Bringing in the New Year in Berlin (photo: Matthias Gottwald)
Germany - The country’s biggest New Year’s Eve party, Willkommen 2024, took place in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and was broadcast live for several hours by ZDF Television. The event featured spectacular live performances from leading German artists. An estimated 3.5m TV viewers watched the spectacle, hosted by well-known presenters Andrea Kiewel and Johannes B. Kerner, with around 65,000 spectators present at the event.
Such a prestigious occasion demanded exceptional audio, and full-service production specialist Ambion was engaged to deliver on-site sound production as well as set construction for the main stage.
Ambion supplied Coda Audio systems to meet what was a challenging brief. Whilst the sound systems were required to cover a very large area, they also had to take account of the sightlines of many TV cameras and be as discreet as possible. Florian Vollmer, senior specialist panning and head of sound technology at Ambion describes the scale of the task: “It’s true that the specifications were quite demanding! We had to cover the entire area from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column, all with a limit of 84db. In total, this was a distance of almost 2.5 km, which required uninterrupted sound at the desired level.”
Florian began planning for the show three weeks before construction began, creating a Vectorworks plan to be used to generate a detailed Coda Audio System Optimiser file, before checking the various band riders and liaising with other contractors to see what infrastructure could be shared:
“Coda’s System Optimiser played a central role in the system configuration. We used it to calculate an extremely realistic result in advance so we could clearly see what was needed at which position.”
Based on his calculations the Willkomen 2024 set-up deployed almost 300 loudspeakers from across the Coda Audio range. The main L/R comprised 14 x AiRAY and three SC2-F subs per side with a centre L/R of eight N-RAY per hang. Two hangs of 12 x N-RAY provided the out-fill, with nine APS for near-field. A sub-arc of 36 x SCP-F completed the main PA.
A further inventory of AiRAY, ViRAY and N-RAY was used for delays, ensuring that every member of the audience across the large site experienced premium quality audio throughout the performances. A total of 46 x Coda Audio LINUS14D and 24 x Linus10 DSP amplifiers were used to drive the systems.
As is customary with televised shows of this kind, the visual requirements were demanding. Florian reflects: “It was important that loudspeakers were ‘invisible’, but
that everyone could hear everything perfectly everywhere. We were able to rely on the super-compact dimensions of the Coda units to achieve our aims, particularly centre-stage where we opted for a left/right slope instead of a cluster hanging in the middle of the set. We kept the nearfield to a minimum and concealed the subs underneath the stage deck.”

Latest Issue. . .