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Amadeus designs new speakers for major Paris music complex project

Paddy Baker 1 April 2015
Philharmonie de Paris (Copyright William Beaucardet)

The newly opened Philharmonie de Paris, a state-of-the-art building complex designed to host international symphony orchestras, including the Orchestre de Paris, features Amadeus speakers throughout its various musical venue spaces; from the Large Rehearsal Space with public seating, to Practice Rooms, to the Grande Auditorium and the Music Exhibition and Conference Rooms, plus the two on-site recording studios. Amadeus speakers used in the project include various sizes of its DIVA, PMX, ML, and MINITRI Series, with over 50 Amadeus speakers installed in the landmark building complex.

Some of the speakers created specifically for the project have now joined the Amadeus product line-up, and will be on show at Prolight + Sound.

The project – to create, develop and optimise the speaker systems for the Philharmonie’s high level of acoustical, architectural, and aesthetic requirements – spanned several years. It was a collaboration between Amadeus, which manufactures  high-end sound reinforcement systems and recording studio speakers, architecture practice Ateliers Jean Nouvel and theatre consultancy dUCKS Scéno. “The Philharmonie de Paris was probably the longest and the most complex project that we have completed over the last 10 years at Amadeus. It is also among the most rewarding!” comments Gaetan Byk, marketing manager at Amadeus.

With previous works including the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre, the DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen and the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, Jean Nouvel enlisted the services of two leading acoustic consultants, Sir Harold Marshall of New Zealand and Yasuhisa Toyota of Japan.

Amadeus’ director of research & development, Michel Deluc, says, “Our collaboration [with dUCKS Scéno] began with the development of 14 customized point source speakers for the acoustical canopy of the Symphonic Hall.” Suspended over the auditorium, the mobile canopy, resembling a flat cloud, can be positioned at different heights above the stage; large areas of curtains that can be deployed differently for different repertories and genres.

Deluc continues: “The requirements were practically unrealizable. The technical, thermal and acoustical constraints pushed us to develop two new series of self-powered and EtherSound-enabled point source loudspeakers, with custom associated accessories to optimise both the directivity control and the mobility of the speakers.”

The newly developed speaker series includes the PdP 10 ES and PdP 12 ES speakers (PdP for Philharmonie de Paris) that ensure perfectly uniform coverage and an excellent spectral quality throughout the Grande Auditorium’s seating for 2,400 listeners. The sound is evenly distributed between the floor seating area and on the ‘floating’ balconies around the central stage.

Jean François Mathais, an equipment scenographer, who worked for dUCKS Scéno on the project, comments: “Amadeus got deeply involved in this very complex project, attentively taking in account sound design and users. Amadeus was the only manufacturer to accept to design ‘made to measure’ loudspeakers, to satisfy mechanical or electronic demands. The Philharmonie de Paris’ ‘Full-Digital’ concept raised no problem for them; they adapted seamlessly to the compatible final format.”

The new large-capacity Philharmonie symphonic concert hall (2,400 seats) is based on the concept of envelopment. The room consists of two nested chambers – an inner floating seating area producing visual and acoustical intimacy between audience and performer, and an outer space with its own architectural and acoustical presence. This unique design required innovations in architecture, stage design and acoustical engineering.

The 280sqm stage features motorised platforms that can accommodate even the most imposing orchestral formation. The hall is also equipped with a Rieger organ, 15m high and 20m wide, specially designed for the symphonic repertory. The ‘enveloping’ layout of the auditorium extends through a series of foyers, which serve as the passageway from pre-concert activities to the start of the concert event. With large windows looking out onto the Parc de la Villette and beyond, the foyers connect the building to city life.

The complex also houses a 2,000sqm education centre where an estimated 120,000 young people a year will be invited to try their hand at playing a huge assortment of musical instruments. The complex has 15 workshop spaces, as well as a recording studio. Each space is equipped with one Amadeus MINITRI (a self-powered 2.1 studio monitoring system, equipped with three high definition power amplifiers). The recording studio is equipped with a pair of the new flagship Amadeus speakers co-designed by Jean Nouvel to be announced later in 2015.

With the large rehearsal space being as much of a “performance space” as a practice area that can accommodate large ensembles, the Philharmonie de Paris employs its own FOH engineer, Bruno Morain. He explains: “I enjoy the expertise of the Amadeus team; the Philharmonie de Paris install is typical of Amadeus’ core goal: to create the best possible adaptation of an audio system to its environment, and to fine-tune the system to get the best sounding results.” The large rehearsal space features Amadeus DIVA M arrays and DIVA M 18 LF extension speakers as well as Amadeus ML 18 X subwoofers and PMX 15 and PMX 15 S models to fill out the sound in the large space.

The Philharmonie is not just a concert hall, but features a ‘Museum of Music’ as well. This section of the complex features eight Amadeus DIVA XS speakers paired with dual Amadeus ML 15 subwoofers. The first exhibitions show major musical trends and key musical figures, while the permanent collection presents a panorama of musical life from the 17th century to today. In March 2015, a special exhibition about the rock artist David Bowie was shown.

In the 5.1 surround studio within the Philharmonie complex, a special set-up of 10 of the new Amadeus speakers co-designed by Jean Nouvel, create an extremely ‘high-fidelity’ listening experience. This speaker, named ‘Philharmonia,’ will be unveiled during the Prolight + Sound tradeshow April 15-18, 2015 in Frankfurt, in the Amadeus booth (Hall 8.0 Booth G19).

Here is an overview of Amadeus speakers used in the new Philharmonie de Paris building:

Large Rehearsal Space (featuring public seating):
DIVA M high-power array loudspeaker (1 x 8in LMF + 2 x 1in’ HF): five units per side
DIVA M 18 high-power LF extension loudspeaker for DIVA M (1 x 18in LF): two units per side
ML 18 X high-efficiency subwoofer (1 x 18in LF) : one unit per side
PMX 15 high-efficiency 2-way passive loudspeaker (15in LF + 2in HF): one unit per side
PMX 15 S high-efficiency loudspeaker with passive/active switch on rear panel (15in LF + 2in HF): one unit in centre mode

Education and Musical Initiation Rooms
MINITRI self-powered 2.1 studio monitoring system with satellites varnished beech finish : 14 units

Music Exhibition Room
DIVA XS ultra-compact array loudspeaker (2 x 5in LMF + 1in HF): four units per side
ML 15 high-power compact subwoofer (1 x 15in LF): one unit per side

Surround Sound Studios
New Amadeus ‘Philharmonia’ speakers, co-designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel

Grande Symphonic Hall
PdP 10 ES self-powered active loudspeaker with built-in EtherSound digital input card (10in LF + 1in HF): 12 units
PdP 12 ES high-powered active loudspeaker with built-in EtherSound digital input card (12in LF + 2in HF): two units

Lab.gruppen amplifiers were used throughout the whole building in many of the spaces where non self-powered Amadeus speakers were installed.

www.amadeusaudio.fr
philharmoniedeparis.fr/en/

Picture: (c) William Beaucardet

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