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Sennheiser to provide 3D music for V&A ‘Revolution’ exhibition

Installation Staff 29 February 2016
Hilbich Sennheiser Genereux

Sennheiser has announced a new collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London for the forthcoming exhibition You Say You Want a Revolution? Records & Rebels 1966 – 1970.

The exhibition will open to the public on 10 September 2016 and run until 26 February 2017, following which it will tour internationally. Sennheiser will provide immersive sound utilising its AMBEO 3D audio technology delivered through a guidePORT audio guide system.

Curated by Geoffrey Marsh and Victoria Broackes, the curatorial team behind the V&A’s David Bowie is, the new exhibition is designed in six distinct sections. It will explore the late 1960s through hundreds of exhibits from the V&A’s extensive collections alongside a selection of loans that range from design, music, film, fashion and consumer products to photography, posters and books. It is designed by Nissen Richards Studio, with video content designed by Fray studio, and sound design by Carolyn Downing.

Music will play a key role in the exhibition, said Broakes: “The music running through You Say You Want a Revolution will represent the backbone and heart of the exhibition; it will be an object in itself. Therefore, we are delighted to be working with Sennheiser once again. Their expertise in 3D immersive audio will push the limits of the sound experience still further.”

Working closely with the exhibition’s sound designer Carolyn Downing, the Sennheiser team, led by system designer Norbert Hilbich (left of picture), will be setting up two AMBEO 3D audio soundscapes. One will place visitors in an immersive environment evoking the political issues and fight against censorship and the establishment of the late 1960s while the other will recreate a live concert atmosphere with upmixed audio material from the period.

Hilbich told Installation that the new exhibition will contain a lot more music than David Bowie is. “We have quite a big bunch of songs that they think we should transfer to 3D audio, but the process is not finished. There are plenty of ideas – we now have to [think about] how we put it into operation, what will it sound like, which part of the songs we should take and so on.”

After being set up in the studio, Hilbich added, the mix will be adjusted on site to suit the acoustics of the venue – as was also done with the Bowie exhibition.

Visitors will be accompanied through the exhibition by a Sennheiser audio guide system. The guidePORT system will deliver hundreds of personal, automatically triggered stereo feeds simultaneously. It will transmit real-time, lip-sync audio to fully immerse visitors in the sights and sounds of the late 1960s. The system at the V&A will comprise 750 receiver units with high-quality headphones, along with several transmission and trigger units that will be hidden from sight.

Robert Genereux (right of picture), business director system design at Sennheiser, said: “The headphone part [using the guidePORT system] will be similar, but along the way they are going to create ‘disturbances’ in the headphone experience in different sections. This will be a little bit of a difference [from] the guidePORT experience for Bowie, which is uniform all the way from the beginning to the ‘show moment’.”

Daniel Sennheiser, CEO of Sennheiser – pictured (centre) holding a replica of a 1968 set of Sennheiser headphones – commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to cooperate with the Victoria and Albert Museum on yet another fantastic project. The V&A is uniquely positioned to curate an exhibition about this transformational time in our more recent history. The artistic quality of the exhibition together with spectacular exhibits and an innovative state-of-the-art sound experience, featuring Sennheiser’s AMBEO 3D audio technology, will make this exhibition a truly immersive experience.”

Photo: Dave Robinson

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