Amadeus has designs on National Drama Centre
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
ndc-normandie-amadeusThe Main Hall at Le Préau has a capacity of 590 seats
France - Audio developer and manufacturer Amadeus has installed an immersive sound system for Le Préau, the National Drama Centre in Normandy-Vire. The newly-designed solution utilises a three-speaker ‘antenna’ system, controlled by the company’s Holophonix spatial sound processor, and offers much higher accuracy of sound localization for the audience in the theatre environment.
Le Préau has a mission of artistic creation, dissemination of these creations in regional and national territories, and artist-in-residence programsme. The Centre has been directed by Lucie Berelowitsch since 1 January 2019.
In France, National Drama Centers (NDCs) are emblematic institutions of the dramatic decentralization policy pursued by the State for 70 years - the first five centres were created between 1946 and 1952.
“Le Préau is a place of creation and sharing, with a strong artistic permanence, to ensure a contemporary creation articulated around awareness and transmission, capable of covering its territory and opening up to the national level and ultimately to the European and international levels,” says Lucie Berelowitsch.
The Main Hall at Le Préau has a capacity of 590 seats, installed over a 22m depth and 18m width.
The electro-acoustic sound reinforcement system designed for the National Drama Centre of Normandy-Vire by Amadeus - in accordance with technical director Alexandre de Monte and director Lucie Berelowitsch – offers high accuracy of sound localisation for the audience as well as high audiovisual correlation.
“The sound system of our Grande Salle (Main Hall) was installed in 1996. It was high time for a major investment in this technical domain, to replace our system. The project began in 2018,” says de Monte.
The audio setup is built around a Holophonix spatial sound processor, designed by Amadeus in collaboration with IRCAM Institute (Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music).
The implemented immersive sound solution uses the Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) technology. Like visual holograms, this ‘holophonic’ process captures or creates a sound stage by preserving spatial information. This technique allows the creators to replicate the sound field’s physical properties. Wherever they are in the theater, the listener in the audience has a coherent perception of the audio sources’ localization.
“I enjoy working on this system. It responds well. It is very 'clear', without aggressiveness,” says Mikael Kandelman, a sound engineer who has worked closely with Director Lucie Berelowitsch for many years.
The main audio system is composed of three antennas (or arrays) of Amadeus loudspeakers.
The first ‘antenna’ is made of eight (8) Amadeus C15 (1 x 15’’ LF; 1 x 3.5’’ MF; 1 x 1.75” HF) triaxial speakers, flown above the front of the stage. These loudspeakers are evenly spaced across 15m with identical spacing between each speaker in the array.
The second antenna is made of 24-point source transducers built into the front of the stage. These 24 loudspeakers, variants of the Amadeus PMX 5 model, form a large-scale ‘sound ramp’. They are evenly distributed across 16m, with 66-cm between each adjacent speaker. This speaker setup has been specifically designed for the National Drama Centre of Normandy-Vire by Amadeus.
Fixed in front of the curved proscenium, this large-scale front-fill system with limited depth offers three main functions: It naturally allows for perfect sound coverage of the lower half of the audience. It allows the sound image to be lowered, to bring back sound coming from the stage, and thus to maximize the accuracy between sound and visual images. Finally, this high-density of loudspeakers offers very high spatial resolution, making their location almost imperceptible to the audience, as well as the presence of other sound reinforcement.
A third antenna, made of the newest point source speakers, the Amadeus C6 (1 x 6’’ LF; 1 x 1’’ HF) is flown above the audience, between the second and third technical bridges. These speakers mainly provide reinforcement for the low-mid frequency range, which is often necessary at the back of a theatre.
Le Préau has also bought a large quantity of point source speakers including Amadeus PMX 5, PMX 8, PMX 12, and PMX 15 models. These speakers are intended for use as stage monitors, or mobile systems during immersive sound creations.

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