Ber-lin-array

In the second weekend of August, the Museums Insel in Berlin saw (or better “heard”) the first appearance of the Alcons Audio “the Ribbon” line-array system.

The Museums Insel Festival takes place every year on the museum island in Berlin with a range of concerts, right between historic buildings dating back as far as the year 1841. With a performance of US band Calexico the Alcons LR16 cabinets had their successful maiden-trip into the live-sound market.

Götz Berge, owner of Lichtwerk Berlin, responsible for light and sound of the event; “With a concert stage in the centre of Berlin and especially in a cultural place like the Museums Insel (“museum island”) we’ve had to deal with a lot of specific requirements for the audio part. A number of problems had to be addressed, such as limited SPL leakage to other surrounding buildings; Sound pressure level inside the adjacent(!), Berliner Dom (Berlin Dome) had to be as low as 50dB, with services taking place inside the Dome. At the same time, sound pressure on the concert ground itself had to be up to concert standards. Besides the spl, the type of music with many acoustic instruments also required maximum sound quality and fidelity. Not an easy task, taking the numerous buildings (reflections) around the concert ground.

Photo caption: The Ribbon system being used at Berlin Museums Insel Festival, with Berliner Dome on the background.

In March 2003 we’ve asked Alcons Audio if they could provide a solution. As the company was just starting up, I didn’t expect a positive reaction, but Tom Back and his team took up the challenge to have the system ready by August. They’ve done an amazing job.”

Philip de Haan and Jeroen Fortanier, R&D engineers and responsible for the development of the system. De Haan; “we’ve been looking at line-array developments for quite a few years now. Knowing that our pro-ribbon transducer know-how would offer an ideal solution, we thought with Alcons, the time had come to finally put our ideas into development.

Although to many people the ribbon technology seems a “fit-to-function” solution, the flat isophasic wave-front generated by a ribbon transducer doesn’t allow J-shaped array curving. For the required curved isophasic wavefront we still had to develop a special wave-guide configuration, though the ribbon’s cylindrical wavefront gave us ample advantages in the design of course. Our RBN601 6” ribbon transducer, world’s most powerful ribbon driver, was also designed with line-array application in mind. Interested people were able to watch our developments through the website, though it only represents a general overview of the painstaking detailed process.”

Götz Berge; “Another problem was that we were not able to use PA wings for the first weekend of the concert series. To make things worse, the truck from the Netherlands with the Alcons equipment was delayed due to heavy traffic. A typical situation where a sound and light supplier has to act quickly and flexible. Right after arrival, the total rig was set-up in no-time and we simply flew the two rigs in the trussing of the main stage without any problem. The total system of 8 cabinets per side is very compact (only 2m high, 70cm wide), so we could do this without obstructing sightlines.”

Christian Struwe, trained Meyer and V-Dosc operator and responsible FOH engineer:
“I’m very familiar with line-array technology and worked with a large number of different systems. When Götz told me what system would be used, I first had my doubts as I was not familiar with Alcons nor its pro-ribbon technology. But after hearing the first tones of the system, I was stunned; I simply heard details I never experienced before on a concert sound system. I know this all sounds over-positive, but the sound pressure and musicality from such a compact system really are incredible. Superb transients with amazing throw for even the highest frequencies. Because of the very high “gain-before-feedback” we didn’t experience any problems with the system mounted within the main stage tent. Also, it sounds as if the system with its high transient response is less sensitive to the influences of wind too. It will be fun to work with the system with different music styles and engineers in the weeks to come. Reactions of the engineers, visiting colleagues, as well as the audience(!) are unanimously raving. It really sounds like a big “in the face” HiFi system, where you don’t realize that the band is on a distance of 50m.!”

Tom Back, Alcons’ managing director; “I have deepest respect for the Alcons team for the loads of overtime hours they’ve spent to get the system ready, next to their already hectic work to get Alcons in the market. And for Götz Berge in specific, who granted us his valued trust to use a completely new system for this high-profile event, without even having heard the system until the first tones of the concert!”

The Ribbon line-array system will be used in a large number of concerts in Europe, ranging from rock/pop to classic and will see its official market debut at the PLASA show in London, stand FF80.

For more information, visit www.alconsaudio.com/line-array

Alcons background information

Alcons Audio is a Dutch company, active in development and manufacturing of professional sound systems for quality-conscious clients in the cinema, installation and touring industry. Alcons sound systems excel in HiFi sound quality at concert sound pressure levels; Basis for this quality is Alcons’ proprietary high-power ribbon technology. All Alcons speakers and amplifiers/processor are developed and manufactured in house with traditional craftsmanship combined with the latest technologies, materials and production processes.

For more information please contact:

Alcons Audio b.v.

Tom Back
Managing Director
Tel: + 31 (0)229 28 30 90
E-mail: [email protected]

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