Metallica's only solo show in Germany so far in 2006 (June 6 at the Waldbühne in Berlin) proved a spectacular occasion, with more than 22,000 fans of the legendary heavy-metal group treated to sound of superlative quality, thanks to sound company TSE AG and team leader Marcel Fery’s decision to deploy Electro-Voice X-Line, Midas consoles and Klark-Teknik controllers.
The Waldbühne is a notoriously difficult venue from a sound reinforcement perspective. One problem is its sheer size: The distance between the stage and the last row of seats is more t han 110 meters; another is the 270-degree spread of the audience; a third challenge is the 105-meter difference in height between the stage and the highest row of seats. Further difficulties are posed by the status of the site as a national monument and the proximity of nearby housing. A way had to be found to provide even coverage of the entire audience area without disturbing residents a mere 500 meters away; needless to say, the noise abatement regulations in force at the venue are particularly strict.
With all these problems in mind, Fery and the crew from TSE opted to deploy an X-Line array for the main P.A. and center-fill, combined with 16 additional delay systems in the galleries. The system was driven by Electro-Voice P3000 power amplifiers and managed by DN 9848 controllers from Klark Teknik. Synchronizing and balancing the system involved the programming of more than 28 different delay times and filter curves.
"The systematic use of delay times allowed us to provide optimum coverage of the audience area, while at the same time taking the sensitivities of nearby residents into account," says Fery. Not only was the system tested in advance and exhaustive SPL measurements taken to ensure any spillage remained strictly within the statutory limits, but a considerable degree of flexibility was also built in to ensure the level could be lowered—if need be—in the sections closest to the residential area, without the rest of the audience noticing the difference.
Fery says, "We decided in favor of the X-Line because our past experience of the system has been unfailingly positive, and, in this location in particular, where precise directivity and homogeneity are all-important, the X-Line is the perfect system."
Not only was the audience delighted with the results, but so was "Big Mick" Hughes, who, as Metallica's FOH man for almost 20 years, is clearly an authority on good sound. "The whole system worked outstandingly," he says. "There was no shortage of power in the bass or penetration in the midrange, and that was true not only at the FOH position, but throughout the venue."
For more information, visit www.electro-voice.com.