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Ravenna festival selects d&b Soundscape for ‘most important festival yet’

d&b’s immersive Soundscape system was selected for the Italian music festival

PHOTO: Silvia Lelli

Italy’s Ravenna opera and classical music festival returned in reimagined format last month, with d&b audiotechnik’s immersive Soundscape system at its core.

Ravenna Festival which is in its 31st edition, is a summer festival held in the city of Ravenna, Italy and the surrounding area. The festival began on June 21 and will continue until July 30 but this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it looks far different to previous years. With organisers refusing to cancel the festival, new programmes were put in place to ensure they could offer the best possible experience.

“This is our most important festival yet, people in Italy and around the world have been waiting months to experience the joy of live music,” commented Giulia Artemisia Nicosia from BH Audio, who supplied the audio system for the festival.

This year a large part of the programme is taking place in the open air of the Brancaleone Fortress in the center of Ravenna, where up to 300 people can enjoy the shows live. For those unable to attend, almost all of the concerts will be streamed online. For the audience, as well as the performers, temperature checks and masks are in full effect.

BH Audio selected d&b’s Soundscape to provide an immersive sound experience both for the audience at the festival and those at home.

“We knew we needed a system that would provide the audiences—no matter where they were—with a truly immersive sound experience and d&b Soundscape was the only way to do that,” said Nicosia. “One of the main challenges for the orchestra was the distance between them – which of course has a huge impact on the sound – in order to combat this, we used the virtual acoustic shell with Soundscape to help the musicians hear to each other and simulate better acoustics on stage.”

Two DS100 processors with the d&b Soundscape software plus over 60 d&b loudspeakers, are being used for the live concert: one for the audience and one to create the “virtual acoustic shell” for the musicians.

A third DS100 is being used for the streaming service, to create an enhanced mix for the stereo stream. En-Scene is utilised to virtually position the objects in the stereo mix, while En-Space – simulates the 360°loudspeakers at the venue to create the “concert hall acoustics” through an ambisonic plugin.

“We are using a 360° En-Scene set up in the venue, which combined with En-Space helps us to recreate the acoustics of different rooms depending on the type of performance,” commented Nicosia. “For example, we used the newly acquired 9th room San Vitale, the cathedral, for sacred music, while for the orchestra on the opening concert we used the classical large room which in an open-air environment. The effect that we can achieve outdoors with En-Space really are a game-changer.”