Edinburgh, Scotland (December 7, 2021)—Running annually for nearly 75 years, the Edinburgh International Festival is one of the best-known cultural events in all of Scotland. For three weeks, festival-goers immerse themselves in live performances; usually they do so indoors, but this year’s edition required thinking outside the box—by taking things outside, period.
On the grounds of Edinburgh’s Junior Academy and the city’s Old College Quad, two custom built pavilions, a hundred meters long, were installed like giant bubbles, roofed, but open sided for free-flowing fresh air. Helping retain the acoustical signature of being indoors, the festival made use of d&b audiotechnik’s d&b Soundscape technology to provide an acoustic shell for classical music performances.
Initially, Edinburgh International Festival had an informal, exploratory, chat with sound design consultants, Sound Intermedia, whose David Sheppard ultimately collaborated on the project with d&b’s application support specialist, Adam Hockley, and the technical providers.
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Hockley set to work designing and building the Soundscape system in ArrayCalc, d&b’s proprietary simulation software; his system design concept was applied to both venues. The entire product infrastructure was installed and supported by local d&b partner FE Live, which provided two Soundscape systems as well as a d&b KSL rig on the Park Stage.
A 180° source orientated design using En-Scene would effectively sync sounds to their source, uniting the ears and eyes for a more intuitive listening experience. En-Space would enable the virtual acoustic shell using a 360°configuration for surround, plus loudspeakers in the ceiling to create the acoustic signature of a concert hall.
“Generally speaking, the acoustic properties of a concert hall are essential for the natural amplification of acoustic and orchestral music,” says Hockley. “So, what we’re really doing is asking audiences to suspend their disbelief—not only to believe they’re sat inside a concert hall, but to experience music acoustically, as if it were unamplified from distances far greater than is typical in such venues. In this way, Edinburgh has really demonstrated the power – and the subtlety – of the Soundscape toolkit.”