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Oksa Production and Meyer Sound Meet Severe Challenges for Slovakia Bush Visit
The final stop on U.S. President George W. Bush's recent European tour was the Slovak Republic. This was the first visit by an American president since the country gained its independence following the split from the former Czechoslovakia in 1993.
On February 24th, Mr Bush spoke to a crowd of over 100,000 in Hviezdoslav's square in Bratislava just before meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Oksa Production of Slovakia provided all production requirements for the event, including a Meyer Sound loudspeaker system, lighting, staging, bleachers, video screens and power supply. But pulling the job off required Oksa to surmount a series of extreme hurdles. For a start, the set had to be put together in just two days in extreme weather conditions, with frequent snow and temperatures between five degrees above and seven below zero Celsius. But the weather was just the beginning.
"The location posed some challenges for the set up of the loudspeaker system," explains Oksa Production owner Jaromir Oksa. "The speech was held in an historic square in front of the Slovak Opera House. The area we had to cover was narrow and several hundred meters long. On top of that, it is bisected by side streets and has rows of extremely tall trees.
"To cope with this, at the core of our system were 20 M3D line array loudspeakers and eight 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers. In addition, we used eight MSL-4s (horn loaded long throw loudspeakers) for long-throw coverage and six 650-P (high-power) subs to provide sound in the side streets."
Oksa installed the primary truss construction behind the main stage and VIP bleachers, positioning two clusters of five M3D cabinets each at either side, together with two video screens, all at a height of 15 meters. Meyer Sound MAPP Online acoustical prediction software was used to determine the ideal position of the loudspeakers ensuring even coverage to a distance of 200 meters.
"At that distance we installed another truss ramp carrying a further two clusters of five M3D loudspeakers at the sides for delays," continues Oksa. "These covered the next 200 meters. We also used this truss to hang the MSL-4s, which were turned to face the side streets, and we placed the eight 700-HPs beneath the bleachers."
The VIP bleachers were a separate coverage issue. All three bleachers were placed behind the main presidential stage and were angled towards the crowd listening in the square, which meant that they were behind President Bush when they were listening to his speech. Those sitting on the top of the bleachers had the additional problem that they were pushed further back behind the main M3D clusters.
To solve this problem, Oksa placed eight CQ-1 wide coverage main loudspeakers to distribute the sound to all sides and cover the area around the VIP bleachers, as well as those people close to the front of the main stage.
LD-3 compensating line drivers were used to drive the entire system, allowing Oksa to adjust for the actual temperature and humidity of the space. "This was crucial because the outdoor conditions changed significantly between setup and the actual time of the speech," he says. "By doing it this way we were able to attain perfect settings that gave a true speech representation.
"The M3D line array system was able to carry sound over the trees so the people in the square felt that President Bush was speaking directly to them. Mr. Bush himself appreciated the quality of the sound as we had placed two UPM-1P (ultra-compact wide coverage loudspeaker) monitors on the main stage."
Oksa and his technical team received a written certificate of appreciation from the White House Communications Agency for their outstanding production of the event.
"We use Meyer Sound speakers and devices exclusively because we're convinced that it is only possible to obtain a true and clear sound with the reliability and high quality of Meyer Sound products," he concludes. "They have the added advantage that they are able to work under extreme conditions, and we've certainly proved that here."