Ravenna, Italy (July 9, 2020)—Cancelling this month’s annual Ravenna Festival in Italy, running through July 30, was never an option, so regional audio provider BH Audio took on the challenge of providing sound that would give visitors to the opera and classical music festival an uplifting audio experience. That entailed deploying a d&b Soundscape immersive sound system to bring it to life.
Now in its 31st year, the Ravenna Festival is facing the same COVID-19 concerns seen around the world, so new programs were put in place to ensure the organizers could offer the best cultural and artistic experience to an audience while simultanously keeping it safe. “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 program is taking place in the open air of the Brancaleone Fortress in the center of Ravenna, where more than 300 people can enjoy the shows live and thousands more can watch the shows streamed online. For the audience, as well as the performers, temperature checks and masks are in full effect.
BH audio turned to 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 that, we used the virtual acoustic shell with Soundscape to help the musicians hear to each other and simulate better acoustics on stage.”
Making that happen are a pair of DS100 processors with the d&b Soundscape software, plus more than 60 d&b loudspeakers; one processor handles audio for the audience while the other provides a virtual acoustic shell for the musicians.
Meanwhile, for audiences watching from home, a third DS100 is being used for the streaming service, to create an enhanced mix for the stereo stream. En-Scene is utilized to virtually position the objects in the stereo mix, while En-Space simulates the 360° loudspeakers at the venue to create concert hall-like acoustics through an ambisonic plug-in.
“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—in an open-air environment. The effects that we can achieve outdoors with En-Space really are a game-changer.”
d&b audiotechnik • www.dbaudio.com