ETC powers up at Aalborg’s Musikkens Hus

Date Posted: 3/12/2015

Musikkens Hus, Aalborg, Denmark

When the specifiers of the aesthetically stunning new-build Musikkens Hus (House of Music) in the northern Danish city of Aalborg were planning the venue in 2009, they filled it with some 250 traditional tungsten Source Four® fixtures . Although by the time the venue opened, the rig seemed outdated, with the help of ETC's Danish distributor Bico, the venue nevertheless ended up with the most up-to-date lighting products on the market, including ETC Gio® control , Sensor®3 power control and over 50 ETC LED luminaires. 

The project was first specified - and budgets allocated - when LED luminaires were still in their infancy and would not have been relied upon as a venue's main houselighting; tungsten was still in charge. So in 2013, in order to help the 215,000-square-foot venue plan for the future, Bico's project manager, Søren Jørgensen, worked closely with venue consultant Arup - who also worked on the acoustics - to future-proof the power system. That way, when they choose to update the lighting fixtures, the system will be able to easily handle the change.

Jørgensen explains: "The original specification called for 988 traditional Sensor+ dimming circuits across the four venues. But, with our assistance and support, this was changed to the latest Sensor3 power control system with advanced ThruPower triple-function modules, resulting in simpler cabling and infrastructure and a reduction to just 796 circuits - saving almost 200 circuits without compromising on functionality."

Arup had originally planned to install a simple DMX-only, wireless control network, but this was later updated to a robust Ethernet-based Net3/ACN protocol network with ETC Net3 DMX Gateways and just a few cable-free aspects. "The change gave the venue a flexible and highly configurable system," says Jørgensen, "and keeps it well suited for rapid changes, in order to meet the daily requirements of single-night events."

Among the Musikkens Hus's permanent residents are the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and Jutland's Royal Academy of Music. The venue also houses Aalborg University's Musical Studies department, the Centre for Jazz History, and a restaurant. Music activities range from classical concerts, pop and electronic music, to choral, opera and jazz.

Musikkens Hus, Aalborg, Denmark

The main hall, seating some 1,300 people, was fitted with an ETC Gio control desk, along with an Eos® Remote Processor Unit as backup. Almost 500 channels of Sensor3 power control, with ThruPower triple-function units, offer dim, relay or constant power for the rig.

In the smaller Intimate Hall, seating 300, another ETC Gio is connected to 144 Sensor3 circuits with ThruPower triple function units, while the 200-seat Classical Hall and Rhythmic Hall both have 115 channels of Sensor3 with ThruPower.

Each of the venues is served by an ETC Unison® Paradigm® system , which takes care of house- and work-lighting, and allows untrained personnel to turn on the lighting for rehearsals.

Jørgensen comments: "After discussing with the theater's technical managers how they planned to use the system, we commissioned both wall-mount and portable stations, using both LCD and traditional legacy button stations. By installing control panels both inside and outside the lighting control booth, we made sure that everyone entitled to adjust the lighting is able to."

Lighting manager Jonas Kjærulff says: "I do all my setup of the power control system using the ETC Concert software , which makes things really easy. It gives me the ability to save a particular setup and recall another just as fast."

Despite the venue being heavily reliant on tungsten - they use some 250 ETC Source Four fixtures, including PARs , Fresnels , fixed-focus and Zooms. They also have 36 ETC Selador® Desire® Lustr®+ luminaires mounted in a fixed setup above the main stage in the Concert Hall, used as rehearsal lights. The luminaires save power and can be used as effect and washlights for concerts when needed. The organ, meanwhile, is highlighted by eight ETC Selador Desire Studio HD luminaires, and a further 12 ETC Selador Desire Vivid™ luminaires power the Intimate Hall.

Concludes Kjærulff: "Some of the feedback we've had has been brilliant, with staff able to set lighting states without bothering lighting technicians, and audiences getting the lighting they've come to expect from a world-class concert venue."

Photo credit: Rene Jeppesen and Musikkens Hus Aalborg