First opened in 1816, Trondheim’s Trøndelag Teater is the oldest Scandinavian stage in continuous use. A major 1990s rebuilding project saw the original auditorium, the Gamle Scene (The Old Stage), incorporated into a modern complex which added three further stages of different sizes. This year, further investment has seen an Alcons QR24/QM24 pro-ribbon audio system installed in the Gamle Scene.
The new system comprises five Alcons QR24 and QM24 modular, pro-ribbon column arrays per side, powered by two Alcons Sentinel 10 amplified loudspeaker controllers. This isn’t the first time the theatre has seen an Alcons Audio system, with installation firm Trondheim Lyd having been commissioned based on another installation it performed for the theatre.
“When we were choosing a new sound system, it was of course very important that it sounded great,” says Jomar Johansen, head of production at Trøndelag Teater. “The room has a unique acoustic quality, while the other main factor was that we needed a system that could adapt to the style and be a modern part of a listed baroque stage from 1816, which is also used without speech amplification.”
“We use headset microphones for many of our productions and we don’t want to spend a lot of time dealing with feedback issues,” adds the theatre’s Erlend Aune. “We needed a system that was loud and clear but, at the same time, very clean. We have productions featuring both live bands and pre-recorded playback, so the system had to sound great through the entire frequency spectrum, with enough headroom for speech on top of the music.”
By using only two RBN high frequency drivers, which are each 12in long, the QR24’s active frontal radiation is close to 90%. This results in sharply controlled vertical dispersion, which promises to deliver SPL-independent intelligibility over distance, without the necessity of DSP-based beam-shaping. This was key to achieving seamless sound throughout the auditorium, while the shallow form factor and ACO colour option allowed for unobtrusive installation.
“The layout of the room is acoustically challenging and being able to effectively steer the sound around the balcony front, without losing the high frequencies, is not something all systems can do,” says Erlend. “The arrangement of an array of five Q-series per side avoids throwing high frequencies at the walls and balcony front, providing a complete array which doesn’t reflect too much sound back to the stage.”
He continues: “As the room is 200 years old, it was also very important that the system looked nice. The Q-series is a slim, subtle design that blends very well into the décor. Everyone is really happy with the look of it and we are very happy with the way it sounds!”
The Alcons system was installed in time for the production of Begynnelser (Beginnings), a complex production in which music, text, film and theatrical performance art are juxtaposed in a narrative which examines activity in the brain at the moment of death. The show’s sound design was by the theatre’s Eskil Næss.
“Begynnelser featured the band Motorpsycho and it needed a system that could make the actors headset microphones really cut through the sound of the band,” says Erlend. “It was the original intention that they would play with a drummer, which would have given us a hard time with the actors dialogue, as it was quite pretty low volume dialogues on stage. So the coverage and clear, distinct HF delivery of the Q-series made it ideal. All-in-all it has been a very good choice for Gamle Scene.”
“The Q-series is very easy to predict, install and optimise,” says Trondheim Lyd’s Arnstein Fossvik. “Alcons products are famous for their undistorted, natural, crystal clear sound with exceptional headroom and extremely accurate projection. These qualities make the Q-series ideal for this venue. After optimisation, we easily reached levels over 130dBZ peak at 70% system capacity. That’s very loud for theatre!”