Meyer Sound has contributed to the audio design of Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van Oranje) in the Netherlands, a unique musical theatre production in which the entire audience of 1,100 — seated on a turntable 33 meters across — revolves laterally during the performance.
Fourteen identical loudspeaker clusters are spaced evenly in fixed positions with the sets, enabling a theatrical LCR mix with extensive reverb and surround effects, a complex mix that must progress around the loudspeaker clusters as the audience turns. Managing the precise mixing and routing of all audio signals at the show is a Meyer Sound D-Mitri digital audio platform with SpaceMap multichannel surround panning, Wild Tracks audio playback, and a CueConsole control surface.
“D-Mitri and SpaceMap were critical to making the audio work transparently and to full effect,” said Jeroen ten Brinke of ADI Group, the show’s sound designer. “Often the audience rotates while the actors are walking in front of the sets, sometimes moving halfway around the circle while talking. Fortunately, the transition from one speaker cluster to the next is handled seamlessly by D-Mitri, so the sound operator can focus on the mix.”
Adapted from a film of the same name about the heroic struggle of the Dutch underground against Nazi occupation, Soldier of Orange plays in a venue that was purpose-built for the production inside a World War II-era military aircraft hangar. The sets include various indoor rooms and a sweeping beachfront, while for the climactic scene a hangar door opens to reveal a vintage WWII transport plane taxiing up for the triumphant return of Netherland’s exiled queen.
To handle all the audio signal processing, matrixing and intricately pre-programmed panning, the production relies on 14 integrated D-Mitri modules. Two DCP core processors, and a DCM-2 core matrix are at the heart of the system, linked to four each DAI-24 analog input and DAO-24 analog output frames plus one DDIO-24 digitalinput/output frame. Wild Tracks provides audio playback using a DWTRX unit with dual solid state drives, and a DGPIO unit communicates with the turntable automation. Operators mix the show on a CueConsole with one transporter module and five fader modules augmented by four Mac Mini computers and touch-screen displays. Two Apple iPads are available for the RF tech and FOH engineer to monitor different channels and make adjustments remotely during rehearsals and the show.
With several processors distributed around the stage near the inputs and output amplifiers, the D-Mitri system is set up to manage all audio and control data as the audience area and the FOH console revolve.
“You can program almost everything, such as the fade time on the auxiliaries," said Chiel Blaauw, one of two primary sound operators for the show. "I used it for all the monitors on nine different sets. We also used SpaceMap and WildTracks to make flying bombs go around the theatre.”
“I think D-Mitri is one of the best-sounding digital live systems,” ten Brinke said. “Other companies think that 48 kHz is enough, but I can hear the difference in the mix.”