d&b brings Sydney Opera House Vivid LIVE festival to life

The Vivid LIVE festival at the Sydney Opera House (SOH) is offering an improved audio experience thanks to the implementation of d&b’s ArrayProcessing control software.

“It was good timing for us,” said Jeremy Christian, head of sound and AV at the SOH. “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.”

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,” explained Ralf Zuleeg, who heads up d&b’s sales services and application engineering department. “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.”

The consensus opinion of the Concert Hall audio team was that following the implementation of ArrayProcessing the improvements in the direct to diffuse ratio and the reallocation of sound energy to the more distant listening positions rendered delay loudspeakers became ‘completely redundant’.

That has several implications for Christian: “We were originally just going to apply ArrayProcessing in the Concert Hall, 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.”

“Implementing ArrayProcessing means using d&b’s new D80 amplifier to drive everything,” he continued, “and that’s predicated on one amplifier channel per cabinet, so although many d&b products are passively crossed and only require one channel per box, the gains with which we are familiar in linking two V-TOPs together on one channel are lost. The fact that ArrayProcessing means we no longer need to deploy delays in either of our main performance venues is highly significant, and the truth is we can easily see places where we can usefully redeploy our delay loudspeakers elsewhere in the building.”

“ArrayProcessing has added one of those incremental gains that make the system even more amazing,” Christian concluded. “Although Vivid LIVE was a temporary installation we already see some great opportunities ahead; in the JST we have experimented for several years now with 3D sound. Based on what we know already it’s easy to see how the addition of ArrayProcessing could impact the listening experience. We have a very realistic prospect of sculpting out a quieter zone within the audience listening area. Patrons could preselect seats in that area; now that really is listening à la carte.”

Photo Credit: Daniel Boud