In Vendéspace in western France, a Meyer Sound Constellation® acoustic system helps transform a sports arena into a premier classical music hall on demand. The audacious multipurpose building project began when the local government realized funds were available for only one structure. As a result, two seemingly contrary uses were combined into a single, architecturally daring, and cost-effective new venue.
“Most multi-purpose venues provide slight acoustic differences between shows as similar as theatre and opera, but certainly not as different as sports and symphonic music,” says Marc Asselineau, acoustician for the consulting firm Peutz France. “It was also a difficult acoustical challenge with the multiple staging and seating configurations.”
Asselineau deduced that, by building an acoustically dead space suitable for amplified music, he could use active acoustics to enhance the ambience for concerts and sporting events. Working with Martin Morillon, Vendéspace director, the team selected a Constellation system.
“We went to Laboral Teatro in Spain to hear a demonstration and listened to a chamber music rehearsal,” says Morillon. “In such a large space, we were amazed at the acoustics, balance, and volume of the music coming from only five instruments.”
Asselineau adds: “Constellation was an excellent solution for Vendéspace, as it does not introduce any coloration into the sound. It was also the most economical option, and it has demonstrated that it can cope with the extreme variability of event staging.”
The installation in the Grand Hall of Vendéspace has more seating capacity than any Constellation projects, providing 4,100 seats for sporting events such as basketball. Other entertainment events can employ either longitudinal or transverse staging. The venue’s transverse “lyric” configuration seats about 2,300 for classical music concerts, while the venue can accommodate 4,900 fans for amplified music.
The system employs 49 distributed microphones for sensing the ambient physical acoustics, and a D-Mitri® digital audio platform with five VRAS™ processors for each distinct reverberation zone. Fifty-eight UltraSeries™ loudspeakers and 12 subwoofers recreate natural room reverberation across the full audio spectrum. One early reflection zone is dedicated to a virtual orchestral shell that can be deployed when needed. Multiple presets allow use of Constellation for any staging and seating configuration.
“At our recent event on the ATP Challenger Tour, the tennis court sounded like it was right at your feet, even in distant seats,” says Morillon. “And with every concert, the conductors, musicians, and artistic directors are all convinced of the quality of the Constellation system.”
For amplified events, Vendéspace features a flexible system of 18 MICA® line array loudspeakers, eight JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers, and eight 700-HP subwoofers. The MICA loudspeaker arrays can be hung under the retractable center scoreboard for high-volume sporting events. For voice announcements, six UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers in the Constellation system can be re-purposed as a distributed system with a preset. The reinforcement system was designed by Cyril Ubersfeld of Best Audio and installed by Tech Audio, both of Paris.
Future events at Vendéspace include volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, ice-skating shows, the St. Petersburg Ballet, a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and pop concerts by Christophe Mae and James Blunt.
Vendéspace is located near the city of La Roche-sur-Yon and is owned and operated by the General Council ofVendée. It was designed by French architect Paul Chemetov.