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The Humboldt Forum lives in the reconstructed Berlin Palace and houses museums, event locations, exhibition spaces and facilities for cultural education. While its facades are largely modeled on the original, the complex’s interior is equipped with technology tailored to modern needs.
Systems integrator Digitech installed an IP-based audio infrastructure networked via a centrally-located Lawo Nova73 HD router. The Lawo installation uses three Lawo mc²56 production consoles and 11 Dallis I/O systems. Lawo stage boxes connect the areas for events and sound art projects. Signal transfer throughout the building travels through the central router.
The main venues in the Humboldt Forum are extensively equipped with audio technology. Each of the two live-event halls hosts a control room with an mc²56 (MKIII) mixing console (a 32-fader and 48-fader console, respectively) as well as a common central equipment room whose plug-in panel connects to the stage boxes generously distributed throughout the event and visitor facilities; these are and equipped with interfaces for audio, video, conference technology and control.
The Klangwerkstatt (Sound Workshop), operated by the National Museums of Berlin, maintains the Lautarchiv (Sound Archive), a collection of historical sound recordings. In addition to technical facilities for the restoration of acoustic sources, the sound workshop operates a recording studio featuring a Lawo mc²56 console equipped with 48 faders. The control room and audio connectivity allow the entire house to be integrated and used for historical and artistic projects.
“The wide range of events expected in the future, both in terms of space and artistic-technical character, and the network links between them, tipped the scales in favor of the Lawo system,” says Birger Gross, head of Audio and Video Engineering at the Humboldt Forum. “The Lawo mc²56 production console, established and recognized primarily in the broadcast sector and now also in large and small opera houses and theaters, scores in various fields,” he said.
“The eleven DALLIS frames are distributed around the entire building and installed at the respective venues, so signal paths to microphone sources are kept pleasantly short,” added Gross.
In addition to the main Kling&Freitag sound system, Hall 2 is equipped with a Vivace reverberation system with 62 separate speakers on the walls and ceiling, and Hall 1 with 12 additional wall speakers. This variability, specifically the large number of additional loudspeakers that can be directly controlled by the Lawo system, will also be used by “Instrument,” an AI-based composition platform. It accesses the sound archive and “composes” them further by evaluating ethnological, geographical and music-theoretical parameters.
“We find the Lawo system to be a generally very agile construct, making it possible for us to react quickly and efficiently to short-term, unconventional tasks,” said Gross. “In conjunction with Riedel on the communications side, we are looking forward to tackling and implementing upcoming tasks, whether they are conferences or sound installations, theater performances or chamber concerts, cinema screenings or cross-room theme days, as soon as possible — and with a large audience!”