|The Dynacord Cobra 4 line array elements, CXM 15 and D8 loudspeakers, and LX power amplifiers were used|
Bavarians in traditional costume – Lederhosen for the men, Dirndl for the women – liters of beer and grilled chicken abounded as ever at the world’s largest popular festival, the Oktoberfest in Munich, with no fewer than 6.3 million visitors this year. The festival began, as in previous years, with the traditional tapping of the first keg in the largest tent of all: the Schottenhamel Marquee.
Broadcast live on television throughout Germany, this ritual was not only the starting gun for the two-week festival in Munich’s Theresienwiese. It also represented the first test for the sound reinforcement system installed in the marquee. “When the traditional words “o’zapft’ is’ are spoken, the 10,000 revelers want to hear them,” explained Michael Wittenzellner, MD of StereoMike Veranstaltungstechnik. This was the sixth year running that the Straubing-based company had been charged with the planning and implementation of the marquee’s sound reinforcement solution. The ceremony – and, indeed, the entire fortnight – posed a particularly tricky challenge to Wittenzellner and his team this year, however. On the one hand, high sound pressure levels and homogeneous coverage throughout the marquee were essential. On the other hand, strict decibel limits had been imposed by Munich’s District Administration Authority – 85 dB during the day and 90 dB from 6 pm onwards – and these were on no account to be exceeded.
As in previous years, Wittenzellner and his team relied this year on equipment from Dynacord: To the right and left of the main aisle, four Cobra-4 tops and three Cobra Subs were deployed as line arrays; the sound for aisles were provided by fourteen Dynacord CXM 15 loudspeakers distributed evenly throughout the marquee. 16 Dynacord D8 loudspeakers, twelve Electro-Voice ZX1 and six Electro-Voice EVID 4.2 covered the reserved boxes and open-air beer garden. Power was provided by 16 Dynacord LX3000 amplifiers. The installation was controlled by four Dynacord DSP 244 and one NetMax N8000 digital matrices with 24 auxiliary outputs for loudspeakers, emergency announcements and the media.
Wittenzellner was well satisfied with the results: “Because of the strict sound emission limits, we needed a sophisticated sound reinforcement system capable of delivering masses of sound pressure without overstepping the bounds,” he stated. “This we were able to do. Our clients, the guests and the musicians were all delighted. We even earned plaudits from the District Administration Authority as the Schottenhamel marquee turned out to be the only one in which the sound reinforcement had been realised without exceeding the limits the authority had prescribed.”
An interesting detail concerned the ladies’ restrooms. Whenever the queue for the cubicles became too long, Wittenzellner turned up the sound level in the toilet area. Why, you may ask: “Because we’d noticed that women spent less time in the cubicles if the sound level was high enough to prevent them using their mobile phones,” he explained, adding with a smile that “the trick worked. “Whenever we did this, the queue began shrinking immediately.”