Press Release

Friedrichstadt-Palast, Europe’s Largest Stage, Upgrades to Spatial Sound Experience with L-Acoustics L-ISA Friedrichstadt-Palast, Europe’s Largest Stage, Upgrades to Spatial Sound E...

A15 Focus
A15 Wide
Syva Sub

Regularly mounting Vegas-level productions, the theatre turned to FeedBack Show Systems to install immersive technology to elevate the audience experience

BERLIN, Germany, February 2024 – The 1,900-seat Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood features a 3,000-square-meter stage, officially the world’s largest. Surrounding the record-size stage is a 24-metre-wide proscenium, the largest in Europe. For over a century, the Palast Berlin has attracted tourists and locals alike to its stages, where audiences can experience productions that blend music, dance, and acrobatics, often featuring a cast of over 100 performers. From Cirque du Soleil to original shows mounted just for the Palast, the performances onstage always match the scale of the Friedrichstadt-Palast itself. Hosting up to eight shows per week, the theatre draws an impressive half-million guests annually, cementing its status as Berlin’s most frequented theatre.

The venue was originally opened as a market hall in 1867 before being converted into a circus in 1873. Closed in 1980 following the discovery of foundation issues, the Friedrichstadt-Palast was reopened in a newly built structure in 1984 as the largest and most modern performing arts center in Europe. Mounting performances to rival the show-stopping complexity of Las Vegas, programming ranges from children’s shows, festival galas, and guest performers, in addition to the Palast’s own Ballet Company, show band, and Youth Ensemble. Regularly attracting visitors from around the world, the Friedrichstadt-Palast looks to stay on top of entertainment technology, a mission that led the team to seek out immersive sound technology that would allow the Palast to offer an increasing variety of spectacles and give the audience an elevated experience. 

L-Acoustics Certified Provider FeedBack Show System was entrusted with integrating a solution for Friedrichstadt-Palast. The system needed to respect the strict preservation laws at the theatre and seamlessly integrate with the theatre’s existing audio control. This includes existing market tracking solutions and providing comprehensive audio coverage throughout the venue while enveloping audiences in immersive sound to help fans better localize performers during the intricate performances. Dennis Dackweiler, Head of Audio at FeedBack, who has previously designed several systems using L-Acoustics, explains that it is “eye-opening to see what can be done when you change from stereo to L-ISA – it creates more space and more separation, and that’s what the venue was aiming for – a huge soundscape to bring the audience closer to the performance.”

Dennis and the team at FeedBack worked with Martin Rode and Martin Wurmnest from the Application team at L-Acoustics to design the L-ISA configuration. Rode was particularly impressed with the quality of collaboration with the teams at Palast and FeedBack. “During production meetings to discuss loudspeaker placement, the entire team of set designers, lighting designers, and art directors were involved, and all were open and fully focused on finding the right compromises to ensure optimum performance of the L-ISA technology.”

The wide, 270-degree audience area presented unique challenges that were addressed using L-Acoustics Soundvision 3D audio mapping software to model optimum loudspeaker placement for comprehensive coverage. “Our goal was to ensure dynamic distribution and localization of the artists on stage. L-Acoustics K3 in an L-ISA configuration proved to be the ideal solution to deliver exceptional, balanced sound throughout the entire audience area,” comments Thomas Herda, Technical Director at Friedrichstadt-Palast.

The L-ISA Scene system consists of 102 L-Acoustics K3, including nine hangs stretched across and extending beyond the stage, with six further surround hangs of L-Acoustics K3 placed at the side of the venue. Two X12 are placed below the K3 Extension system for extension near-fill. Two arrays, each consisting of 1 A15 Focus and 1 A15 Wide, provide fill for the audience areas located to the far left and right of the stage. The spatial distribution of sound is handled by an L-ISA Processor II with a 64-output license.

A scaled-down L-ISA configuration using L-Acoustics X8 and 5XT coaxial speakers with Syva Sub is installed in the theatre’s on-site studio to support immersive audio mixing in pre-production. This enabled the sound design team and the musical department to accomplish much of their pre-production work without blocking the entire venue while the previous show was still running. “Early in 2022, we tested the scale simulation during a mixing session in the studio to validate that the creative ideas would play out well in the dimensions of the large venue. It worked like a charm. When we moved to the full venue, we only needed minor adjustments on EQ levels, and all of the object positions that we simulated translated perfectly to the large stage,” Wurmnest enthuses.

“L-Acoustics was the ideal choice for us. In addition to the generally outstanding sound quality, the acoustic localisation provided by L-ISA spatial sound has helped us better connect the visual events on stage with the acoustic experience. The audience can now see where the musicians and performers are on stage and hear them with pinpoint accuracy. This creates an even more intense, lively show experience. Bringing to life the sonic landscapes we’ve always dreamed of,” concludes Herda.

“We are delighted to announce that we have gained the Friedrichstadtpalast as a partner,” says Sebastian Wittrock, Sales Manager L-Acoustics. “I am very proud to be a part of this journey. The Palast in Berlin is now a top international reference for us, and we would like to thank them for their trust and cooperation.”

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