Concert halls

d&b revamps Stanford’s largest performance hall.

Located on the Stanford University campus, the Dinkelspiel (The Dink) Auditorium is a 710-seat performance and lecture hall serving the school’s Department of Music and the entire university for large performances, lectures, symposia, rehearsals and the occasional touring artist. A number of large improvements have taken place over the last five years in the hall, the most recent being two d&b Soundscape systems for both on-stage and in-seat listening experiences.

Ultimately, we chose Soundscape and due to its flexibility and quality, from a sound perspective, the room acoustic models were fantastic and felt natural. Kevin Sweetser, Audio Consultant

“The process of updating the overall sound system began out of a need for the usable space that could be a reasonable replacement for ensembles performing in the Bing Concert Hall that opened in 2013,” states Kevin Sweetser, the audio consultant. “Ultimately, we chose Soundscape and due to its flexibility and quality, from a sound perspective, the room acoustic models were fantastic and felt natural. Logistically, we were able to use one set of speakers for both the room acoustics and sound reinforcement.”

The first Audience Soundscape system provides the PA reinforcement for the room delivering precise localization capability in 360 throughout the space. It also supplies reverberation enhancement as needed through the use of suspended stage and audience microphones, or even direct inputs.  Using T-Series mains, 16C column surrounds and 5S loudspeakers overhead, the system is operated by a sound engineer at a mixing console in a typical manner. The DS100 signal engine is equipped with both the En-Scene and En-Space software modules to accomplish object positioning as well as reverberation enhancement.

The second Soundscape system covers the stage area and acts as a virtual orchestra shell for musicians to rehearse and perform in a more comfortable acoustic environment (modelled on Stanford’s new Bing Concert Hall) and the DS100 processor is equipped with the En-Space plug-in to accomplish this. The stage system receives its signal from overhead mics above the stage and above the audience. It comprises a selection of 5S, 8S and 16C loudspeakers and is operated by a 7” touch screen backstage.  The stage system can be activated by non-technical users such as musical directors and stage managers - no sound engineer is required. The onstage system is helpful because the Dinkelspiel Auditorium has a very ‘dead’ acoustic sound but often houses concerts and rehearsals for the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and other classical ensembles. It enables the musicians to better hear themselves as an ensemble, much in the way that a physical shell would behave without the hassle of setting it up and storing it, while delivering a selection of acoustic environments that are comfortable for the performers. There is also an option to bring the audience room mics into the system in order to further connect the performers with the audience.

As part of this project, Stanford approached d&b to evaluate a solution which led to a fruitful partnership. d&b measured Bing Concert Hall to emulate in Dinkelspiel and the extraordinary venue’s acoustic signature was added to the En-Space software for all Soundscape users.

The two Soundscape systems were provided by Audio West (Los Angeles, CA) and installed by Alive Media Audio Visual (Sacramento, CA). “Alive worked extremely well with us to deploy and integrate our speaker design as well as new wiring infrastructure and acoustic treatment,” says Sweetser. “They were able to take our designs and instructions from Audio West and put them together seamlessly.”

The Soundscape systems can run at the same time or independently and were used throughout the entire summer season by the Stanford Jazz Festival.

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