Soldier of Orange
The revolving seating used for the premier of Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van Oranje) required 14 identical loudspeaker clusters evenly placed withing it sets to serve its 1,100-strong audience.

The 33m-diameter stage in the purpose-built TheaterHangaar makes more than 30 stops in front of the surrounding sets, where the loudspeakers deliver a complete theatrical LCR mix with extensive reverb and surround effects – a complex mix that progresses around the loudspeaker clusters as the audience turns. Projection screens also play an important part in the production, and these move to keep pace with the audience seating.

Managing the mixing and routing of all audio signals at the show is a Meyer Sound D-Mitri digital audio platform with SpaceMap multichannel surround panning, Wild Tracks audio playback, and a CueConsole control surface. ‘D-Mitri and SpaceMap were critical to making the audio work transparently and to full effect,’ says Jeroen ten Brinke of ADI Group, the show’s sound designer. ‘Often, the audience rotates while the actors are walking in front of the sets, sometimes moving halfway around the circle while talking. Fortunately, the transition from one speaker cluster to the next is handled seamlessly by D-Mitri, so the sound operator can focus on the mix.’

Soldier of OrangeAdapted from director Paul Verhoeven’s film of the same name, Soldier of Orange tells of the struggle of the Dutch underground against the Nazi occupation. The Netherlands production plays in a venue built inside a World War II-era military aircraft hangar in Katwijk. Inside, the sets include various indoor rooms and a sweeping beachfront, while for the climactic scene a hangar door opens to reveal a vintage WWII transport plane taxiing up for the triumphant return of Netherland’s exiled queen.

To handle all the audio signal processing, matrixing and intricately pre-programmed panning, the production uses Meyer Sound D-Mitri modules to serve the 14 stacks of Alcons LR14 speakers. Two Meyer Sound DCP core processors, and a DCM-2 core matrix are at the heart of the system, linked to four  DAI-24 analogue input and DAO-24 analogue output frames, plus a DDIO-24 digital input/output frame. Wild Tracks provides audio playback using a DWTRX unit with dual solid-state drives, and a DGPIO unit communicates with the turntable automation. Operators mix the show on a CueConsole with one transporter module and five fader modules augmented by four Mac Mini computers and touchscreen displays. Two Apple iPads are available for the RF tech and FOH engineer tomonitor different channels and make adjustments remotely during rehearsals and the show.

With several processors distributed around the stage near the inputs and output amplifiers, the D-Mitri system manages all audio and control data as the audience area and the FOH console revolve. Chiel Blaauw, one of two primary sound operators and also a programmer of the system, was impressed by the power and flexibility of D-Mitri: ‘You can program almost everything, such as the fade time on the auxiliaries. I used it for all the monitors on nine different sets. We also used SpaceMap and WildTracks to make flying bombs go around the theatre.

Soldier of Orange‘Surround-sound is essential for this production and my first thought was to place all speakers on the turning wheel itself,' ten Brinke says. ‘This was not feasible though, because of the weight and the momentum when turning the wheel. We therefore created a stationary system with 14 line array clusters. I selected the LR14 because of the linear response and the high sound quality.’

As well as from the flown subwoofers, a second stack of subs is located underneath the seating for sound effects.

‘I always look for the best possible sound quality,’ ten Brinke explains. ‘The FOH position is placed with the public and is also moving. The Meyer Sound Dmitri/CueConsole system has around 120 input and 120 output channels, so routing all these analogue lines to the console was not realistic. The function of each line array cluster changes continuously from front to side or surround and we therefore decided to go all digital.’

‘I think D-Mitri is one of the best-sounding digital live systems,’ adds ten Brinke, noting that D-Mitri’s 96kHz converters were critical in the system’s selection. ‘Other companies think that 48kHz is enough, but I can hear the difference in the mix.’

The D-Mitri system was provided by Rentall bv, based in Bemmel, with Roland Mattijsen of Audio Electronics providing project support.

D-Mitri digital audio platform is a powerful network-based system that covers the entire audio chain, from microphone input to loudspeaker output, incorporating multichannel distribution, recording and playback, and show control automation. D-Mitri provides audio A/D and D/A conversion at a 96kHz sample rate and 24-bit resolution, and is one of the first audio products to adopt the emerging AVB audio video bridging standard, making it a true real-time system that allows multiple network devices to respond to a command at the same time.

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