Salle des Princes of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco: Customized acoustics.


Salle des Princes of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco: Customized acoustics.

06 mai 2022

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The exceptional acoustic system of the Grand Auditorium of the Grimaldi Forum is found in only a dozen halls around the world. It has recently been renovated and has just been tested at full scale. This particular acoustic contributes to the success of this emblematic stage of the French Riviera, attracting the greatest artists and professional events that bring joy to their spectators thanks to a sound technology that is tailored to each type of show.

Each type of music requires a specific sound environment characterized by, for example, the reverberation time, which is expressed in seconds and corresponds to the time it takes for the sound to die out in a room. For instance, a low reverberation is desirable for theater or lectures, while a longer reverberation rich in low frequencies is appreciated for symphonic music.

The CARMEN system, a French acronym for Active Control of Reverberation by a Natural Effect Virtual Wall, designed and developed by CSTB acousticians, is an electroacoustic system based on the principle of active virtual walls. Thanks to these virtual walls, it is possible to change the reverberation of the room according to the show to reach the ideal acoustics without amplification systems. 

Built into the Grimaldi Forum in 2000, CARMEN modulates the acoustics of the Salle des Princes according to its uses, from conferences to concerts, theater, ballet, electroacoustics, opera or any other event requiring an adapted sound immersion. Its different configurations allow it to be adapted, for example, to common operas as well as to great operas with chorus, to symphonic and oratorio orchestras, to classical or romantic orchestras, with or without chorus and soloists.

It is no longer the artists that adapt their performance to the concert hall, it is the concert hall that adapts to the artists’ performance. This innovative technology immerses musicians, speakers and spectators in an acoustic space that offers the best sound experience, regardless of where you sit in the room. This is made possible by implementing about 30 cells, each consisting of a microphone, an electronic filter unit, a powerful amplifier and a loudspeaker. These cells arranged in virtual walls are distributed on the walls of the room and on the ceiling, the whole being controlled by a digital audio station.

The unique arrangement of the microphones and loudspeakers ensures a completely natural acoustics, in which the spatial and temporal consistency of the sound field is preserved. Reverberation increase is simply achieved by the interplay of reflections between different parts of the virtual walls, in the same way as between real walls. There are no microphones to limit the possibilities of stage use. As a result, the natural directionality of the sound sources and the sound coverage of the stage cannot be altered, as it happens when sound is picked up with microphones close to or above the stage.

For Sylvie Biancheri, General Manager of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, “the Carmen system provides ideal acoustics that allow us to offer quality and diversified events. Our resident artists, be it the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Opera, the Printemps des Arts or the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, have been unanimous for 20 years on the added value of this technology. This system upgrade will delight them, as it will continue to attract and appeal to all of our clients and partners who organize high quality events in the Salle des Princes! «

For Camille Preher, Audiovisual Manager of the Grimaldi Forum, «Carmen is the essential tool to welcome our spectators and the most demanding musicians in the best conditions. This complete hardware upgrade gives us a new set of acoustic configurations and the latest technological advances in system technology that we hope to use for the next twenty years!"

And to assess the tool's performance in situ, it will be operational for the 3 performances of Coppél-i.A by the Ballets de Monte-Carlo from June 3 to 5, then for all the acoustic shows that will follow in the Salle des Princes. Make your reservations!

PHOTOS : © Grimaldi Forum Monaco