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Alcons system ensures optimal sound at German theatre

Management wanted a discreet system for voice and music – but skilful calibration was required to avoid low-frequency resonance near the orchestra pit

The Duisburg Theater am Marientor in Germany has replaced its ageing and maintenance-intensive PA system with a new Alcons Audio system consisting of 18 LR14 pro-ribbon line array, six SR9 as nearfill and four BF362MKII for bass support and three Sentinel S10. For installation and calibration of the Alcons system, Uwe Biesgen, an Alcons-experienced sound engineer, was called upon.

The theatre has gone through a number of changes since being built in 1995. Originally the home of the popular musical Les Misérables, it is now home to the Duisburg Philharmonic and today is mainly used for show, tour and TV productions. The main hall has 1,546 seats, which are distributed evenly over parquet and rank.

The brief for the new sound system was for a discreet system equally suitable for voice and music transmission.

The Alcons LR14 is a passive two-way line source system. Thanks to Alcons’ multi-patented mid-range and high frequency pro-ribbon transducer technology, the LR14 offers a completely linear response with excellent speech intelligibility and uncompressed tonal balance at any sound pressure level. The ultra-compact size combined with the lightweight neodymium drivers guarantees easy handling.

The operator of the Marientor Theater was anxious to place the new speakers as far out of sight as possible. At the same time, as far as possible, direct sound should be generated below the rank. Precise calibration and appropriate curving allowed for both requirements and, in combination with the four SR9 speakers, achieved the best possible near-field transition to the PA. For this purpose loudspeakers in 90° and 120° configuration were used.

The four BF362 MK2 subwoofers have been distributed evenly on stage and in the uppermost boxes. “Here it was important to note that the construction of the orchestra pit and the resulting first two rows resulted in a bass resonance in the range of 70Hz to 160Hz and 300Hz,” explained Stefan Heynen, freelance sound engineer at the Theater am Marientor and owner of QSS Quality Sound Systems. By optimally calibrating, a solution could be found and an optimal sound coverage could be achieved throughout the room.

Torsten Köppen, technical director of the Marientor Theater commented: “The Alcons system has met all our requirements, but it has also been and is very lucrative in terms of price. In addition, it is compatible with all other systems and can be easily extended; With visiting productions, it can also be quickly de-rigged and re-installed.”