In 2005, the OVAL, designed by lauded Roman architect Massimiliano Fuksas, opened its doors at the EUROPARK shopping mall in Salzburg, Austria. The 227-seat cultural showcase stages unique shows ranging from music, drama, cabaret, cinema and more, and has earned a firm place in Salzburg’s already rich calendar of events. Under the direction of EUROPARK Managing Director Christoph Andexlinger, the OVAL has added another attraction to its offering since July 2020: L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology from L-Acoustics.
Right from the start, the room’s extraordinary architecture, which features a steep atrium grandstand and a 13-meter-wide stage that is only 15 meters from the control room, posed significant challenges to conventional L-C-R sound reinforcement systems. “Thanks to L-ISA, not only was the conventional technology replaced, but a completely new, immersive listening experience was created at every seat,” explains Rupert Pichler, Managing Director of Pansound and project manager for the L-ISA conversion in the OVAL.
The sound design by Martin Rode, Head of Application Install D-A-CH, comprises a Scene system with five arrays of three A10 Wide, evenly hung above the stage and across its entire width, along with two sets of three KS21 subwoofers each, flown horizontally behind the Scene system and configured in an end-fire cardioid array. Five 5XT placed in front of the stage serve as frontfill. Three coaxial X8 per side are placed along the walls, with a further two X8 on the rear wall, and five ceiling-mounted 5XT create surround and overhead sound. The entire system is driven by LA4X amplified controllers.
Signal Sound & Light Distribution, L-Acoustics Certified Provided Distributor for Austria, provided the OVAL system.
Even before the final choice of L-ISA was made, the project team played with the idea of immersive sound reinforcement. “The central requirement was, and is, the optimization of the listening experience,” says Rupert Pichler.
Pichler and Andexlinger first heard the L-ISA immersive sound technology at a demonstration in the L-Acoustics Creations headquarters in Highgate, London. Their decision to opt for L-ISA was based on the flexibility of the technology as well as the audio quality of L-Acoustics systems. “When Rupert Pichler told me about this completely new kind of sound, I didn’t think that it was possible,” explains Andexlinger. “So we went to London to get to the bottom of this auditive ‘mystery’ and experience it live. It was breathtaking. Never before had I heard music from loudspeakers in such a clear way.”
“The EUROPARK shopping center is considered the most successful mall in Austria. With the OVAL, we wanted to expand the offer for our visitors to encompass both art and culture. Initially, we were met with skepticism from artists and artist agencies,” says Andexlinger. “However, we didn’t want an artistic fig leaf in a shopping center, but a stage with its own personality for jazz and world music on the one hand, and a programme of cinema and cabaret on the other – and all this in a combination that makes it possible for both art lovers and newcomers to feel comfortable and be inspired.”
“L-ISA is outstanding,” concludes Pichler. “You hear what you see, and you hear it at every seat in the room. L-ISA technology has brought a completely new listening quality to the OVAL.”