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EV Sound for the Hahnenkamm

March 3rd, 2008

The Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbühel, Austria are to the international ski circuit what Monte Carlo is to Formula One or Wimbledon is to tennis: the top event of the season. The whole world tunes in to watch as the daredevils plunge down the notorious, near-vertical “Streif“ into the valley below, where over 90,000 spectators await them at the finish.

But it isn’t simply men and skis that are put to the ultimate test by the Super-G, the Downhill, and the Slalom in the mountains of Tirol: the sound reinforcement equipment used each year is also expected to push the envelope in terms of performance and endurance. To meet these huge international expectations, event organizer Skiclub Kitzbühel has put its faith in Fieberbrunn-based sound and rental company Murdock Music Entertainment for the last six years. “Each year we learn something new about taming the Hahnenkamm,“ says Peter Auer, Murdock Music Entertainment’s Production Manager, “but it remains a formidable challenge nonetheless.“

Three main issues make for one mammoth task: the vastness of the area to be covered and the steepness of the slope; the extreme nature of the weather conditions; and the existence of “sensitive zones“ in which sound levels have to be kept to a minimum. “On the one hand, you have to provide even coverage to all 45,000 spectators attending the races, but on the other, you must avoid interfering with the efforts of colleagues providing TV and radio coverage to those following the event from the comfort of their homes. And then there’s the hostility of the terrain, with its bumps and hollows. All in all, a pretty tough nut to crack.“

The most effective “nutcracker’, this year, as in recent years, turned out to be an extensive Electro-Voice XLC system powered by EV amplifiers. But whereas last year you could actually see the boxes strung out along the three-kilometer course, this year they were tucked away behind the tarpaulins of the various video walls. “That was actually ideal for us,“ says Peter Auer, “because it allowed us to provide 120-degree coverage over a giant area.“ To ensure the system was set up and controlled to obtain optimal results, Murdock Music Entertainment called in qualified help to handle the simulations and fine-tuning of the system: Thomas Hasenauer of the company Signal, who is an academically qualified engineer. And a cracking good job he made of it: while spectators on the slopes could follow every word delivered by the legendary commentator Michael Horn-this year making his 45th and final appearance-the sound pressure levels in the area in front of the stands reserved for the TV broadcasters remained low, as stipulated in the contract.

Peter Auer waxed positively euphoric in his praise of the performance and resilience of the EV enclosures: “We had it all to contend with this year: sun, rain, snow, freezing temperatures and ice-the full spectrum-but the rig just played and played.“ Five years ago, when Murdock Music Entertainment first deployed their then brand-new XLC system, the weather was just as pitiless: “I felt really sorry for the enclosures that year. The weather! A biting wind that swept over the slopes and penetrated every vent and slit-and yet not one system failed. Unbelievable!“

The zero percent failure rate remains intact to this day; not one single system failure in five years. In fact, by the time this year’s Hahnenkamm came round, the team led by company MD Stefan Gieringer and Production Manager Peter Auer had become so blasé they arrived without a single spare enclosure to provide backup. Truth to tell, they didn’t have one. “We were handling a VIP charity at the same time, also using XLCs, so our arsenal was in fact empty. We just trusted in God… and EV!“

Auer emphasizes that in terms of outlay, the Hahnenkamm races are strictly a one-off: for no other skiing event is as much equipment, and equipment of such outstanding quality, deployed as in Kitzbühel. “It’s down to the philosophy of the organizers,“ says Auer. “Only the best is good enough here. That goes for the main sponsors-Audi, for example-as well as for the sound system. And the quality of the sound we provided here was by no means lost on the organizers of other events in attendance, with whom discussions are already in progress…“



The Hahnenkamm Races 2008, in figures:

Spectators: 90,000 on the slopes, 500 million on TV

Subterranean cable runs: 4.5 kilometers

Enclosures

36x XLC127+

10x Xsub

4x XLC215

2x Xi-2123

Amps

15x P3000

5x P2000

4x CP3000S

12x CP2200

Controllers

6x EV Dx38

2x Klark Teknik DN9848

Mixing consoles:

Midas



EQ and Dynamic processors:


Klark Teknik

###

Guy Low

Sr. Copywriter | MarCom

Bosch Communications Systems

Telex Communications, Inc.

12000 Portland Ave. South

Burnsville, MN 55337

Phone: 952-736-3935

Fax: 952-736-4582

guy.low@us.telex.com

James Edlund

Public Relations Manager

Bosch Communications Systems

Telex Communications, Inc.

12000 Portland Ave. South

Burnsville, MN 55337

Phone: 952-736-3901

Fax: 952-736-4582

james.edlund@us.telex.com

press contact:
Guy Low
Manager, PR/Media

(952) 736-3935
guy.low@us.bosch.com
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