TC Showtechnik takes a jump with EV

AUTHOR: Inavate

TC Showtechnik has handled sound reinforcement for a ski-jumping competition at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen leg of the Four Hills Tournament. The company turned to Electro-Voice for XLD line array elements and an N8000-1500 loudspeaker controller.

The Four Hills Tournament is followed avidly by enthusiasts throughout the world. This latest 58th edition of the tournament, ski-jumping's unofficial world championship, ran from December 29, 2009 to January 6, 2010 and comprised four competitions on four different slopes.

Traditionally, the Garmisch-Partenkirchen leg of the tournament (the other venues being Oberstdorf, Innsbruck and Bischofshofen) takes place on New Year's Day in 2010, for the eleventh year in a row, the task of providing the sound reinforcement was entrusted to the Weilheim-based production company TC Showtechnik. The company’s Martin Schulze and Stefan Rehthaler once again turned to Electro-Voice. The centrepiece of the solution proposed by TC Showtechnik for the event, which was watched live by 25,000 spectators and followed by millions more on TV sets throughout the world, was the XLD compact line array from EV.

"We had already used the XLD last year and the year before, and our experience with it each time was outstandingly positive," explains Schulze, "not only because the system delivers brilliant and powerful sound but also because it is extremely compact and absolutely weatherproof." The ability of equipment to perform in inclement conditions is of crucial importance to any outdoor production, but this year's crop of winter sports events are posing a particularly severe challenge. "We had temperature swings of around 30 degrees Celsius: plus 15 degrees and more during the daytime and minus 15 at night, with blizzards, freezing fog and rain," recalls Schulze. "A real endurance test for any system."

The main array this year comprised sixteen EV XLD281 enclosures mounted on fourteen-meter towers, with eight of Dynacord’s V17 cabinets (flown) and six EV Xsubs (stacked) providing added pressure in the low frequency range. To ensure even coverage the length of the 140m viewing area, Schulz decided this year to introduce a delay line consisting of eight EV XLDs.

This year's competition also marked the debut of TC Showtechnik's newly configured amp rack. Only six rack units in height, this nonetheless boasts no fewer than sixteen power amplifier channels. The "ultra-compact and ultra-flexible rack", as Schulze calls it, is equipped with two EV CPS4.10 amps and one Dynacord DAS 8805. "We tested the rack in Straubing with the XLD as well as a variety of PX series loudspeakers and were immediately convinced," says Schulze.

In addition to the size of the area to be covered and the extreme weather conditions, the Garmisch-Partenkirchen leg of the Four Hills Tournament poses a number of other tricky problems for the team responsible for the sound reinforcement. With the event being covered live by both TV and radio broadcast teams, and numerous interviews being conducted in the course of the event, there are certain areas of the venue into which the background music and announcements are not allowed to penetrate. Fortunately TC Showtechnik has at its disposal an indispensable tool when faced with this type of problem: currently the most powerful loudspeaker controller on the market, the Electro-Voice N8000-1500 makes it easy to provide compartmentalised coverage.

"In the 'Mixgate' (where the interviews are conducted at Garmisch-Partenkirchen) and the area around the commentary booths, the level needs to be markedly lower than elsewhere," explains Schulze. "Six decibels lower, to be precise. The N8000-1500 allows us to intervene with forensic precision on a segment-by-segment basis, in this way meeting whatever conditions are imposed." To the complete satisfaction, evidently, of the organisers and representatives of the media. "We received nothing but positive feedback," states Schulze.