Held every year in the Danube Park in the Austrian town of Linz, the Klangwolke multimedia festival encompasses three concerts of modern music with and without high-tech visualisation, attracting audiences of up to 150,000. The big one is the Visualisierte Linzer Klangwolke, which features specially commissioned musical and visual compositions, accompanied by lasers, video projections, fireworks, trains, cranes and balloons.
Each year, the theme changes. ‘BABY JET’, this year’s story of a futuristic train that can exceed Mach 1 speeds travelling through a vacuum tunnel, brought the audience face to face with 500 metres of specially installed rails, a rail jet and a steam engine, all lifted into place over the Danube by crane. This “thriller” was played out to a soundtrack by Peter Valentin on a mighty distributed sound reinforcement system, using seven specially erected steel towers made exactly to fit the NEXO GEO T line arrays.
Audio designer and network sound specialist Wolfgang Peschmann from WOPE Audio Technologies was appointed to design the extensive system, for which he used a clutch of software packages, including EASE and NEXO’s new NS-1 calculation programme. From a Venue D-Show Profile console at front-of-house, the network reached out across a sizeable stretch of riverside in front of the Linz Brucknerhaus concert hall.
Setting up the front-of-house control position was a challenge in itself. With a huge area set aside for the VIPs, the control position could only be sited directly beneath one of the PA towers. And, with all the equipment was set up inside a 20’ office container, it was impossible to achieve a representative sound image at the console itself, requiring Peschmann to operate the system remotely.
“We achieved this by setting up a wireless network with directional outdoor antennas, giving us a solid network coverage all over the listening area. My iPad was a brilliant remote control for the D-Show console, as well as for controlling all of the EtherSound network and the digital components such as the NEXO NX242s. I had total control of everything wherever I went in the listening area.”
From FOH. the signal from the D-Show runs via AES/EBU to the ES881v2 and from there, over EtherSound to the AuviTran AVM500 network matrix which acts as the central distribution point for all the digital network and distributes to the steel towers, via Allied Telesis media converters.
Sitting on their 22-ton concrete bases, six of the PA towers were carrying 18x GEO T line array modules and the seventh, angled obliquely to the main theatre of operations, held 18x GEO D10 cabinets. All processing for the NEXO speaker components was handled by NEXO NX242 TD Controllers fitted with EtherSound extension cards. For the towers, and the 40+ NEXO CD18 subs beneath them, more than 100 CAMCO Vortex amplifiers were required to guarantee smooth and even coverage of the whole audience area, allowing for poor weather conditions.
A substantial number of NEXO PS10s and PS15s were also deployed to cover the VIP audience areas, to provide fills in front of that area, and to smooth out coverage around the base of the PA towers.
Often referred to as the classical Klangwolke, a second big outdoor event uses the same location and much of the NEXO distributed PA system. Performed by the Bruckner Orchester of Linz, the concert serves as the opening event of the city’s Bruckner Festival, played in the Main Hall of the Brucknerhaus and relayed to a large audience outside on a huge video screen.
All the audio signals were transmitted to the outdoor PA over fibre optic using EtherSound network protocol. Peschmann’s team cleverly adapted the system design, creating virtually a 6.1 surround set up (with GEO T arrays either side of the video screens plus the big PA towers, the signal was actually 4.1, the outermost towers on either side being used only to widen the audience listening area).
Peschmann, a regular user of NEXO technology, highlights the contrasting content of the two big events: “GEO line arrays delivered a powerful sound and the required SPLs when they had to compete with huge fireworks and machine noise during the visual performance. By contrast, the systems were perfectly able to paint a clear and detailed picture of the classical performance, even in pianissimo.”
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