Old Acquaintances AMBION and CODA Audio Celebrate New Year in Berlin

Germany’s biggest New Year’s Eve party – ‘Willkommen 2024’ took place in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and was broadcast live for several hours by ZDF Television. The event featured spectacular live performances from leading German artists. An estimated 3.5 million TV viewers watched the spectacle, hosted by well-known presenters Andrea Kiewel and Johannes B. Kerner, with around 65,000 spectators present at the event. Such a prestigious occasion demanded exceptional audio, and full-service production specialist AMBION GmbH was engaged to deliver on-site sound production as well as set construction for the main stage.

AMBION supplied CODA Audio systems to meet what was a challenging brief. Whilst the sound systems were required to cover a very large area, they also had to take account of the sight-lines of many TV cameras and be as discreet as possible. Florian Vollmer, Senior Specialist Planning and Head of Sound Technology at AMBION describes the scale of the task:

“It’s true that the specifications were quite demanding! We had to cover the entire area from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column, all with a limit of 84db. In total, this was a distance of almost 2.5 km, which required uninterrupted sound at the desired level.”

Florian began planning for the show three weeks before construction began, creating a Vectorworks plan to be used to generate a detailed CODA Audio System Optimiser file, before checking the various band riders and liaising with other contractors to see what infrastructure could be shared:

“CODA’s System Optimiser played a central role in the system configuration. We used it to calculate an extremely realistic result in advance so we could clearly see what was needed at which position.”

Based on his calculations the ‘Willkomen 2024’ set-up deployed almost 300 loudspeakers from across the CODA Audio range. The main L/R comprised 14 x AiRAY and 3 x SC2-F subs per side with a centre L/R of 8 x N-RAY per hang. 2 hangs of 12 x N-RAY provided the out-fill, with 9 x APS for near-field. A sub-arc of 36 x SCP-F completed the main PA.

A further inventory of AiRAY, ViRAY and N-RAY was used for delays, ensuring that every member of the audience across the large site experienced premium quality audio throughout the performances. A total of 46 x CODA Audio LINUS14D and 24 x LINUS10 DSP amplifiers were used to drive the systems.

As is customary with televised shows of this kind, the visual requirements were demanding. Florian reflects:

“It was important that loudspeakers were ‘invisible’, but that everyone could hear everything perfectly everywhere! We were able to rely on the super-compact dimensions of the CODA units to achieve our aims, particularly centre-stage where we opted for a left/right slope instead of a cluster hanging in the middle of the set. We kept the near-field to a minimum and concealed the subs underneath the stage deck.”

AMBION’s efforts were rewarded with an extremely positive response from every stakeholder. The unrivalled event was a great success both on the ground and on TV, kicking off 2024 in great style.



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