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Queen tribute band MerQury select RCF line array for show 500m underground

Located in Merkers Adventure Mines, in Thuringia, Germany, a former large bunker for potash salt, at a depth of 500 metres, served as the concert hall

Queen tribute band MerQury recently performed a sold-out show, which just so happened to be underground, in Merkers, Thuringia, using RCF’s line array system HDL 30-A.

In Merkers Adventure Mines, a former large bunker for potash salt, at a depth of 500 metres, serves as the concert hall. With its hose-like shape (22 metres wide and 15-17 metres high), at a length of 250 metres and with walls made of bare rock, this bunker certainly poses some challenges for bands and sound managers.

To master these challenges, PVS Jena, the event service provider, used RCF’s active two-way line array system HDL 30-A. Other RCF components used were a SUB 9007, SUB 9004, TT22-A front fills, TT052-A lip fills and two 2 TT22-A in two delay lines.

Jens Peterlein, managing director at PVS Jena, commented on the RCF line array: “The HDL 30-A system provided us with excellent service at this special concert. Because of its compact design, low weight and size unusual in this range, the system fit perfectly for the occasion and location. The installation times in Merkers are short, and the delivery through the pit is very complex, requiring the most precise preliminary planning. We travelled 500m down with the elevator and then 15 minutes by transporter underground to the event hall; every move must be considered.

“With RCF’s software tool RDNet, including the prediction tool added to version 3.1, we could simulate the system well in advance and configure it and install it quickly and precisely, a further decisive advantage in live operation.”

RDNet’s latest version allows for room temperature and humidity parameters to be adjusted individually. Therefore, PVS Jena was able to adjust the system to the changing room acoustics and parameters of the venue throughout the event and in real time.

The aim during installation was to keep the area behind the podium and the stage as quiet as possible and to limit the sound to 100 metres for the audience, considering the unique reflection characteristics of the large bunker. Two HDL 30-A modules (hanging), four SUB 9007-A (side), and four SUB 9004-A (centre) worked as the main PA. The subs were each placed in cardioid mode and acoustics were optimised using a pre-programmed preset. RCF TT22-A modules served as front fills, with two TT052-A as near fills.

While the band’s musicians played with an in-ear system, singer and frontman Johnny Zatylny preferred performing with two monitor boxes (TT25CXA) on stage.

At a distance of 30 and 60 metres from the stage, 2×2 TT22-A multifunctional speakers served as delays, providing a homogeneous sound even in the back rows. Reflections through the rear wall of the tunnel dug into the mountain and had to be reduced to the minimum.

According to Peterlein, the tuning of the line arrays and subs with the delay modules was perfect. Even the last rows got the impression of the stage as the only sound source. “In fact, the audience in the back rows were right at the core of the action, which was very impressive.”

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