Two live performance spaces at the Landesfunkhaus Niedersachsen (State Broadcast Station) in Hanover, Germany, part of regional public radio and television broadcaster Northern German Broadcasting (NDR), recently underwent an audio upgrade designed around L-Acoustics Kiva II and A Series loudspeakers.
The two venues include Kleiner Sendesaal, a 350-seat hall that plays host to corporate and music events, and the 1,250-capacity Großer Sendesaal that has been primarily used for the NDR Radiophilharmonie, which produces more than 100 concerts each year.
“The ever-increasing sound quality requirements, coupled with the rider requirement of incoming productions led us to look for a new, optimized sound system that can take us into a new era of audio,” explains Ingo Schwarze, music production team leader at Landesfunkhaus Niedersachsen.
Following an assessment of available options that fulfilled the team’s requirements, two systems were retained and Theapro was commissioned to start the final comparison round, with L-Acoustics emerging as the choice following both technical sound measurement and listening tests. “Apart from the requirement for a distortion-free reproduction of certain acoustic levels such as headroom, the list of key criteria included achieving uniform possible coverage of the entire auditorium,” Schwarze says. “We also needed a system that would eliminate wall reflections, attain high speech intelligibility, and attenuate sound onstage.”
The team was also working with architectural requirements. There were clearly defined rigging points with weight limitations, height restrictions for film performances where loudpeaker hangs would need to be clear of the cinema screen, and pre-configured placement of side and front fills.
L-Acoustics sales manager Sebastian Wittrock and Martin Rode, head of application, install, created the system design. The final configuration for the Großer Sendesaal comprises left / right hangs of seven Kiva II and two SB15m subwoofers in a cardioid arrangement. Three L-Acoustics SB18m subs are positioned as mobile stacks on either side of the stage, while five Kiva II are deployed for side fill. For front fill, nine 5XT coaxial loudspeakers are evenly spaced across the stage lip, and one 5XT per side also serve for out fill.
“Kiva II excels in the large hall, where the hexagonal floor plan makes it exceptionally difficult to achieve uniform sound distribution,” Schwarze says. “Previously, we had major problems with reflections, frequency cancellations and the resulting poor speech intelligibility. With Kiva II, those issues have been noticeably improved.”
The Kleiner Sendesaal is equipped with left / right hangs of one A10 Focus and an A10 Wide. Two mobile stacks of two SB18m subs are positioned left and right, again in cardioid mode. “A Series was chosen for the small hall as the team wanted a full-range system that could also be highly versatile, since subs can’t be flown or placed there,” explains Wittrock. “A Series Panflex variable directivity gives us the ability to steer dispersion in the horizontal plane, preventing unnecessary reflections from the walls.”
The full system implementation was done by Amptown System Company. “We are really satisfied with the system design for both halls. Our early experiences with the overall sound are extremely positive, especially the low frequency range which, even without using the mobile SB18m subs, is impressive,” he concludes. “We are very much looking forward to the first post-pandemic shows with physical audiences and are confident they will appreciate the excellent sonic quality of the new system.”