Contemporary Art Meets Modern Sound Technology
Berlin’s Radialsystem becomes first venue in Germany to receive L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound System
BERLIN, Germany – May 2021 – Expansive performances have been transforming the building and outdoor spaces at Radialsystem, a former pumping station in Berlin-Friedrichshain on the banks of the Spree river, into a stage since 2006. Concert evenings in two large halls delight audiences with their unusual settings, smaller studios invite them to experience installations, and the open deck beckons them to listening sessions in the evening sun with a view over the water. As a creative production and event venue for developing new artistic programs and event formats, Radialsystem hosts numerous conferences, meetings, and trade fairs, often dealing with innovation and futuristic topics. With their associated demand for quality, the large number and variety of events mean it is part of the radial DNA to develop and challenge itself constantly. The venue is the first in Germany to boast a permanently installed L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound System.
In total, Radialsystem has around 2,500m2 of usable event space spread over five floors. The L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound System has been designed for the largest room, the 600m2 Main Hall, and considers the broad spectrum of events hosted at Radialsystem: concerts, musical theatre, and dance performances, sound installations of contemporary electroacoustic music, and events that focus on language and dialogue. Additionally, as the former machine hall of the sewage pumping station, the room still retains its historic industrial architecture. With its wide arched windows and expanses of stone and concrete, it also poses a variety of acoustic challenges.
Working alongside Martin Rode, L-Acoustics Head of Application Install for the DACH area, the Radialsystem team settled on a modular system based on A15 arrays that can be quickly and easily adapted to two different stage sizes. The Scene system consists of five arrays, each with an A15 Focus and two A15 Wide, supplemented by two flown subwoofer arrays in end-fired configuration, each comprising two KS21.
“In combination with the KS21 subwoofers, A15 provides the necessary low-end reserves to cover the wide variety of events perfectly,” explains Rode. “In addition, the integrated Panflex system allows the A15 to adjust the horizontal dispersion pattern individually, so those side reflections from the industrial architecture are minimized.”
Five X8 are used as frontfill along the scene area, while a further 11 X8 form the surround system along the outer and rear walls. Rounding out the L-ISA installation are nine X8 for the Elevation system in the ceiling area.
Carlo Grippa, freelance sound engineer and project manager for the L-ISA system at Radialsystem, had his first encounter with L-ISA a few years ago at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt am Main. Despite his vast experience in the surround field, he was immediately surprised by the sonic fidelity and the possibilities of L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology.
“I work a lot in the experimental field of contemporary music, often in combination with electronic elements,” he says. “For this reason, I have always dealt with complex surround systems and mixes and have also designed systems myself that have an immersive effect on the audience.”
Immediately after Prolight + Sound, Grippa sat down with Sherif El Barbari, Director of L-ISA Labs, to see if they could put the system through its paces at the L-ISA headquarters in London’s Highgate as part of an extensive demo.
“I realized then that, for me, L-ISA is the way to the future of sound reinforcement,” Grippa continues. “It’s a creative, user-friendly solution that’s not based on a particular musical direction and is the best-sounding system I’ve heard. And those were our central requirements for Radialsystem.”
L-ISA and Radialsystem are already proving a promising and potent combination. “We have very different performances of musical and performing arts,” Grippa concludes. “Lots of contemporary music and dance, classical music – often in connection with sound engineering and electronics – jazz, pop, events, parties, and much more. All the sound engineers at Radialsystem have a strong creative pulse and want to show our artists the true audio potential of their work. At the same time, the technicians at the mix position receive a broader, easily accessible range of tools for greater creative freedom. With L-ISA, we can always raise the musical bar to a completely new level, which means less showmanship in the sense of an auditory shooting gallery, but a subtle, enveloping and creative use.”