d&b Soundscape powers up the electrifying ELĒKRŎN stunt show.
When the adrenalin-fuelled ELĒKRŎN stunt show opened at Studio City arena in Macau, China, earlier this year, it was billed as ‘the most electrifying stunt show in the world’, featuring dare-devil circus skills, crazy parkour acrobatics and breath-taking stunt bike sequences. An ambitious arena show, sound was key to enhancing the power, punch and positioning of the fast-paced action, leading the production team to a d&b Soundscape solution.
Step forward, superstar sound designer Sebastian Frost. It’s his second major production utilizing the signal processing power of d&b Soundscape to augment sonic slam, situation and scope (the first was the Sting musical, The Last Ship).
“People come to the theatre expecting to hear something more akin to a cinematic experience, and d&b Soundscape has really changed the game,” says Frost. “Now, we’ve got to a point where we can split those sounds up individually, make it louder, keep the coherence and maintain positioning and imaging.
London-based Orbital Sound worked with STUFISH and Frost to deliver a multi-cabinet Soundscape solution for the show, driven by the powerful d&b DS100 Signal Engine - the digital backbone of the d&b Soundscape system, offering a 64 x 64 matrix with Level and Delay in every crosspoint.
“We were asked to provide an all-in solution for this very complex and demanding show, the brief being to blow their minds and make the impossible, possible!” Says Chris Headlam, Managing Director of Orbital Sound. “We decided the only way forward was to push the spatial sound to its limits, in order to thoroughly involve the audience.
“The sound team had to work really closely with the other creatives to engineer a solution that was fully flexible - as literally anything could, and usually did, happen! If a prop or action was only seconds out of place, this had significant ripple effects for what was seen and heard afterwards, and all that had to be catered for and presented to the audience as if nothing had changed. That translated to really complex audio programming - everything we do these days is complex, but ELĒKRŎN is off the scale. The beauty of all this detail is the audience are completely unaware - they just sit back and revel in the action.”
The team specified a horseshoe-shape of flown Y-Series line arrays, with V-Series SUBS around the front of the arena and T10 front fills and delays circling the rest of the space. A complement of nine B2-SUBS underneath the seating completes the system. In total, there are more than three hundred cabinets installed.
d&b D80, D20, D12 and D6 amplifiers are on duty, fed by the DS100. All of the d&b equipment was shipped from Orbital’s London base.
“The whole thing is controlled via the d&b R1software and Nemesis-Audio playback and redundancy solutions,” Headlam continues. “Redundancy is hugely important, and the Nemesis handles all the timecode and Dante switching seamlessly.”
Most of the action takes place in the centre of the arena, but a few actors move around and their positions are followed throughout the show. Soundscape enables Frost and the team to position sound effects and actors’ voices throughout the space, optimising the listening experience for everyone in the venue, no matter where they are seated.
“You have a sense of sound occurring in different places,” Frost explains. “It makes it far more involving. You stop listening to the speaker closest to you and start simply enjoying the full sound experience.”
Frost concludes: “Soundscape is transformational. Every time I don’t get to use Soundscape on a project, I start to think ‘why don’t I have this control?’ It’s something I would use on everything, if I could.”