Norway’s Stormen venue transforms with d&b

The multipurpose Stormen Konserthuset venue in Bodø, Norway has undergone a sonic transformation thanks to gear from d&b audiotechnik.

The building is an important part of the area’s cultural facilities and houses three venues: the Main Hall, the Small Hall and the SINUS. Norwegian rental and retail firm Drammen Lyd was contracted to install d&b audiotechnik V-Series systems in each area, with a further two portable E-Series systems being acquired, which can be deployed anywhere in the one of the centre’s open spaces.

The Main Hall is the largest of Stormen’s venues and has been designed to serve a wide range of performance styles. “The stage can be completely transformed, from a classical acoustic hall to a theatre stage with the usual proscenium, legs and borders," explained Stormen’s technical director Håvard Christensen. “In the auditorium the reverberation time can be altered by the use of movable absorbers built into the side and rear walls. The Hall has to be able to handle any kind of musical and performance genre so the loudspeaker system and the design needed to be able to accommodate everything from the softest acoustic amplification to thunderous rock. We employed the talents of London-based ARUP Acoustic to make the design.”

ARUP’s James Beer describes the Hall’s logistics: “A unique transformation system has been developed; folding away the proscenium header and sides to continue the width and height of the auditorium into the stage. Three further ceiling panels are flown and hinged into place. A sliding track system allows one person to move the remaining 14m-high side wall panels to slide into place to complete the room, dramatically changing it to a classic shoe box proportion, with the correct volume and providing the acoustic excellence required. The resulting orchestral acoustic has a truly breathtaking clarity.”

Installing a system that could adapt to such a wide range of performance genres, in a room that can radically change shape, was down to Drammen Lyd’s managing director, Rasmus Eide, in collaboration with Jonas ‘Jones’ Wagner from d&b education and application support in Germany.

“In the Main Hall Drammen Lyd supplied a V-Series system, supported by Y7P and E6 loudspeakers,” explained Wagner. “The Y7Ps cover the upper balcony at the front sides that are shadowed by the balcony itself and not touched by the main system, while the little E6s act as front fills on the stage lip. The original plan was to fly the system higher than it is now. But by lowering the system, the audience has a much better orientation towards the stage and also we have achieved a better time alignment between the flown array and the stacked subwoofers.”

Acoustic flexibility was also a defining parameter in Stormen’s Small Hall. Here the amphitheatre style seating is retractable, which alters the properties of the room. The stage is open plan and the venue can be used as an all seated hall for 250, partially seated or completely open plan. The V-Series has been installed and programmed with two distinctly different system configurations to accommodate these variables. The combination of V8 and V12 loudspeakers are supported in the low end with V-SUBs and Q10s that provide front fill. The Hall is used for a broad range of musical performance from classical to jazz and some small rock/pop ensembles.

SINUS is essentially a club venue for pop, rock and jazz acts performing on the open plan stage, to an audience capacity of four hundred and sixty. SINUS has a single balcony and its walls and ceilings have been extensively treated so the club doesn’t disturb other parts of the complex. The combination of V-Series with Q10s for the front fills is repeated here but the V-SUBs can either be ground stacked or flown as an array. Once again the system is programmed with two different configurations: SUBs L/R or a SUB array setup.

The d&b audiotechnik solution is completed with two portable E-Series systems for use in Stormen’s Library and Foyer areas, as required. With its accompanying D12 amplifier, the system is all racked and cased for easy transportation around the complex.

“The products from d&b audiotechnik and the solutions presented by Drammen Lyd were by far the most efficient and the most elegant,” recalled Christensen. “Drammen Lyd has proven to be a very solid partner in the process; very flexible in the way they worked and the after support has been exceptional. We couldn’t be happier.”