Investment in the future

City of Baden-Baden and Festspielhaus upgrade audio and video technology in the concert hall

Photo that shows Fsh Intendant  Benedikt Stampa Ob Marget Mergen Inbetriebnahme Av Anlage C Festspielhaus Baden Baden 2. © Festspielhaus Baden Baden
© Festspielhaus Baden Baden

Mayor of Baden-Baden Margret Mergen and Festspielhaus Artistic Director Benedikt Stampa launched a new audio and video system in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden on October 30, 2020. This marks the beginning of the digital age in this area at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. The system, installed between April and September 2020, replaces an antiquated analog version from the early 1990s which had long been considered outdated. The system was used for the first time, when ARTE was livestreaming two concerts from the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden on the internet (October 31, 4:00 and 8:00pm) and SWR2 recorded them for radio broadcast.

As the owner of the property, the City of Baden-Baden invested 1.1 million euros in the new technology. The usage contract for the Festspielhaus signed this year stipulates that the City of Baden-Baden is to continue to provide the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden gGmbH with a “performance-ready stage.” Regular investments are to prevent a major renovation backlog.

"This investment will help us considerably in the future to become more visible nationally and internationally, and to establish Baden-Baden in the media as a festival location," says Artistic Director Benedikt Stampa. “We can also provide a better listening experience at events where the voice or instruments require amplification. The new UHF system facilitates barrier-free listening.”

"Particularly in these times, investing in new digital technologies is extremely important," said Mayor Margret Mergen during a press conference. She pointed to the many successful streaming and media projects that could be seen and heard from Baden-Baden during the first phase of the coronavirus lockdown. “We are also investing in Baden-Baden as a media location,” says Mergen.

New system reduces set-up and production times

The Festspielhaus’s new A/V system reduces set-up and production times for the concert hall’s media partners. Twenty-two kilometers of new fiber optic, camera, and data cables have been laid across the building. Eight permanently installed cameras deliver video images in line with today's television standards. Additional recording devices can simply be connected to the new network via various patch panels at different locations in the Festspielhaus. Remote-controlled winches – a technical premiere in Germany – enable the precise placement of microphones above orchestras, choirs, and soloists.

Sound reinforcement system significantly improved

The renowned hall acoustics of the Festspielhaus remain unaffected by the new audio system. However, now far less equipment needs to be rented for special event formats in the musical, pop, and jazz genres. The original loudspeaker sound system had been a minor weakness of the hall, since it could not be optimally “illuminated” acoustically using the Festspielhaus’s own equipment. The sound reinforcement system of the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden is now in line with international standards.

From now on, thirty-four new loudspeakers with high-resolution frequency technology and precise transmission angles will provide targeted sound to every area of the hall. Speech intelligibility is thereby dramatically improved. The speakers have been placed in concealed locations so the visual appearance of the hall remains unchanged.

Help with hearing

Finally, the system for barrier-free listening has been modernized; the switch to UHF technology replaces the previous infrared technology and now enables people with hearing impairments to comfortably participate in the exquisite sound experience of the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden via Mobile

Updated: 11/18/2020