Festspielhaus Baden-Baden Takes A Quantum Leap
With a capacity of 2,500 seats, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden is considered Germany’s largest opera and concert house. However, the huge concert hall is acoustically challenging. A recently installed Alcons QR24 pro-ribbon column speaker system is reliably mastering these challenges.
The project to replace the aging sound reinforcement system of the Festspielhaus had been underway already since 2017. The German-based theater consultancy Walter Kottke Ingenieure GmbH were commissioned to do the job. The specialist in charge, Joachim Lindemann, reports: “The system was not only outdated, but also yielded rather sub-optimal results. Due to its size and wall surfaces, the hall creates a reverberation of more than two seconds. Great for concert performances but very problematic for sound reinforcement of any kind. The more sound energy you release into the room, the more response you receive in return. Unless the throw is super directional, one will eventually lose control of the sound at some point.“
“The sound of the Alcons speakers is very transparent and high definition, they are suitable for both speech and music sound reinforcement of all kinds. Acoustically, it’s a quantum leap for us at the Festspielhaus compared to the old system.“ Stefan Ibach, Festspielhaus A/V team leader
Lindemann suggested an Alcons QR24 modular line-source array column system for a listening test. While listening to it, Stefan Ibach, team lead audio and video technology at the Festspielhaus, “almost fell off his chair,” the planner is pleased to report. “In fact, I’ve never heard anything quite like this in this room“, Ibach agrees.
16 x Alcons QR24 main system hidden in the proscenium
During the summer break, two QR24 4x 6,5” (left / right) systems were installed, supplemented by a center cluster of 4 LR14 pro-ribbon line array systems. Three additional QR24 systems each (left / right) were added for the sound reinforcement of the two tiers. 6 double 5” SR9 complement the system for near field support.
An array of 4 BF362 MkII double 18” subwoofers provides for additional bass. All QR24 units were hidden behind a perforated metal panel in the proscenium. The installation was carried out by Salzbrenner Media.
The QR24 is a modular 2-way column loudspeaker that can be used as a scalable vertical array system for permanent and mobile applications. The system combines linear dynamic 1:1 sound reproduction with excellent speech intelligibility and can be used in the most acoustically challenging environments.
“To acoustically compensate for the widely spaced proscenium towers, we additionally opted for a center cluster to cover the floor in front of the stage.” adds Stefan Ibach. “The subwoofers are also installed up there. On the stage edge we can add mobile SR9 near field loudspeakers.”
Joachim Lindemann adds: “Thanks to their very favorable form factor, the QR24s could be installed in the proscenium without any difficulty. Installing line arrays instead was therefore never an option – for optical and acoustic reasons, because arrays were often unable to separate the individual zones in the hall and repeatedly emitted too much acoustic energy into the hall. And that’s exactly what we were trying to avoid.”
“A quantum leap compared to the previous system”
Lindemann expected right away that the QR24s could be the solution to the sound reinforcement problems in the hall: “Alcons speakers offer the most directional radiation in the HF section you will find on the market. That’s why the QR24s are able to deliver very precise audio on the floor and the two tiers, while causing as little reflection as possible from walls and balcony parapets. This, in return, means that we can easily apply volumes well above 100dB and still achieve crystal-clear sound.”
“The sound of the Alcons speakers is very transparent and high definition,” Ibach agrees. “They are suitable for both speech and music sound reinforcement of all kinds. Acoustically, it’s a quantum leap for us at the Festspielhaus compared to the old system. Additionally, handling the system with the ALControl software is intuitive – one gets the desired results very quickly.“
More information on: www.festspielhaus.de