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Denmark's Aarhus Theatre Upgrades to Meyer Sound M'elodie System
Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city is also the oldest with recorded history dating back to the year 951. In this context, the 19th century Aarhus Theatre, which hosts numerous theatrical, dance and musical performances throughout the year, and houses three schools for acting and theater arts, is relatively young. Yet it was the recent upgrade to a Meyer Sound M'elodie ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker system replacing the original Meyer Sound system that brought the theater's audio into the 21st century.
Now, thanks to Meyer Sound's Danish dealer Nykøbing-Falster-based Hercules Productions, Aarhus Theatre residents, performers, and guests alike can experience pristine sound in the theaters' main venue and the second hall, Scala.
"As long as I can remember, Aarhus Theatre has had a reputation as pioneers and trendsetters in Denmark, known for great sound and for their very skilled and creative sound engineers," says Hercules' Jens Couriol. "So we were very pleased when Kim Engelbredt, their head audio engineer, asked us, along with Meyer Sound Germany and the company's European Technical Support team, to design new audio systems that would complement their unique architecture."
Designing sound systems for the theater presents a host of challenges. The rooms were built well before amplification was a consideration, which makes it difficult to achieve good sound in them. And since it is a historic building, preservation of the structure is essential. After careful consideration, Couriol and team chose M'elodie for the task because of its exceptional power-to-size ratio. "The M'elodie system made it possible to achieve the coverage we needed, with very little visual impact," Couriol explains.
In addition to the six M'elodies, the system utilizes five UPM-2P ultracompact narrow coverage loudspeakers to enhance high frequencies at the uppermost rows of the second balcony, and a row of seven MM-4 miniature wide range loudspeakers to cover the front rows. A pair of CQ-1 full-range wide coverage main loudspeakers located in the proscenium boxes provides stereo imaging for the boxes and the first balcony, while a pair of UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers provides stereo enhancement for the second balcony.
Low frequency coverage is handled by two 600-HP compact high-power subwoofers that are built into the proscenium boxes, and a pair of M1D-Sub ultracompact subwoofers provides low end to the second balcony. Two 650-P ultrahigh-power subwoofers are built in under the stage to provide extra low end for dramatic theatrical effects. A Galileo loudspeaker management system utilizing two Galileo 616 processors drives the entire system, including delay, equalization and level control.
"The self-powered design enabled us to control every cabinet individually via the Galileo system. It would have been almost impossible to adjust a system of more than 40 speakers without the Galileo and SIM systems," says Couriol.
An upgrade in the main theater also meant an upgrade in Scala, the second room, and a new life for the previous Meyer Sound system still in excellent condition after 20 years of service. Using the SIM 3 audio analyzer, a left-center-right system was designed using two UPA-1C cabinets (upgraded from the original UPA-1A) in each cluster position, with UPM-1 loudspeakers for frontfill, and a delay system of three additional UPM-1 boxes to enhance coverage to the back row seating. One USW-1 subwoofer per side completes the Scala system.
Designed by Danish architect Hack Kampmann as an Art Nouveau building, the Aarhus Theatre is the largest provincial theater in Denmark. In addition to hosting award-winning theatrical performances and diverse cultural events including the "Tibetan Temple Dance," the theater also provides drama training programs for actors and technicians.