Stavanger Concert Hall Outfitted with DiGiCo Mixing Consoles

The Stavanger Symphony Orchestra has spent the past 14 years wishing for a new home that it could truly call its own. In September, it finally became a reality with the opening of the NOK1.225bn (€165.2m), Stavanger Concert Hall. This world-class venue actually features two halls, with DiGiCo mixing consoles chosen for mixing the amplified sound in both.

Designed by Oslo architects Ratio Arkitekter, the 13,800m2 venue has been designed to host all types of cultural events. Each of the two halls — one for orchestral music, the other multi-purpose — has its own independent soundproofing and load-bearing systems. The soundproofing is so efficient that a rock concert can take place in one at the same time as a classical event in the other, with no disturbance to the classical audience or musicians. The halls share a foyer and restaurant, complemented by 180 other rooms which include rehearsal spaces, dressing rooms, meeting venues, cafes, bars, community facilities, and an outdoor amphitheatre.

The Fartein Valen (symphony hall) has 1500 seats and the ceiling can be lowered up to six metres to alter the acoustics. The acoustics can also be changed using 13 adjustable acoustic reflectors. Capacity of the Zetlitz (multipurpose hall) varies between 700 seats for opera, 800 for musicals, 1400 for conferences and 1900 (with a flat floor) for rock concerts.

Designed and supplied by DiGiCo’s Norwegian distributor Bright A/S, the project features two DiGiCo SD7s, two SD8-24s, an SD10 and six SD Racks (both fixed and portable). Both halls have a normal setup of 112 input lines and 64 output lines, but these can easily be expanded when needed. A full fibre optic network has connection points spread throughout the venues, making for a flexible setup and easy accommodation of different events.

Head of Sound Johan Berntsen is an experienced touring engineer and spent several months working with Bright A/S to train the venue’s engineers and set up the system, ready for the ten day-long grand opening.

“For many of the in-house engineers this has been their first experience with DiGiCo consoles and their feedback is very positive,” says Truls Birkeland of Bright A/S. “The stability and flexibility of the system has been highly praised and the engineers loves the functionality of the consoles.”

This is confirmed by Johan, who says “The ability to share resources on the optical loop is fantastic. Sum mixes are sent on the virtual tie-line system, being picked up where needed. The time needed for doing a soundcheck of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra has been halved. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

Support is also a key issue for Johan. “To have 24/7 support from both DiGiCo and Bright A/S has been crucial for us,” he says. “As well as overseeing the installation and helping to train the engineers, staff from Bright A/S also spent the entire ten days of the opening celebrations overseeing the audio production. This was very reassuring for everybody involved.”

The opening events saw the system used to its fullest extent, with both halls used in different configurations and the DiGiCo consoles being used for everything from Front of House only to FoH, monitors, and a separate sub-mixer for the symphony orchestra. Over 25,000 people attended the performances, with local and national commentators alike complementing the venue.

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