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d&b audiotechnik Dives Deep At l’Hydrophone In France

Concert hall within new creative space at former World War II submarine base outfitted with V-Series arrays optimized with ArrayProcessing.
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d&b V-Series arrays flying in the concert hall at l’Hydrophone in France.

In 2017, the city of Lorient, France decided to invest in converting a portion of delinquent submarine base dating back to World War II into a center of creativity dedicated to nurturing the culture of contemporary music, with the result being recording production facilities as well as a 500-capacity concert hall equipped with d&b audiotechnik V-Series line arrays optimized with ArrayProcessing technology.

The imposing structure — now rechristened l’Hydrophone — houses five rehearsal studios and two master control rooms for recording and broadcast purposes, as well as offices, dressing rooms, catering facilities and more. There’s also a second, more intimate concert hall known as Le Club deliberately designed to be a less intimidating space in which young and emerging talent can perform that’s served by two d&b Vi10Ps per side, four Vi-GSUBs and four M6 stage monitors.

The equipment for both rooms was supplied by the d&b regional distributor Eurolive and installed by local Lorient-based rental company and integrator Galloud Sonorisation. For Mathias Alonso, manager of the Hydrophone the brief was straightforward. He wanted a high quality, compact sound system that would be capable of handling all types of contemporary music.

“At the time we were using Q-Series which sounded far better than anything else I had used up to that point,” Alonso notes. “When the rental company – Eurolive actually upgraded to V-Series, I was even more impressed. The amount of power generated by such a small system combined with the clarity and definition of the sound put everything else in the shade.”

Having reviewed a variety of options, Alonso decided that his choices ultimately came down to two brands. Alonso contacted d&b’s Thomas Ebran to discuss the possibilities amd it became clear that the solution would be the 3-way, 10-inch V-Series.

“V-Series offers the perfect power-to-size ratio for Hydrophone with plenty of headroom while remaining compact and visually discreet,” says Alonso. “Power output, directivity and coverage are tremendous. The competing solution was so much bigger and more cumbersome to achieve the same power output, it ended up being a very easy choice.”

On Alonso’s wish list, although not incorporated into the initial spec due to budget constraints, was d&b’s patented ArrayProcessing technology. “The difference made by applying the ArrayProcessing algorithms is nothing short of stunning,” he says. “Even working with what is already an excellent system that is optimally set up and tuned, when you hear it again with ArrayProcessing, it’s like night and day. If you have the budget to do it, because it means effectively doubling your amp count, it’s worth every cent.”

ArrayProcessing works by analyzing the performance of the array at a large number of receiver points along the listening plane. A powerful filtering algorithm is implemented within d&b’s ArrayCalc simulation software to optimise the tonal balance of the system so that each audience member enjoys the same auditory experience wherever he/she is in the room. It also enables precise control of level over distance, defined by the user this tool compensates for any anomalies in the room including differences in temperature and humidity.

“It really is the most amazing tool,” Alonso concludes. “The sound is completely natural and transparent, and you can hear every detail of every instrument without straining your ears. The reactions so far have been 100 percent positive. Indeed, the results surpassed even our own expectations, so yes, we’re delighted. A big thanks to all at d&b. Dealing with d&b and their partners (Eurolive and Galloud Sonorisation) has been a pleasure and I know we can count on them for future support.”

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