Since its inception seven years ago, Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House (SOH) has always pushed the boundaries, whether in performance style, musical content, or the support structures that underpin it. So when Jeremy Christian, head of sound and AV at the SOH suggested to the festival curator Ben Marshall that he wanted to implement a new piece of control software from d&b audiotechnik, Marshall said, “I’m all for it.”
“It was good timing for us,” said Christian. “Pushing the boundaries is about trying something new, and Vivid LIVE offers a really broad spectrum of contemporary musical content against which to make a judgement on effectiveness and utility. It’s easy to assess something as great, but how easy and useful it is to apply is what really matters.
“When we came to implement d&b’s ArrayProcessing we already knew of its potential from our experience at a d&b event in Germany at the start of the year. Downstream of the festival we have realised there are capabilities within ArrayProcessing way outside our original expectations, and that could have significant benefits for SOH and for our audiences in the future.”
Ralf Zuleeg who heads up d&b’s sales services and application engineering department, went out to Sydney just prior to the festival. “I have a long association with SOH; they have been d&b users for many years now, so it was natural I should be there. But of course Jeremy’s team is more than proficient technically, as you would expect in such a prestigious venue. In fact when it came to it, as we started work in the Concert Hall, it was almost a competition between them and me to see what results we could achieve.”
In a nutshell, ArrayProcessing enables the unification of frequency response in the vertical plane across the whole defined listening area for d&b line arrays. “ArrayProcessing does not eliminate the need for a system to be correctly rigged in the first place,” said Zuleeg. “This is not beam steering – so you map your room in the ArrayCalc simulation software as normal; and of course as we all know, you cannot correct for the horizontal coverage of any line array beyond the physical aim of the loudspeaker system as rigged; that would defy physics.
“ArrayProcessing also allows for the reallocation of energy from any part of the listening area, to any other part, within the confines of mechanical pre-given vertical coverage.”
Continues Christian, “We were originally just going to apply ArrayProcessing in the Concert Hall,” he began, “but we were so impressed with the improvements we decided to do the same in the Joan Sutherland Theatre (JST) as well for the duration of the festival. The JST is home to our opera productions and doesn’t have a permanent large scale sound reinforcement system like the Concert Hall, so we installed a temporary system of d&b V-Series, the smaller cousin to J-Series, which we rented in from Eighth Day Sound Australia.