The Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, a 2,500-capacity space that’s one of Germany’s largest opera and concert houses, was recently equipped with a new house sound reinforcement system utilizing Alcons Audio QR24 pro-ribbon line-source array column loudspeakers — accompanied by additional components from the company — that help in overcoming the venue’s acoustical challenges.
The project to replace the venue’s aging system had been underway since 2017, with German-based theater consultancy Walter Kottke Ingenieure GmbH commissioned to do the project. The firm’s specialist in charge, Joachim Lindemann, explains, “The system was not only outdated, but also yielded rather sub-optimal results.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.“
Lindemann suggested the QR24 modular array columns for a listening test, which resulted in a highly positive response from Stefan Ibach, audio and video technology team leader at the Festspielhaus, who adds, “In fact, I’ve never heard anything quite like this in this room.”
Following the test, Salzbrenner Media installed two QR24 per side, left and right, and supplemented by a center cluster of four LR14 pro-ribbon line array modules. Three additional QR24 systems each (left/right) wered added to reinforce two upper seating tiers, with six double 5-inch SR9 loudspeakers deployed for near field support. All QR24 units are concealed behind a perforated metal panel in the proscenium, with an array of four BF362 MkII double 18-inch subwoofers bolstering the low end.
“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,” Ibach adds. “The subwoofers are also installed up there. On the stage edge we can add mobile SR9 near field loudspeakers.”
Lindemann notes, “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.”