Meyer Sound Helps Kick Off FIFA Opening Celebrations
The excitement of the 2006 World Cup spawned innumerable celebrations in cities and towns across six continents, but nowhere did football fever play out as fervently as in the host country of Germany. In addition to the games themselves, a regular calendar of musical and cultural celebrations helped to keep the enthusiasm level high between matches.
The official FIFA opening ceremonies were marked with a festive celebration at Munich's famed Schrannenhalle, featuring celebrity presenters, funky late-night dance grooves, and stellar sound courtesy of a powerful line array from Meyer Sound. The show commenced with opening addresses from Munich mayor Christian Ude, as well as FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and world-renowned soccer star (and chairman of the World Cup's organizational committee) Franz Beckenbauer. Following the official presentations, the crowd was treated to the cool and sultry sounds of musician and singer Ron Williams, an Oakland, Calif.-born expatriate who has long been a crowd-pleaser in his adopted Germany.
In a city with no shortage of interesting venues, the Schrannenhalle stands out as unique, a structure only 25 meters (82 feet) wide but 120 meters (390 feet) in length, with a history as distinctive as its dimensions. The Schrannenhalle, nearly one and a half city blocks in length, is actually a resurrection of the original Schrannenhalle, built 150 years later but modeled on the original's steel and glass design. In fact, the new building utilizes steel from the old building as a means of maintaining the historical connection.
While that's a visually stunning concept, it makes for less than ideal sound. "The Schrannenhalle's acoustics have always been something of a challenge," states Lines Hutter, the hall's house engineer since its reopening in September 2005. Hutter designed and installed the venue's house system, comprising two arrays of four self-powered Meyer Sound M1D ultracompact curvilinear array loudspeakers each, as well as two UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers and a pair of M1D-Sub ultracompact subwoofers. It's a system designed to be as versatile as the hall's eclectic performance schedule.
"We typically put on between one and four shows per day, seven days a week," Hutter explains. "The performances can range from jazz, pop and rock to spoken word, small theater shows, readings and of course, these days, public viewing of football matches. During the World Cup we also recorded a 45-minute daily TV talk show that aired three times per day."
For the FIFA opening bash, the system was expanded to add two more M1D arrays – a total of 16 cabinets – and two more M1D-Subs. The additional gear was provided by Urs Maximillian Gammel of Munich-based rental company MDS Patec.
"I've always loved the way the Meyer arrays sound," Hutter concludes. "In a space as unique as this one, it's even more critical (than in most venues) to have a system that is versatile, accurate and easy to control. We couldn't work without the Meyer arrays. They are really the best solution I can imagine."
The original Schrannenhalle, a glass and steel structure some 430 meters (1400 feet) long, was conceived by engineer Franz Karl Muffat in the 1850s for the German King Maximillian II. Though hailed as a landmark architectural achievement at the time, by the close of the 19th century the hall had fallen out of favor and into disrepair, and in 1914 all but a 110-meter (360 foot) section was razed in the name of progress. A fire destroyed some of the remaining portion of the building in the spring of 1932, and what remained was purchased by the local Munich gas utility for storage purposes. The site was all but ignored for decades until, in 1978, architect and historian Volker Huetsch began the push to rebuild the hall. Following many years of discussion and proposals, construction on the new Schrannenhalle began in March of 2003.