Besteam-Audio installs Malta’s largest concert sound system
The Sound system includes XLC and XLD loudspeakers, TG7 and P3000 amps and Dx46 and N8000 controllers

Initiated 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is the largest music competition in the world. Each year an estimated 195 million viewers worldwide watch the contest. In 2003, the ESC launched its junior version – open to performers aged 10 to 15 years. On November 15th, the 12th edition’s final of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest took place in Marsa, Malta. For the high-profile event, the organisers secured the services of Attard-based Besteam-Audio and MKA.

“At the Junior ESC we were faced with two large challenges”, recalls Antoine Busuttil, Director of Besteam-Audio. “On the one hand, the sound reinforcement system needed to be discrete, yet powerful. On the other hand, we needed to get the venue’s long reverberation times under control.” To ensure both requirements were met, Malta’s largest sound reinforcement system was brought in – the medium format XLC line array from Electro-Voice. For the event’s main PA, Besteam-Audio relied on two main hangs consisting of 16 XLC 127 DVX per side as well as two delay hangs with 6 XLC 907 DVX cabinets each. Eight Xsubs subwoofers acted as ground stack reinforcement for the near field and near stage low frequency coverage. Besteam Audio Malta supported by Tony Sawyer from Electro-Voice’s application specialist team had their work cut out for them, working with a converted and old shipbuilding factory into a venue to host the event. Tony Sawyer: “We had to consider multiple factors when designing the system. We opted for the Electro-Voice XLC as the main line array hangs due of its power to size ratio and having the right length gave us better control of the array. At the same time, the XLC line array is compact and discrete enough to be hidden out of camera angles.” The second point was especially important, as the show was broadcast live to millions of viewers in Europe. “The main line array hangs had to be repositioned and re-angled to cater for the camera angles needed for the broadcast. This had to be done twice due to camera angle position changes at the last minute. The fact that Electro-Voice’s XLC series can be set-up and taken down both fast and efficiently really paid off.”

Additionally, the event’s venue Malta Shipbuilding is known for its challenging room acoustics. “The venue has a very long reverberation time. However, the presence of 5,500 visitors helped immensely to reduce reverberation, says Sawyer. Additionally, as most of the acts were on in ear monitors, side fills were needed. Four hangs of eight 2-way XLD281 line array elements were used to cover the main upstage where dancers performed. These were added by four X-Subs providing a powerful bass foundation. Two additional line arrays of eight XLD covering the lower stage area gave even sound coverage to the respective areas.” Antoine Busuttil: “It was again a bit of a struggle to work with the stage and camera angles to make sure the speakers were out of view. Because of the efficiency of the XLD we were able to accommodate this need and place the hangs a bit further away from the stage.”

In order to provide enough power and headroom for the sound system, the system designer opted for 26 TG7 power amplifiers as well as 24 P3000RL power amplifiers. Routing of the console and digital sound processing was secured by twelve Dx46 sound system processors and a NetMax N8000 digital matrix controller. The entire system was controlled using IRIS-Net software establishing complete control, monitoring and supervision. It enables quick and efficient configuration of large groups of hardware to enable a large number of individual devices to operate as a single, seamless system.

Additionally to the stage and audience, it was also Electro-Voice equipment that secured the sound backstage. ZX5 loudspeaker stacks and a Live-X subwoofer brought the sound backstage as well as to the dancers’ viewing area. Additional rooms were equipped with a total of 32 ZXA1 compact powered loudspeakers and eight ZXA1-Sub subwoofers.

“The result was spectacular”, comments Antoine Busuttil. “The sound in the whole venue was fantastic and also our customer was full of praise.” So satisfied were the organisers that the system was again be used for the national semi-final and final of Malta’s ESC entry on November 21st and 22nd.