Musical with first‑class sound at the Austrian Stockerau Open Air Festival

September 21, 2012
  • Between July 9 and August 18, some 17,000 musical lovers attended an open-air festival in Stockerau, Austria
  • The rental company, MTR Productions, was responsible for planning and implementing the sound reinforcement
  • An Electro-Voice XLVC line-array and NetMax N8000 controller formed the centerpiece of the sound reinforcement concept
The Stockerau Open Air Festival, which has enriched the cultural life in a small town near Vienna for over 50 years, is one of the longest established open-air festivals in Austria. This summer the rich tradition continued with the production of hit Broadway musical “A Chorus Line”, starring Alfons Haider and directed and choreographed by Mitzi Hamilton. All 23 performances from July 9to August 18 were sold out, bringing the total audience for the song-and-dance spectacular to around 17,000.MTR Productions has handled the sound reinforcement for the Stockerau Festival for the last several years. Three weeks in advance of the premiere, MTR’s managing director, Thomas Millmann, began work on the installation, assisted by Thomas Hasenauer (technical support with Austrian Electro-Voice distributor Signal GmbH) and Jakob Ennser (system technician with Studio Friedrich). The sound reinforcement needed to be balanced, powerful reproduction of the musical playback and live vocals, as well as the highest possible level of intelligibility. Since the installation in Stockerau’s Karl Renner Square remained in place for six weeks, it was imperative that the enclosures be weatherproof.

In view of these considerations, the team led by Thomas Hasenauer opted once again for Electro-Voice equipment – specifically the XLVC line array, a system that is both compact and powerful. Hangs comprised of eight XLD-281 elements each were positioned on each side of the stage to ensure a balanced sonic image with two Electro-Voice Xsubs enlisted to reinforce the bass. Four Electro-Voice Xi1082 loudspeakers provided front fill, while two Electro-Voice RX 112-75 and two ZX1 loudspeakers delivered foldback to the performers on stage. In the wings, backstage and in the dressing rooms, talkback from five Electro-Voice EVI 6.2 loudspeakers underpinned the production logistics, while the entire installation was driven by Electro-Voice power amplifiers (six TG7, five CP2200, and one P3000). The nerve center of the installation was a NetMax N8000 digital matrix controller from Electro-Voice. Located in a side room and equipped with three MI-1 microphone input cards, an eight-channel AO-1 analogue output card and a DM-1 Dante card, the NetMax N8000 allowed the MTR team to control and supervise the loudspeakers throughout each performance. A Dante network, established with glass fibre cables, carried the audio signals to and from the mixer as well as all data, with visualization, supervision, and control facilitated and made intuitive by IRIS-Net software. A secondary network was established as a backup, using CAT5 cables.

“once again, the Electro‑Voice equipment displayed the robustness for which it is famous.”

“The XLD system over the course of the six weeks once again demonstrated its reliability and acoustic class,” said sound technician Thomas Hasenauer, adding that among the greatest challenges posed by this production was the sudden drop in volume each time a passage sung by the entire chorus gave way to a spoken line delivered by a single actor. Here a swift response was required from both man and machine. Fortunately, the hard work in rehearsal paid off.

After several days of heavy rain, the festival organizers decided to move the event indoors to Stockerau’s Festival Hall. To ensure that the excellent quality of the sound reinforcement was maintained in the new venue, a temporary installation – eight Xi1082 and two Xi1152 loudspeakers from Electro-Voice –enhanced the performance of the house system, which featured a NetMax N8000 from Electro-Voice.

“The festival, once again, was an enormous success,” reported Hasenauer. “The intelligibility of the sound was praised in the highest terms – inter alia by Rens Newland, who had produced the playbacks in his studio and remarked as early as the first rehearsals that in view of the transparency of the sound reinforcement system no further sonic enhancement of the material would be required. And, once again, the Electro-Voice equipment displayed the robustness for which it is famous. We have been doing this festival for several years now, and despite the large number of performances involved, we have not had a single system failure to report. That kind of consistency breeds confidence.” Equipment list (extract)

16 x Electro-Voice XLD281

6 x Electro-Voice TG7

5 x Electro-Voice EVID 6.2

5 x Electro-Voice CP2200

4 x Electro-Voice Xi1082

2 x Electro-Voice Xsub

2 x Electro-Voice Rx112/75

2 x Electro-Voice Zx1

1 x Electro-Voice P3000

1 x Electro-Voice NetMax N8000/1500

Indoor variation:

2 x Electro-Voice Xi 1152

8 x Electro-Voice Xi 1082

snapshot, gm/lf, September 2012

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