Hanoi’s Friendship Theatre has become Vietnam’s first performing arts venue to install a d&b Soundscape system. The package comprises the DS100 Signal Engine with the En-Scene algorithm to provide accurate source localization and XSL line arrays paired with V10P point sources for a 180° frontal system.
The theatre, housed inside the brutalist-style Cultural Friendship Palace in central Hanoi, is one of the city’s cherished historic landmarks and hosts a diverse mix of local and international productions, including classical, dance and other cultural performances. The main space is the 1100-seater, two-level Great Hall.
d&b distributor-partner Stage Professional initiated discussions about the installation of the d&b XSL loudspeaker system, to upgrade the theatre’s existing V-Series, back in 2019 following a fire at the venue. After reconstruction and renovation of key areas, the project progressed in collaboration between Stage Professional’s director, Dinh Viet Hung, the owners of the theatre and d&b Asia-Pacific’s Education and Application Support Specialist, Royston Tan.
“The team at Friendship Theatre was interested in d&b Soundscape to offer special shows, or visiting productions an immersive audio option,” explains Mr Hung. “It needed to be a high-quality sound system that could be switched from the more traditional left-right stereo set up to a Soundscape experience simply and enable the audience to perceive accurate imaging wherever they were seated within the venue.
“Additionally, the theatre required a true cardioid loudspeaker solution to reduce noise on stage and deliver crystal clear sound out front. The d&b XSL and Soundscape package we have specified and installed has facilitated all this.”
Within the Great Hall, eight XSL8 and four XSL12 loudspeakers have been installed, with four V-SUB subwoofers on low-end duty. These are augmented by six V10P loudspeakers and six 44S for front fills, with a further six 44S loudspeakers as delay fills. At the heart of the system is the DS100 Signal Engine and the system is powered by D80, 10D and D6 amplifiers. Stage Professional Vietnam supplied the d&b equipment, with the installation and commissioning team comprising d&b’s Royston Tan, mix engineer Ngoc Vutuan and system engineer Nguyễn Thiết from Fantasies Show Light Vietnam.
“The compact XSL speakers disappear in the room, which is fantastic,” continues Mr Hung. “It also no longer matters where you sit within the theatre – with its approximately 700 seats on the first floor and 400 on the upper level – as the sound image can be heard accurately, everywhere. Audiences don’t generally know about the new technology, but they are certainly having new experiences listening to it because they can hear the sounds in the same place that their eyes can see it coming from.”
“The owners of the Friendship Theatre are very happy with the sound; they now have better value in each show and are becoming well known as a leader of new theatre technology in Vietnam.”
Royston Tan adds: “Soundscape has brought a whole new dimension of audio production quality to the theatre. En-Scene allows mix engineers to easily convey a sense of width and depth of the soundstage to the audience. Integrated with show control software like Figure 53’s QLab, show automation and movement cues can also be achieved seamlessly in real time. Since the DS100 Signal Engine is also a matrix, the system was configured to be able to switch between stereo and soundscape operation modes and cater to different production requirements.”