA system are also essential in this application. “We have main arrays, side fills, and rear fills all in one array, with no amplifiers in the attic, which is a difficult place to reach,” says Panis. “One technician can put the system up in an hour, where it can take a full crew four or five hours with other externally-powered systems.”
The MINA loudspeakers are used for jazz and pop shows, as well as for augmenting soloists in symphonic concerts. In addition to the resident Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, acts that have used the new system include the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jazz Orchestra of The Concertgebouw, and Brad Mehldau. Artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Tori Amos, and Roy Hargrove are scheduled in the coming weeks.
Designed exclusively for The Concertgebouw and kept on site when not in use, the MINA arrays are owned by PME-Téchnica, a new collaborative enterprise formed by Jan Panis and associate Koen Keevel. The sale was facilitated by Meyer Sound distributor Audio Electronics Mattijsen (AEM).
Permanent Meyer Sound systems are heard in all other smaller performance spaces of The Concertgebouw. The Small Hall is equipped with four UPJunior™ VariO™ loudspeakers and two UMS-1P subwoofers, The Choir Hall features seven UPJunior loudspeakers and a USW-1P subwoofer, and The Pleinfoyer has four UPM-1P loudspeakers and a USW-1P subwoofer.