With 200 million worldwide viewers, the Eurovision Song Contest is a staggering production defined by its complexity and sheer scale. Featuring elaborate set designs customized for each of the competitors and a vast number of moving elements, the organizers needed technology that worked seamlessly together to deliver an exceptional experience for the home viewers and the 10,000-strong live crowd in Vienna's Wiener Stadthalle arena. This year's selection for live audio reproduction was a Meyer Sound LYON linear sound reinforcement system.
"LYON was chosen for this prestigious event because it offers exceptional vocal quality, musical transparency, and high headroom," says system designer Stefan Schlögl of Vienna-based Sound Art Service (SAS), which provided the system for the event. "The LYON arrays were very precise and worked extremely well. You could clearly hear any changes we made in the EQ."
Impeccable audio quality and precise pattern control were critical. To assure that the stringent requirements were met, 44 LYON linear line array loudspeakers and 12 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements were deployed, with a Galileo loudspeaker management system with four Galileo 616 and six Galileo Callisto 616 array processors for system drive and optimization. Onstage foldback was provided by six MJF-210, two MJF-212A, and 14 UM-1P stage monitors.
The auxiliary fill, delay, and VIP systems comprised 24 M'elodie line array loudspeakers; six JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers; six CQ-1, six UPQ-1P, eight UPM-1P, 18 UPA-1P, eight MSL-2, 18 MSL-4, and four MSL-6 loudspeakers; eight UPJ-1P and six UPJunior VariO loudspeakers; and 10 700-HP subwoofers. Equipment supply for the LYON and 1100-LFC systems came from Senec, Slovakia-based Amex Audio, with coordination by Igor Dem?ák and Bra?o Bèreš.
The broadcast restrictions created a number of challenges. "The most difficult requirement was the height requirement of the arrays, 12 meters above the floor," says Schlögl. "Uniform coverage in front of the stage was not easy, but the LYON and JM-1Ps provided a seamless solution."
Front-end system components included Sennheiser digital 9000 wireless microphone systems and MIDAS PRO6 and PRO9 digital mixing consoles for main and music mixes, respectively. Monitors were mixed on MIDAS PRO X consoles, while the broadcast feed was mixed on four Lawo mc²66 consoles.
Broadcast annually since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest-running television programs in the world. More than 40 countries participated in the 2015 contest, produced by ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk/Austrian Public Broadcasting). The final three shows were televised to hundreds of millions internationally.