Luxembourg’s Rockhal concert hall improves its sound with Adamson loudspeakers
Luxemburg – When the Rockhal first chose an Adamson IS-Series loudspeaker system for its Club room, it was planned to roll it out after a long-running renovation of the room; one project was postponed due to the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.
Although live shows were also suspended, the venue was given the option of using the Adamson system in a different setup than they expected. Specifically for a series of “Because Music Matters” shows, during which the system was deployed in a unique 360 degree configuration around a central stage. Mounted in March 2021 in partnership with the Luxembourg Ministry of Health and the Arena Resilience Alliance, the five-concert series was an effort to assess how future events could be staged safely and sustainably at the Rockhal, through the continent and beyond.
Although originally specified for simpler left/right mounting, the Adamson speaker not only provided the flexibility needed for what were, of course, exceptionally difficult circumstances, but drew praise from those present. “It was powerful, precise and nice to sound,” noted Rockhal audio manager Franck Chainais when discussing the implementation of the IS-Series system at the time. “It felt like we were a meter away from the speakers when they were 15 meters away.”
Eventually, Rockhal was able to complete the renovation, a project that increased the room’s capacity from 1,200 to 1,600 with the addition of a balcony and instead allowed the Adamson platform to be deployed in the larger layout. conventional they had originally envisioned.
With the superior audio coverage and quality of the IS series, the Rockhal has taken a leap forward from its previous audio infrastructure. “The last sound system was installed in 2005. Although it worked well, we want to be a state-of-the-art room”, explains the technical manager of the Rockhal, Elmar Hubert. “Our goal is always to invest in the experience of our customers.”
Located in the Center for Amplified Music, the Rockhal is one of the first halls in Luxembourg, a multipurpose and multi-hall space that attracts audiences well beyond the borders of the small nation. Part of this draw is due to its location in Esch-sur-Alzette. A city whose proximity to France, Germany and Belgium makes the Rockhal a hotspot for local and regional artists and global superstars. While the location is one of the reasons many artists are initially drawn to the venue, what keeps them coming back is Rockhal’s reputation for constantly deepening its capacity and flexibility to deliver stellar experiences. to artists and the public.
This flexibility is, in part, the product of the presence of three decidedly different living spaces: the main hall with a capacity of 6,500 seats, the floor and the club hall. “But live events are only part of what we do here,” says Hubert. “The Rockhal was founded in 2005 to be a hub for amplified music. We have a recording studio, a dance studio, six fully equipped creation, rehearsal and production rooms. We also work closely with other European institutions to support musical acts,” he adds, citing Rockhal’s membership of the European Arena Association, which mainly consists of facilities with a capacity minimum of 12,000 places. “So the Rockhal is an important place.”
Installed by Lumicon (a Luxembourg branch of German integrator Show Sisters), the system consists of ten Adamson IS10s per side, three IS119 subs (driven alongside each main bay in a cardioid pattern), two IS219s stacked at the floor per side (also in a cardioid configuration) and six IS7p speakers mounted in pairs as output, input and lip fills. Power is supplied via Lab Gruppen D-series amplifiers: a pair of D 120:4L and D 80:4L for the IS10, three D 40:4L for the IS7p and two D 200:4L driving the subs .
The project also involved providing Dante connectivity in the Club room to seamlessly integrate the site’s pre-existing DiGiCo SD12 and Lake LM44 with the new system. This connectivity will provide even greater flexibility. “We can change the routing of the amps with the Dante controller, and we can also integrate this system with another because we have a Dante connection everywhere in the building”, explains the audio manager of the Rockhal, Franck Chainais.
When choosing an ideal loudspeaker solution, several factors were considered, not the least of which was “driver friendliness”. Adamson is one of the top three loudspeaker brands regularly in demand in the Club Room (and, increasingly, the Main Room). And even though Hubert and Chainais thought an Adamson speaker system would be a good choice, “we always kept an open mind,” says Hubert.
Previously, Chainais encountered a variety of Adamson systems in his capacity as a touring systems technician and FOH engineer. “And I’ve always been very happy with it, so we held a demo to compare the IS series with other products to see if it was the right PA.”
This demonstration was the key to their choice, explains Hubert, explaining that not only was their technical team convinced by the performance of the system, but everyone was also invited to listen. “The response, even from people who don’t know as much about audio – our admin and reservations staff – was ‘wow’. They couldn’t explain it in technical terms, but felt something was different, and they were all convinced by what they heard.
As integrator Marko Schneider of Show Sisters/Lumicon put it, “We spent two days in the room and tried different things, and it was clear to them that this was a very good system for this room. Size, coverage, accuracy of high-end, high-mids and sub-bass were all important. So after the demonstration, they made the decision very quickly.
Compared to other options: “When I first heard the IS10 in the remodeled space, it was clear that this system offered better stereo separation,” continues Schneider. “With some systems, you only hear this separation if you’re standing directly in the middle or not far from the middle of the room. But with the IS-Series system, you can go farther left and right while maintaining that stereo image. It’s good for auditors and FOH engineers. “When you’re mixing, it’s easier to be very precise with the transients and highs, so you don’t have to work with effects as much. The IS10 system seems much more open.
Beyond that, Adamson’s dedicated support throughout the process also played a significant role in choosing the IS series. “With Adamson, we had the best support. We had a sound designer very interested in the Rockhal and a very good commercial and technical relationship,” concludes Hubert. “They are a valuable technical partner, and we are proud to have an Adamson system at Rockhal.”
Since returning to concert activity in February 2022, immediately following the completion of the refurbishment and the final commissioning of the system, the combination of the Adamson platform and the newly added real estate has significantly improved the live experience with improved sightlines, a more intimate setting for performers and viewers, and, of course, top-notch audio quality.