The Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven is one of Holland's most contemporary music venues. Located in the heart of Eindhoven, its mission statement is ‘to inspire and challenge’ and the center regularly plays host to a series of world famous philharmonics and soloists, as well as contemporary artists such as Emmylou Harris. Welcoming more than 160,000 music lovers every year, the venue recently upgraded its audio system, following a full interior and exterior redesign in 2010.
L-Acoustics KARA system reaches every audience member. Photo credit: Bram SaeysThe Muziekgebouw Eindhoven was designed with absorptive and reflective panels all throughout the room—great for acoustic performances but a challenge for amplified music. Dutch audio provider Sales All was brought in to design a system that could guarantee a high fidelity sound experience to each and every audience member. Sales All’s system designer Ben Brouwers chose an L-Acoustics KARA system.
“It was important to project the coverage of the loudspeaker system on the audience field, avoiding the acoustic panels,” explains Rene van der Linden, Sales All Project Manager. “L-Acoustics line arrays are well known for their precise projection capabilities, so it was an obvious choice for us.”
A 22-box, two-way, L/R KARA system was installed, complemented by eight two-way XT coaxial loudspeakers. Low end reinforcement came courtesy of SB18 subwoofers, which were configured cardioid, to avoid slap-back echoes from the sub-low frequencies from the rear side of the stage. The system is driven via LA8 amplifiers, while a Dolby Lake LM44 processor was chosen for control.
“Because of the aesthetics of the hall and the sight lines, we had to configure a L/R system with perfect coverage both vertically and horizontally, as it wasn’t possible to configure a system with out-fills or a centre cluster. The 110-degree horizontal dispersion of the KARA system made it possible to achieve great results,” adds van der Linden. The shape of the venue is short but wide, so the subwoofers were flown with the KARA arrays. “The KARA system has the advantage of going all the way to 55Hz in the low frequencies, which results in a full-range sound image even for the highest seats,” van der Linden reveals. “In combination with the flown SB18s, the result is a smooth, powerful low impression throughout the entire hall.”
Local concert promoters were consulted during the commissioning phase, as one of the main goals was to provide a rider-friendly system that would be easily accepted by a wide variety of acts. After the design phase, extended testing was carried out with live bands and theatre shows. The KARA was ideal as it could be rigged and de-rigged very quickly with its lightweight chassis, combined with its easy maneuverability. “The total array is divided into two parts, and is transportable in custom made dollies,” says van der Linden. “This results in a very versatile system, which is easy to assemble and disassemble, and that's a huge advantage for the venue, as the shows are so intense, and also very varied.
The system already has its fans. “Thankfully, we've had a lot of good feedback from the venue, and the technical staff that come in with the touring performing artists,” enthused van der Linden. Stephan Vermeeren, Head of Technical Production at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven agrees: “We are all very happy with the end result. The L-Acoustics gear produces an absolutely splendid sound and we are constantly praised about the new sonic qualities of the venue.”