End Client: WDR (West Deutscher Rundfunk)
Conception and realization of the FOH-mix for an open air event with a symphony orchestra and varying instrumental soloists.
Special challenges / difficulties:
A very big and open round arch stage, different instrumental soloists, very wide listener's surface, television production (as little as possible visible audio engineering), a camera railway directly in front of the stage.
After the great success of the EBU´s young talent competition in 2014, again the WDR hosted this classical music event in 2016 for a second time. And again I was chosen by the cologne based company PADCO to be responsible for the conception and the realization of the FOH-mix. At first glance, the framework conditions seemed to be the same as in 2014.
Like two years before, the same round arch stage was erected at the same spot at the Roncalliplatz in Cologne. But there were considerable changes to the previous event. Compared to 2014, for optical reasons, the height of the scene-surface was reduced by about 0.5 m to 1.5 m. A second "detail" would have made an authentically realization extremely difficult or rather impossible. The reason was a runway for a railcam directly in front of the stage, that had not existed in 2014. So in their tender text the WDR, wanted to have a sound-system without any front-fill loudspeakers. But the lack of strong acoustic impulse information from the direction of the musicians, especially with the use of very high-flown linearrays (L-acoustics K2), quickly results in the subliminal impression of the inexperienced listener that there is something wrong. Thus the optical- (from below) does not match with the acoustic-impression (from above). In 2014 we were able to install 4 Kiva elements into the front edge of the stage. After a lot of convincing work I found a compromise that we were allowed to installed at least 8 very small 5XT loudspeakers into the outer wall of the runway. A further complication to achieve a homogeneous sound impression for the entire audience area was also caused by the camera-railway. It was not possible to lay an array with the sub-loudspeakers across the stage. Therefore, we decided to combine some flown subs with subs on the right and left side of the stage.
Microphone- and mixingboard-constellation remained the same as in 2014. All the Dante-channels were picked up directly from the audio network with an HD-recorder. These recordings gave me the opportunity for further fine tuning the mix after the rehearsal when the orchestra left the venue.
As two years before, I also used my system of runtime-panorama setting and depth adjustment (see EYM 2014) in order to achieve the most realistic sound impression of the orchestra.