In just a few years, the Elbjazz Festival has grown into one of the most popular jazz festivals in Europe. Attractive line-ups have played just as much a part in this as the spectacular venues in the bustling port of Hamburg.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 2022 edition of Elbjazz on June 3 and 4 featured 44 acts worth listening to on several stages located in and around the harbour. Hamburg-based production company PM Blue has been providing sound reinforcement for the festival for several years and relied on Alcons Audio’s proven pro-ribbon sound systems on three stages in 2022 to deliver crystal-clear sound for sophisticated ears to the 15,000-strong audience.
The open-air stage Am Helgen, which is located on the property of the shipyard Blohm+Voss, the indoor location “Schiffbauhalle” as well as the main church St. Katharinen were all fitted with Alcons.
It’s not the first time PM Blue has chosen Alcons on a jazz mission. Lennart Wenzel, PM Blue Senior Project Manager and Production Manager at Elbjazz, knows why: “The Alcons systems are excellent for jazz and classical music. The ribbon tweeters produce a very natural sound. The sound characteristics of the systems are beyond reproach and were totally impressive across the board at Elbjazz.”
On the Am Helgen stage, 20 Alcons LR18 (2 x 8″) line array systems (l / r) and 12 BC543 3x 18” subwoofers were used as main system. 2 RR12 (1 12″) point source systems served as infills, supplemented by four of the ultra-compact and versatile pro ribbon 2-way 8″ VR8 loudspeakers as nearfields. The delay lines were each equipped with eight of the 6.5″ LR7/120 micro pro-ribbon line array systems per side, positioned at FOH level. Ten Alcons Sentinel10 Amplified Loudspeaker Controllers drove the sound system for this stage.
The Schiffbauhalle offered intensive concert experiences for several hundred spectators in a special industrial setting. With 15 LR14 (2 x 6.5″) ultra-compact line array modules per side in the main hang and six LR7 per side as delay, the 40-meter-long audience area benefited from targeted sound reinforcement. At the same time, the side areas of the Schiffbauhalle did not cause unnecessary reverberation. At the edge of the stage, four VR8 were used as nearfields and four double 15″ BF302 mkII on each side as woofers. The entire system was driven by two Alcons amplifier racks, each housing three Sentinel10 Amplified Loudspeaker Controllers.
“The sound was very powerful and voluminous over the entire length of the Schiffbauhalle, with no details lost thanks to the pro ribbons,” said Ingo Schwarzer, operator and systems engineer at PM Systemhaus, who manned the Schiffbauhalle’s FOH. “From delicate chimes to sub-bass solos, every tone was reproduced flawlessly. For me, the Alcons system is the only one that is homogeneous across the entire dispersion range while consistently delivering high resolution.”
The main church St. Katharinen at Hamburg harbor was supplied with sound by two modular pro-ribbon two-way column loudspeakers Alcons QR36 (6 x 6“), controlled by an Alcons Sentinel3.
Phillip Buschhüter, FOH operator in charge at St. Katharinen, on the QR36 system: “My experience with the QR36 was positive all around. I had one QR36 each on the front left and right. I particularly liked the dispersion pattern because it didn’t open vertically, so we were able to use the maximum amount of direct sound without too many reflections from the church floor or the church vaults. The system sounded very linear right off the bat, so there was no need for extensive EQing other than HPF.”
Lennart Wenzel added: “The Alcons QR speakers go through distance like a knife through butter. And in a church, you don’t have to put so much energy into the room. You basically only have to support those instruments that you can’t hear well.”
Buschhüter explains the Alcons systems’ impressive performance in acoustically demanding church buildings as follows: “Alcons loudspeakers differ from other systems primarily in their linear sound image and dispersion behavior. This was ideal for the sound situation in the church. Especially low frequencies (low-mids) were clearly longer in the room and were not too obtrusive due to the balanced sound pattern. In addition, the pro-ribbon technology with its vertical dispersion was ideal for this sound reinforcement situation.”