Metallica in Berlin with TSE AG & EV
Weeks before the American metal kings appeared, Berlin’s Waldbühne in the suburb of Charlottenburg was already sold out, with fans from all over Germany and surrounding countries falling over each other to get tickets for what was to be Metallica’s only solo concert in the region. When show day came, 22,000 fans not only enjoyed a grand spectacle in a historic setting, but also magnificent sound quality.
And all this in spite of the fact that the Waldbühne is a notoriously difficult venue from a sound reinforcement perspective. One problem is its sheer size: the distance between the stage and the last row of seats is over 110 meters; another is the 270° spread of the audience; a third challenge is the 105 meter difference in height between the stage and the highest row of seats. Further difficulties are posed by the status of the site as a national monument and the proximity of nearby housing. Somehow a way had to be found to provide even coverage of the entire audience area without disturbing residents a mere 500 meters away - needless to say, the noise abatement regulations in force at the venue are particularly strict.
With all these problems in mind, Marcel Fery and the crew from TSE opted to deploy an X-Line array from Electro-Voice for the main PA and center fill, combined with 16 additional delay systems in the galleries. The system was driven by Electro-Voice P3000 power amplifiers and managed by DN 9848 controllers from Klark Teknik. Synchronizing and balancing the system involved the programming of over 28 different delay times and filter curves.
“The systematic use of delay times allowed us to provide optimum coverage of the audience area whilst at the same time taking the sensitivities of nearby residents into account,“ explained Marcel Fery. Not only was the system tested in advance and exhaustive SPL measurements taken to ensure any spillage remained strictly within the statutory limits, but a considerable degree of flexibility was also built in, so as to ensure the level could be lowered - if need be - in the sections closest to the residential area, without the rest of the audience noticing the difference.
“The surgical use of meticulously selected components“
This was the phrase Production Manager Marcel Fery used to describe the approach adopted by TSE AG: “We decided in favor of the X-Line because our past experience of the system has been unfailingly positive, and, in this location in particular, where precise directivity and homogeneity are all-important, the X-Line is the perfect system.“
Not only was the audience delighted with the results but so was ’Big Mick’ Hughes, who, as Metallica’s FOH man for almost 20 years, is clearly an authority on good sound: “The whole system worked outstandingly,“ he told us. “There was no shortage of power in the bass or penetration in the midrange - and that was true not only at the FOH position but throughout the venue.“
Metallica in Berlin (6th June 2006): Equipment List (extract):
16x X-Line Xvls 90°
12x X.Line Xvlt 120°
24x X-Line X-Sub flown
12x X-Line X-Sub stacked
12x 4 x EV P3000/P3000RL amp rack
12x EV XLC 120° line array
16x EV P3000 amp
Center / frontfills / outfills
24x EV XLD 281 line array
20x EV CP 3000 S
Distribution & electronics
7x Klark Teknik DN9848 1x EV NetMax