Schauspiel Hannover

Part of the Niedersächsische Staatstheatre, the Schauspiel Hannover stages theatre, entertainment and music in five venues. In addition to the Schauspielhaus on Prinzenstraße, these are the Cumberlandsche Bühne, the Cumberlandsche Galerie, and Ballhof Eins and Ballhof Zwei. After renewing the Schauspielhaus mixing desk two years ago, the next step was the recent modernisation of the main and back-stage sound system.

The venue serves a wide range of performances and supports them as required – readings, concerts and multimedia performances with high technical needs demand more of the PA. ‘We are seeing an increasing demand for microports in theatre productions,’ says sound engineer Markus Folberth.

For the sound system, the sound engineering department sought homogeneous coverage of the entire auditorium, as well as good speech intelligibility: ‘In addition, the old system audibly reached its limits in music productions and then quickly sounded fatiguing,’ says Lutz Findeisen, the venue’s head of the sound/video department. ‘The staff of the sound department wanted to find their musical sonic tool. We were looking for a real extension of the expressive possibilities of the sound reinforcement.’

It was also important to integrate the new portal sound system as inconspicuously as possible in the building, so that stage designers are minimally restricted in their design freedom. The set-up times for the employees should also be kept as short as possible. After comparing line array systems from various manufacturers, an Alcons solution was selected – a main PA system comprising 24 LR14 compact pro-ribbon line-array systems (ten 90° and two 120° per side), supplemented by a centre system of six LR7 micro pro-ribbon line-array systems and two BF151 and BF362 subwoofers. For back-of-stage, two Alcons RR12 pro-ribbon point-source arrays and a BF362 subwoofer are used per side. All systems are powered by a six Sentinel10 4-channel amplified loudspeaker controllers.

For mobile use, there are a further four Alcons VR12 monitor, four VR5 mini-monitor, two BF362 subwoofers, two Sentinel3 and one Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

The entire sound engineering team was involved in the decision-making process: ‘We agreed that Alcons could cover the widest range of productions,’ explains Findeisen. ‘In addition, we noticed positively that the pro-ribbon drivers never sound harsh, even at high sound pressure levels. The systems have an unobtrusive directness – a sympathetic, natural resolution in speech and music. So we can create the sonic proximity to the events that we had wished us in advance. The compact design and appearance were also convincing.’

After the tender and award procedures, the Alcons system was installed and commissioned by Thomann Audio Professional at the end of January 2019. ‘On the first day, we completely removed the old PA and reinstalled all the hardware. During the rehearsals on the following two days, Thomann discretely pulled and put on cables so that we could do the hand-over at the end of day three’, Folberth recalls.

‘During calibration, we made small angle corrections and optimised the response. Now all participants are more than satisfied with the quantum leap. The actors are also happy about the improved sound quality and speech intelligibility. Specifically the precise projection has surprised many performers positively. We as sound engineers can offer a precise monitoring accordingly.’

Particularly exciting were the running productions, systems were switched from one to another completely different system. ‘The changes were less complicated than expected,’ Folberth reports. ‘There were no big level changes in the overall mix required. However, you can hear a lot more detail now. Frequently, reverberation has to be reduced or filters have to be removed.’

More: www.alconsaudio.com

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