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Theatre sound: Going to war with 14–18

At 300 x 60m, the Nekkerhal provides a signifi cant technical challenge

stereo in-ears – plus the wireless communication channels, security channels and for control of the moving stage parts throughout the venue, covering a total distance of some 260m – and it’s the fi rst time that we didn’t have any problems with the RF confi guration … for a musical of this size.” Jef Verbeeck, responsible for all the wireless audio connections, echoes the same enthusiasm. “The high audio quality, in combination with the sturdiness of the Sennheiser 9000 beltpacks and MKE1 microphones, is unique, and the ease of use of the Digital 9000 system is incredible,” he says. “We have a fi xed spacing of just 600kHz between every frequency for the 9000 series thanks to the minimal intermodulation. With the Sennheiser WSM [Wireless System Manager] 4.0 I have full control and overview of the wireless situation, and Sennheiser’s technical team [provide] full support during the startup.” For Sennheiser, it was a major challenge to cover such a huge surface with wireless technology. The company’s Benelux technical team designed and developed a unique antenna distribution system allowing them to cover the whole area. “In total, we use six directional and two omni- directional antennas,” comments Christophe Van den Berghe, sales and marketing director at Sennheiser Benelux. “Thanks to the distribution system, we’ve really played it safe to have maximum reliability.

38 l PSNLIVE 2014

change – the TiMax ensures, by means of minimal crossfades, that the transition between the stands’ positions is inaudible for the public. We’ve achieved a delay time of 5m per second, which I gather is quite good, considering the kind of venue we’re in.” Van Hoepen explains that a

comprehensive scheme of the production’s images, positions and settings resulted in a timeline. “Drawing up a timeline is crucial to calculate the position of

live spectacle in Belgium using the audio matrix platform. “Alongside this, we have implemented TiMax in the country’s leading museums and theme parks as fi xed installations,” he says. “Sound designers Marc Luyckx and Guido Olischlager decided to use the TiMax Soundhub-S because of the specifi c demands for the event, with its live surround sound.” For 14–18, Face supplied the newest, fully MADI- controlled TiMax2 Soundhub-S 64 in/out.

“The TiMax allows us to TiMax engineer Thomas Van Hoepen “An extra factor was the

moving décor elements on the playground – like massive metal refl ectors. Knowing that Mechlin is situated in a very dense RF area … we confi gured the system so we can switch in a broad spectrum, allowing us to change frequencies if needed. The 4.0 version of Sennheiser WSM, used during the production, is now MAC-compatible and takes on full control of all Sennheiser wireless devices.” In terms of wireless audio

transmission, 32 channels of Sennheiser D9000 are used in combination with 32 SK9000 beltpack transmitters and 32 MKE1 microphones. The personal in-ear monitoring system comprises six Sennheiser EM2050 (12 stereo in-ear channels) together with 40 beltpack receivers (EK2000 in-ears and IE4 earphones). The brain of the speaker confi guration is a TiMax2

Just married: they’re off to the Somme for their honeymoon

Soundhub-S, controlling the Coda ViRAY cabinet’s roll out during the show. “Each speaker position has a specifi c delay and gain value towards the seats on the stands,” says Thomas Van Hoepen, TiMax engineer. “When the stands move under the cabinets, these values constantly

speaker cabinets vis-à-vis the stands. This process has taken us weeks to accomplish and would have been impossible without the TiMax,” he emphasises. Steven Kemland, sales

manager with Face, distributor of the TiMax2 Soundhub-S, says 14–18 is the second big

re-create a new theatre on every new location where the stands hold, resulting in a tremendous surround effect and perfect intelligibility for all of the 1,880 spectators,” concludes Guido Olischlager. With over 140,000 tickets sold

at the time of going to press, 14–18 is poised to run until the end of summer, making it one of the Low Countries’ most successful theatrical productions ever. The positive attitude of audio equipment manufacturers and distribution companies, in combination with the expertise of the sound designers, specialised engineers and the drive of Studio Haifax as main contractor, results in a must-see/must-hear spectacle for the Great War centenary year. A one-off English version

of 14–18 was staged on 15 June. PSNLIVE 2014

 Photo: Carole Edrich

Photo: Carole Edrich

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