Germany’s Giessener Kultursommer festival was recently thrilled by Swedish death metal titans Amon Amarth, whose headline performance boasted elaborate pyrotechnics and Vikings dueling on stage. Ensuring that the sound was every bit as striking was a comprehensive VERA36 sound reinforcement system by TW AUDiO.
Now in its third year, Giessener Kultursommer is a 12 date festival hosted in the grounds of 12th century Schiffenberg Abbey, marking the end of the German summer with an extremely eclectic mix of artists. Alongside the remarkable Amon Amarth show (part of the band’s Jomsviking world tour), the 2017 edition offered everything from Michael Jackson and ABBA tributes to a comedy show by Kurt Kromer, spoken word poetry by Lars Ruppel, and concerts by the likes of Roland Kaiser, Max Giesinger, Tim Bendzko and Milow.
Providing technical production throughout the event was Gießen’s PS Sound, who have worked on Kultursommer since its origin in a big top circus tent. However, the challenge facing the company went deeper than the varied bill. While Schiffenberg Abbey is a beautiful location for Giessener Kultursommer, the shape of its audience area means it can be difficult to achieve consistent audio coverage.
“The main PA system needed to provide 160˚ coverage because the audience area in front of the stage was only around 27m deep, but almost twice as wide,” explains PS Sound System Tech, Jan-Niklas Volk. His solution comprised a total of 16 VERA36 enclosures flown eight per side, plus four T24 cabinets which served as side fills, flown two per side beside the VERA36. Four T20 enclosures also acted as near-fills. “It was the ideal solution,” says Volk, “the first couple of rows enjoyed perfect mid-high frequency coverage.”
Low-end extension was courtesy of 16 S33 ground-stacked subwoofers, plus two BSX subs. “The S33 subs were set up in a cardioid configuration and the two BSX were there to deliver extra punch,” Volk explains. TW AUDiO C12 and C15 wedges – four of each – could also be found on stage, providing fold-back throughout the festival. Power was via Lab.gruppen PLM12K44 and PLM20K44 amplifiers with loudspeaker management by Lake.
The venue’s shape proved itself to be challenging throughout Giessener Kultursommer, but never more so than during Amon Amarth.
“With Amon Amarth it was important to have enough headroom and rich low-mids from the PA,” continues Volk. “We had no problems with the VERA36 and S33 subs. In fact, all of the sound engineers who used the system over the course of Giessener Kultursommer wanted a lot of headroom, and they were all very happy to find that there was plenty of it with the TW AUDiO system.”
Amon Amarth’s front of house engineer, Weston Blaha, was quick to agree. Having been with Amon Amarth since 2013, the Southern Oregon native has experienced a mixture of cramped clubs, large arenas and festivals while on the Jomsviking tour alone, including some dates with Megadeth. He’s also experienced mixing the band on a variety of different sound reinforcement systems, using his own Midas Pro2C.
“What’s important to me is having a system that’s punchy enough for metal, and I liked the headroom that was available in the TW AUDiO system,” he said. “It’s very pleasing – the overall sound of the system and especially the bass was impressive.”