Alcons acts discreetly in Esbjerg

AUTHOR: Inavate

Esbjerg’s Performing Arts Centre (Musikhuset) recently expanded with a new theatre that seats 500 people. The in-house sound team wanted a system that could fit into the sides of the proscenium and turned to Alcons Danish distributor, Ascon Trading.

Esbjerg, a harbour city on the rugged west coast of Denmark, hosts many diverse cultural activities ranging from Rock & Roll concerts, theatre, ballet and opera. The Musikhuset attracts 150,000 visitors a year but has always been hampered by the fact that it lacked a medium sized venue for theatre. The resulting new theatre was designed by architect Jan Utzon and his father Jørn Utzon: famous for his design of Sydney’s Opera House.

“Choosing an appropriate PA system was more difficult than first envisioned”, said Paul van Zijl, in-house sound technician. Together with facility manager Christian Søvad they took from Utzon’s design philosophy, and placed people in the centre of that decision. “Many modern theatres today have big line array systems, flown high above the proscenium and this was just not an option for us,” they continue “these flown systems detract from the total theatre experience, not just aesthetically but it also places the sound source high above the audience

“What we wanted was a sound system that could be built into the sides of the proscenium, hidden from view and covering the whole hall including a balcony”.

They contacted Alcons’ Danish distributor, Ascon Trading and sent over technical specifications of the theatre for analysis. The Alcons Q-series, which is a group of modular line-source array columns, was judged to be suitable for the task.

Van Zijl said: “The QR36´s proved to be perfect in the ability to be recessed into the side of the proscenium: two for the floor and two above these for the balcony along with the BF302 subs neatly hidden from view underneath the proscenium”.

After the installation, the system had to be aimed and tuned to deliver the crisp and clean sound to the audience, without unnecessarily exciting the room, which was done by Ascon in conjunction with Alcons’ system tech Niels Janssen.

“The tricky part was to give full sound coverage to the balcony, whilst not reflecting of the front wall of the balcony itself,” says Mikael Sørensen, consultant for Ascon. “We knew from the computer simulations that it should work, but actually hearing it was so convincing, to be able to cover the hole balcony with just two boxes was a big eye opener.”