George Enescu Festival shines with MCR system

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FACE was tasked with addressing the acoustics for the George Enescu Festival at “Sala Palatului” in Romania. A mobile Multi-Channel Reverberation System (MCR) was installed to allow the orchestras to shine bright in this classical venue.

Festival legacy

When it comes to festival legacy- few have a history like the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest, Romania. The first edition took place in 1958, remembering the infamous musical composer George Enescu with a series of concerts. Although shortly interrupted after the 5th edition the tradition carries on until today, and the festival and it’s now added competition have grown to one of the most important musical events in Romania and abroad.

Velvet room acoustics

FACE was again present for the 2015 edition of the Festival, tasked with addressing the acoustics in the Festival venue “Sala Palatului”.

Sala Palatului is a classic building, built between 1959 and 1960 and part of the pavilion that houses the National Museum of Art. The main room has a capacity of more than 4000 seats and is a true work of architectural art. The entire interior is finished in velvet with golden trimmings, from the seats to the walls and even the banisters.

Due to it’s slightly wedged shape and treatment with fabric, the room has a very “dry” character when it comes to acoustics. This is great for housing Pop- and Rock concerts- which is one of the primary usages of the venue nowadays, but less interesting when it comes to housing a symphonic orchestra.

Many classical concert venues have a longer reverberation time, which allows the energy of the orchestra to travel further.

Reflection through technology

In most locations acoustic reflection panels could be positioned to channel the music to the audience. This is however not desirable in Sala Palatului, for a variety of practical reasons, and as the George Enescu festival only takes up the room for a couple of days every 2 years, a large structural change in the room is not an option. Luckily acoustic treatment can also be achieved by installing an electro-acoustic system. Commissioned by rental company Paradigma, FACE has been the festival’s supplier of a mobile Multi-Channel-reverberation (MCR) system for the past editions.

For this specific event a field of 64 MCR speakers was placed across the room’s ceiling, along with 64 Audio Technica AT4022 omni-directional microphones.

The audio which is captured by the microphones is processed by Peavey Media Matrix’s “Nion”, and then translated back to it’s corresponding speaker.

The system mimics the setup of a classic room with reflection panels, where the speaker acts as a panel that reflects 100% of the sound.

This process allows you to increase the energetic values of the reverb, resulting in a space which sounds like a grand auditorium, where the audience can enjoy the tones of the orchestra from the first rom to the very last.

The back of the main room houses some VIP boxes, where the system is complemented with Martin Audio CDD5 speakers. The differential spreading and natural coloring of these speakers allows the VIP guests, who from an acoustic point of view wouldn’t have the best seats in the house, to enjoy the show as if they were in the front row.