d&b Provides Electrifying Sound to Record-Breaking Crowds at Christchurch’s Biggest Outdoor Summer Festival

Friday, 23 July 2021
After a year of extreme uncertainty and flux, New Zealand put on a show with one of the country’s biggest outdoor summer music festivals, Electric Avenue, supported by powerful dynamic sound from d&b audiotechnik.
After a year of extreme uncertainty and flux, New Zealand put on a show with one of the country’s biggest outdoor summer music festivals, Electric Avenue, supported by powerful dynamic sound from d&b audiotechnik.
Photo Credit (above): Ingmar Wein.

The Electric Avenue Festival is Christchurch’s biggest outdoor summer music festival, with this year’s event drawing record crowds of 25,000. The festival relied heavily on local talent, with more than 35 Kiwi artists including Benee, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Tiki Taane performing across multiple stages in Hagley Park, Christchurch. With COVID-19 under control in New Zealand and no limitations of mass gatherings or social distancing requirements, the festival recorded its highest attendance numbers, with an additional 3,000-4,000 people signing up to the waitlist for tickets.

Photo Credit: Ingmar Wein.

For these huge crowd numbers, it was imperative that the sound live up to the expectations around the festival. Western Audio, the audio supplier for the Park Stage, recommended the SL-Series (KSL and GSL) from d&b audiotechnik to provide the stage with powerful, dynamic and flexible sound. To ensure the same remarkable quality of sound was delivered to every member of the audience the crew relied heavily on d&b’s line array optimisation software function, ArrayProcessing, and noise prediction software, NoizCalc.

Electric Avenue presented the team at Western Audio with multiple audio challenges seeing as how it is a multi-stage festival held in the middle of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Photo Credit: Lucy Hammond.

“To enable the festival to go ahead, strict council noise limits needed to be met,” explained Richard McMenamin, Director, Western Audio Engineering. “ArrayProcessing and NoizCalc were vital in the planning stages of the event to model and mitigate any noise issues before they were encountered. GSL and KSL were chosen for the Park Stage due to their superb sound quality and their excellent pattern control.”

The KSL and GSL systems are part of the d&b SL-Series and bring to market full range broadband directivity, extended LF response and advanced rigging options in an accessible size and performance package. All SL-Series loudspeakers are constructed using a 2-way active design.

Artist and sound engineer Tiki Taane, was in a unique position to experience the full potential of the GSL and KSL systems, both whilst performing on the Park Stage and mixing FOH sound for the headline act, Shapeshifter, on the same stage.

“The d&b SL System was next level huge,” commented Taane. “The clarity and frequency response to all the little mix adjustments I was making was unbelievable. I do a lot of EQ filter sweeps on the synth bass, and also on the reverb return channels for those exciting moments in the songs, and the energy coming from the d&b System was mind blowing. There was so much head room and fatness that I was more than happy with sitting the mix at 109 db at mix position, knowing that there was still more in the tank for those big moments.”

Taane also commented that for such a large crowd, the feedback they received from the festival goers was extremely impressive, even for those who were positioned way in the back, well beyond the delay lines.

“I’d describe mixing Shapeshifter on the d&b SL System like standing in front of some sort of Alien spacecraft as it lands and then takes off at full throttle leaving you in a state of euphoria, like a religious experience, where you’ve just witnessed in person the God of Sound!”

Bevan Hancox (Dexta), the Festival Production Manager added that everyone was extremely happy with how the sound was delivered, especially as it avoided disturbing the neighbouring communities. 

“We are happy with the outcome of this well-deployed rig and proud to use d&b audiotechnik — it covers all my bases and keeps the touring engineers, audience members and the promoter happy. As always, the definition was crystal clear. “

Technical Specifications: 

ArrayProcessing is an optional software function within the d&b ArrayCalc simulation software. It uses an optimisation algorithm to determine tailored filters to help control the behaviour of a d&b line array system across an entire listening area. Switching ArrayProcessing on triggers an analysis process that examines the performance of an array at a large number of receiver points along all listening planes within its coverage. For every receiver point the sound of every loudspeaker is calculated across 249 individual frequency bands. The optimisation process evaluates a predefined target frequency response, user-definable settings for level over distance, and processing emphasis. The result is a clever combination of FIR and IIR filters for each individual cabinet in the array to achieve the targeted performance, with an additional latency of only 5.9 ms: significantly improving the linearity of response over distance.


d&b NoizCalc software calculates sound propagation from d&b sound systems at outdoor events. It uses system data from the d&b ArrayCalc simulation software and creates a noise grid map according to international standards. With these tools, the optimal sonic experience is delivered reliably and faithfully to the right ears, and not the wrong ones. d&b NoizCalc can model complex systems consisting of many types of d&b loudspeakers, including line arrays, point sources, subwoofer arrays, fill and delay systems. System designers can also simulate adjustments to the way each element of a system is placed and powered in order to achieve the desired result. d&b NoizCalc was developed in collaboration with SoundPLAN, a specialist software developer for environmental noise prediction.

Components Used
  • Mains: 20 GSL8, 4 GSL12
  • Sides: 12 V8
  • Fill: 4 V7P, 8 Y7P
  • Subs: 12 SL Subs
  • Delays: 12 KSL8
All run on D80 amplifiers with Dante reticulation to DS10’s in the amp racks as well as an analogue backup.

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