One hundred and fifty thousand tickets were sold in advance before the eagerly anticipated debut of Udo Jürgens’ new musical, Ich war noch niemals in New York (I Was Never in New York), at Hamburg’s TUI Operettenhaus. Produced by Hamburg, Germany-based Stage Entertainment GmbH, the show has held its own against recent international smash hits that went to Germany.
To ensure powerful and consistent sound for each of the theatre’s 1,381 seats, award-winning sound designer Mick Potter and his associate Paul Gatehouse created a sophisticated audio system comprising some 95 Meyer Sound loudspeakers.
The main system comprises left and right hangs of 12 M’elodie™ line array loudspeakers, each augmented by a pair of 600-HP subwoofers. As Stage Entertainment’s technical director Andreas Hammerich explains, the Operettenhaus’ limited space presented some unique challenges for loudspeaker array positioning.
“We ended up constructing special rigging points in order to achieve the correct height,” Hammerich says. “Any other line array would not have fit. The compact M’elodie is, without a doubt, the ideal system for this application.” Hammerich ended up with only 1.5 meters of space between the back of the cabinets and the walls.
To address the Operettenhaus’ balcony seating, Potter created four delay zones employing ten UPM-1P loudspeakers for the middle section. Three additional zones each utilize a single UPM-1P at the sides of the balcony. Along the rear of the balcony, eight MM-4 loudspeakers handle surround sound. Additional Meyer Sound loudspeakers cover other areas in the house, including a pair of 700-HP subwoofers, 11 UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers, 25 more UPM-1P boxes and eight more MM-4 loudspeakers.
According to Hammerich, the result is smooth coverage with exceptional intelligibility throughout the room. “The sound coverage throughout the entire hall is remarkably consistent, with really no noticeable transitioning as you move around the room,” Hammerich says. “You can really understand every word, no matter where you’re sitting.”
A Meyer Sound Galileo™ loudspeaker management system comprising six Galileo 616 units handles system drive and processing. “We didn’t end up using all the outputs on each of the six Galileos, and we probably could have gotten away with fewer units, but it was just more convenient to organize the zones using only some of the outputs on each Galileo box,” Hammerich observes.
A Matrix3™ audio show control system is used to control the mix. Hammerich reports that the powerful tool has become a hit among the crew. “The Matrix3 is a very reliable and versatile system. We originally brought it in at Mick Potter’s request, and we were so impressed with it that everyone wants to continue working with it.”
Hammerich says Meyer Sound’s self-powered design has been key to realizing the remarkable performance of Potter’s design. “With traditional passive loudspeakers, we would have had to construct an immense climate-controlled amplifier room, along with some very unwieldy cable runs. It simply would not have been possible in this space.”
The results speak for themselves. “The audience experience is nothing short of stellar,” says Hammerich. “Even in the back row, the sound is every bit as good as it is in the first.”