Kotsch-Showtechnik, Martin Audio’s rental partner in Germany, recently provided sound reinforcement headed by MLA Compact arrays in support of live classical music performances at Schlosshofkonzert 2020 in Gotha, Germany.
In order to meet social distancing requirements, the Gotha Thuringia Philharmonic Orchestra moved its concerts for three evenings into the courtyard of the baroque Friedenstein Castle in the City. The trio of performances included a baroque evening, an operetta gala, and a concert with violin and grand piano, each in front of audiences of about 400.
Torsten Kotsch, owner of Kotsch Showtechnik, implemented the sound and lighting design with his team and explains the special features required of classical music reinforcement: “The dynamic range of a classical concert is far greater than at many rock concerts. Since the concerts were open-air, and not in a theater or concert hall, we had to pay special attention to the correct set-up of the system.”
MLA Compact arrays were deployed as the main PA, with the area in front of the stage covered with compact DD12 loudspeakers, with CDD-LIVE loudspeakers serving as stage monitors. “I can connect all speakers via Martin Audio’s VU-Net and control and monitor them in the software,” Kotsch says. “Since we wanted to achieve the same sound experience at all seats, the mix of MLA Compact and DD12 was perfect. Both systems distribute sound homogeneously and thus ensure that all instruments are heard equally at all seats. The CDD-LIVE8s were used as stage monitors, as they have the same properties, and are extremely compact.
“The main PA was rigged continuously in the Castle courtyard for a week. Fortunately, there was no rain on the three days of the event, but there was rain between the days. That didn’t make much difference to the system, however.”
Due to the structural requirements in the castle, the front of house position had to be set very far bac, about 120 feet (40 meters) from the stage. In addition, the many reflective surfaces on and around the courtyard did not make mixing any easier. Here, Kotsch employed a unique function of MLA Compact to help minimize reflections.
“With Martin Audio’s proprietary MLA technology I’m able to set a Hard Avoid preset, among other things,” he notes. :These areas are defined and identified beforehand in the software. The preset for the speakers is then calculated so that as little energy as possible is emitted to these reflective surfaces.” The result was outstanding, and classical music fans and artists alike praised the quality of the sound system. “One guest told me that he found the violins as soft as butter and was very satisfied with the sound. Overall, the conductor and the soloists were delighted with the monitoring.
“And that’s the kind of positive feedback you like to hear—especially in times such as this.”