Vienna Volksoper heralds new season with KV2
Tuesday, 22 September 2020
vienna-volksoperThe theatre offers one of the most diverse musical programmes in the country,
Austria - The Vienna Volksoper, or People’s Opera, is Vienna’s largest theatre for opera, musicals, classical concerts and ballet. The theatre offers one of the most diverse musical programmes in the country, ranging from Carmen to Kiss Me Kate, and Coppelia to Cabaret, as well as productions for schools, lots of local German operetta performances and much more besides.
The venue is also the first in Vienna to open its doors to the public after the summer break, but more importantly in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, with a performance of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus on 1 September followed by a revival of Cole Porter’s classic musical, Kiss Me Kate on 2 September. Both will be benefitting from the audio reproduction of a new KV2 audio system, which also happens to be the first ever to use KV2’s new control & diagnostics tool for remote system management and control.
The new sound system for the 1339-capacity venue was designed by Martin Lukesch, director of sound and media technology at Vienna Volksoper. “Here, it’s all about the music!” explains Lukesch. “As a repertory theatre with a hugely varied performance range - we can be staging a rock musical one night and a classical ballet the next - the demands on the sound system are enormous. Our season starts on 1 September and we have rehearsals every morning and performances every evening, non-stop, until 30 June. This was my starting point when it came to designing a new system. It had to be able to fulfil the needs of all the different types of show we stage and deliver the best possible audio experience for our audiences.”
For the main system Lukesch selected three active, full-range ESR215S per side for the stalls, circle and upper circle. “I wanted a real full-range system with the -3dB point below 40 Hz,” he says. “The ESR215 is ideal with its wide 110-degree horizontal dispersion and smooth frequency response across the range. We chose the S slimline version to minimise visual impact. The centre cluster comprises two SL412 active, wide dispersion loudspeakers flanked by an ESD10 and an ESD12 per side. Frequency and phase response are matched to the side system.
“There is also a second proscenium system of 12 smaller, wide dispersion boxes (ESD10s), mainly for sound effects. We have another effects system, known as ‘The voice of God’ located in the dome of the auditorium, which is two of the big ESR212s plus a full surround system throughout the theatre – there are at least 60 speakers, mainly ESD5s which are used for ‘room simulation’ to create ambience, or for special sound effects that require high diffusion.
“Finally, we have six more big point sources – ESR212s again – for the stage; if you need thunder or explosions on or behind the stage, then you need powerful speakers on or behind the stage. The ESR212s are perfect, just as they are for the voice of God! There are also delays, front-fills, out-fills and other speakers for effects or monitoring throughout the auditorium.
“The vast majority of our equipment is permanently installed,” he continues. “We effectively have several systems in one, and it’s much easier and faster for us to switch between shows when 90% of what you need is already in place. However, there are times when you still need to supplement with mobile systems, so we also have a large stock of additional point sources that we can use as required; we have ESDs in every size, from the tiny ESD Cube up to the ESD15, plus a number of ESM stage monitors.”
Lukesch has opted for four of KV2s VHD4.21 active/passive system, for under the stalls, plus eight single 18-inch woofers under the balconies and two flown VHD2.18J dual 18-inch systems in the dome for the boxes.
When it comes to amplifiers, Volksoper Vienna is the first installation to utilise KV2’s new diagnostic, monitoring and control tool, which adds an essential level of comfort and security when managing a large, complex system. “In 2020, large installations like ours – we have 56 amplifiers in use full-time and five spare – have to be accurately controlled and monitored, or we simply can’t operate efficiently,” says Lukesch. “Our previous system used network-controlled amplifiers, which was perfectly reliable, but old technology.
“KV2’s solution is most definitely next generation and offers us much more flexibility. All amplifiers, drivers and speakers are monitored in real time, so any anomalies are instantly located and reported.”

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