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German Broadcast Bets on Meyer Sound M2D
"Wetten Dass...?" (Want To Bet...?) is one of the most popular and long-running TV shows in Germany. For 21 years, the show has been entertaining audiences with its unique brand of celebrity interviews and crazy antics, including such feats as shaving while skydiving at a height of 4,000 meters or finding thirty people from ten different countries in a park and dancing the Cancan with them.
To spice the show up even more, the producers of "Wetten Dass...?" recently decided that a July episode should be broadcast live from the Walt Disney Studios Park just outside Paris. Hosted by regular front man Thomas Gottschalk, the show aired from a 3,000-seat, seventy-meter-wide grandstand normally used for the daily Motor Stunt Show. The live broadcast also featured performances by musical guests Brian Ferry, Bryan Adams and Havanna Night and Alisse.
The sound system specification called for an active PA system that was both small in size and lightweight. Gerd Braunewell, a sound engineer for ZDF, which broadcasts the show, suggested Meyer Sound's M2D Compact Curvilinear Array loudspeaker system, which he saw for the first time at this year's Frankfurt Musik Messe.
The sound system was designed by Michael Häck, a freelance engineer with past experience working with ZDF; this was his second "Wetten Dass...?" show. In the largest single use of Meyer Sound's M2D loudspeakers to date, Häck designed a system comprising forty M2Ds with eight M2D-Sub Compact subwoofers, four 650-P High-Power subwoofers and two CQ-1 Wide Coverage Main loudspeakers.
Because so many M2D units were required, two separate hire companies provided the equipment: a brand new system just purchased by BBS in Berlin, and additional loudspeakers belonging to Fluge in Madrid.
The system was configured as four arrays, each comprising eight M2Ds with two M2D-Subs. A further four arrays of two M2Ds each supplied frontfill, with the 650-Ps and the CQ-1s for outfill.
"With this setup I was able to equalize, delay and mute every zone," Häck says. "Each array had three lines: one for the subs, one for the upper three M2Ds and one for the lower five M2Ds. I carried out the alignment using Meyer's SIM System II FFT Analyzer. But the best tool I have ever seen and used to date has to be Meyer Sound's MAPP Online! It allowed me to see in advance if this configuration was going to work well, whether I needed to use more or fewer M2Ds, and how the frequency response differed from the front row of seats to the back. It's a great tool, and I'm very impressed."
According to Häck, the biggest challenge he faced was not disturbing the Motor Stunt Show which runs four times a day, from 11am to 6pm. "This meant that we had to completely set up the stage — including the frontfill speakers and subs — during each of our eleven production days, while the two inner arrays came down for three days because they were blocking the sightlines for the show in some of the rear seats," he says.
Apart from Braunewell, Häck was also assisting ZDF sound engineers Andreas Kremer and Hans Beike.
"The system received a really good response from the entire technical staff and production team, and it was definitely the right decision to use M2Ds," says Häck. "They have excellent horizontal coverage, and provide flat response right down to 30 Hz with the M2D-Sub."