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Acoustic Innovation for Kursaal Oostende in Belgium

In one of the most prestigious refurbishment projects of recent years, Belgium’s premiere multi-purpose venue, the post-war, modernist Kursaal Oostende recently reopened. At its heart is a brand new auditorium sporting a stage lighting system from Belgium-based ADB Lighting and a highly innovative audio system that incorporates a unique multiple channel reverberation (MCR) system, allowing instantly variable acoustics.

Being a historic and protected building it was important to enhance the acoustic situation without damaging the monumental infrastructure. The audio design team responsible for the auditorium’s revival (headed by Ampco Belgium and Event Acoustics) ensured that Kursaal Oostende could cater to a huge range of uses: Live TV shows, large theatre musical productions, classical concerts, political party congresses and touring music shows, doubling as a cinema, complete with 5.1 surround sound.

Key Features

Application:
Spaces >3000 m3

Natural Sound:
Amplification of a hall’s own reverberant field for a unique, natural sound.

 

Established:
Over 30 years of application.

Fast and Easy setup:
Complete system tuning in one single day.

Standard components:
Use of standard equipment of long established companies, guarantees service and availability of components.

CobraNet® based:
By using the international Ethernet based protocol for distributing the audio signal, interfacing with other halls and equipment is a standard feature.

Multifunctional:
Easily adaptable to function as a surround system, fill-in system, source localisation system, Public Address and voice alarm.

Cost effective solution:
Compared to building measures, the MCR system is an extremely cost effective solution for adjustable acoustics.

Download datasheet (pdf)

Complete project overview (pdf)

 

MCR – For ultimate acoustic versatility

The XLNT Multiple Channel Reverberation (MCR) acoustical enhancement system is designed to improve the acoustics of a hall for classical musical performances.

An MCR system subtly amplifies the existing reverberant field in a concert hall, in a precisely controllable amount. The key feature that distinguishes MCR from other systems is that it uses the hall’s own reverberant field to create a unique, natural sound.
A comparative study by acoustical specialist Peutz in 2005 selected the MCR system as the most natural sounding solution.

Unlike older systems based on analogue technologies, the new MCR system is fully digital. Special software was developed by Event Acoustics for a highly automated tuning process, increasing its accuracy in comparison to older analogue systems.
This co-ordinates all the necessary routing, delay and equalisation functions from a networked laptop PC and makes reconfiguration of the sound system modes fast and straightforward. Kursaal Oostende wanted a flexible sound system enabling, not only MCR and surround sound, but also a Public Address and voice evacuation system.

At the heart of Kursaal Oostende is a brand new auditorium sporting the highly innovative audio system that incorporates the unique MCR system, allowing instantly variable acoustics.

The MCR system works magic with unamplified performers such as orchestra’s, choirs and theatre groups. The sound emanating from the matrix of small loudspeakers spread across the walls and ceiling is diffuse and undetectable by an audience.

Each channel is separate and consists of an in-ceiling microphone, equalisation, amplification and a single wall or ceiling mounted with Renkus-Heinz TRC62/9 loudspeakers. By amplifying the reverberant sound, the reverberation time increases and the Clarity C80 decreases. It functions like ‘anti-absorption’, and no artificial reverberation processing is added to the signal. This creates natural, variable acoustics using electro-acoustic means. In the auditorium, the reverberation time can be varied in eight equidistant steps from approximately 1.5 seconds to approximately 2.1 seconds in the mid frequencies. The system is designed so that, by aiming the loudspeakers sideways, the lateral sound is increased to create spaciousness.

MCR’s eight “steps” (plus “off”) allow a house engineer to set the room’s reverberation level to suit an individual music performance. The MCR system allows the correct acoustic to be created to suit any size or form of production, whether it’s a small theatre group, a jazz band or a full symphony orchestra.

European Installation Award for Technical Excellence

One of the greatest advantages of the MCR enhancement system is the short setup and tuning time, eliminating a stressful design process when creating multi-purpose halls.

After only 2 months of hard work, Kursaal Oostende was transformed to a state of the art, versatile, acoustic heaven. In 2006 Event Acoustics was awarded with the Installation Europe Award for Excellence in Entertainment.

Shortly afterward, Event Acoustics was contracted for the acoustic enhancement of various highly respected classical performance spaces such as the Tonhalle in Düsseldorf, Germany and the Centrum Muziek XXI in Utrecht , The Netherlands. Here Event Acoustics took development to its next level with VAP : a unique system that simulates the acoustics of larger venues in smaller settings.

The teams put a lot of thought and hard work into designing our audio systems, but the results more than justify it as our auditorium is now one of the most versatile in Europe.” – Freddy Lodewyk, Chief Technician at Kursaal Oostende.