Top of the page

d&b revives Sydney’s City Recital Hall

Tuesday, 12 March 2024
Chosen for its directivity and rider acceptance, the installation is based around d&b’s XSL compact line array system.

Courtney Barnett recently played a concert at City Recital Hall.

Published by ProAVL Asia, 11 March 2024.

Sydney’s City Recital Hall has undergone a redesign to transform its audio quality and musicality, with d&b’s Australian partner NAS designing and installing a Soundscape system into the 1,300-capacity venue, newly establishing it on the city’s vibrant contemporary music scene.

Chosen for its directivity and rider acceptance, the installation is based around d&b’s XSL compact line array system. The main L-C-R configuration consists of three hangs of six XSL8 cabinets, with four flown XSLi-SUB subwoofers and six d&b 21S-SUBs under the stage. Twenty-seven d&b 44S compact flush mountable and 27 E8 point source speakers – in white to blend with the architecture – enable 360° sound on all three levels, while Vi7P point source speakers at stage level focuses audience attention on the sound rather than the equipment. The system is powered by 14 40D and 14 5D amplifiers.

A DS100 signal engine is the processing platform for Soundscape’s En-Scene and En-Space software as well as handling signal distribution and matrixing. On an operational level, Soundscape removes the need for a complex setup process, offering speed and flexibility when adapting to diverse performances.

FOH engineer Matt Landers

“The Soundscape system is a game-changer because it supports creative intelligence, enabling artists to ‘play the room’,” explained Stuart Rogers, director of programming, City Recital Hall. “The venue becomes a musical instrument itself, with the audience being placed inside the artist’s musical vision. Soundscape enables us to present extremes of artistic breadth, from cutting-edge electronica to folk, rock and outernational music, while enabling cathedral-like ethereal immersion. I’m excited that musical experiences at City Recital Hall are being changed from a system to relay music to one where artists can create unique content in a communal integration of art form and audience.”

The venue recently hosted singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett as a part of the Sydney Festival programme, with engineer Matt Landers at FOH. “I have used and toured with d&b systems for years, working a lot with Eighth Day Sound,” commented Landers. “I have been aware of Soundscape for a while, and I first heard it in action at Sydney Opera House. It was a subtle application, but the ability to place the vocal to the point where I perceived the voice coming from the singer’s mouth, even with the system flown high, really impressed me. The big reason I wanted to work at City Recital Hall was the PA upgrade to a Soundscape system. With the surrounds we have here, I can use it on special moments or in a specific cue and you see the audience really responding to those moments. With a show like tonight, which is cinematic and atmospheric, you can really spread things around much more and work with it to create something that really envelopes you, without losing focus on the artists.”

Landers split out the musicians’ onstage effects and outputs to increase the inputs, allowing him to move the sounds around. “They were totally up for that,” he said. “For something like tonight or for something with a lot more space in the music, it worked really well. I can align the stage sound with the system and make a much more harmonious image so that intelligibility and the overall sound quality is so much better. The XSL is really impressive and, together with the SL Subs and Soundscape, forms an incredible system. The venue now seems to be able to attract a whole new level of artists and audiences.”

d&b audiotechnik