OppiKoppi comes of age with d&b ArrayProcessing

Photo by Chris Preyser

From its modest beginnings at the OppiKoppi farm in 1994, this diverse festival celebrated its 21st anniversary by welcoming one hundred and sixty two artists to perform over three days on seven stages, to around 20,000 revellers.

Located in Northam, Limpopo province, north east of Pretoria, this South African festival boasts an unrivalled reputation as the live music event of the season. OppiKoppi 2015 welcomed the opportunity to embrace the latest software technology in the form of ArrayProcessing, from d&b audiotechnik.

This revolutionary function within the d&b ArrayCalc simulation software allows users to optimise the listening experience across an entire audience. By applying a combination of FIR and IIR filters to each individual loudspeaker within a d&b line array, ArrayProcessing achieves a common tonality and consistent sonic result over the listening area defined by the vertical coverage.

Blue Array Productions from Pretoria supplied the audio equipment on all but one of the stages; The James Phillips Stage and the Skellum Stage were both rigged with a d&b Q-Series system, while the Bruilof Stage was kitted out with V-Series L/R. On the Main Stage, it was J-Series, comprising J8’s and J12’s, supplemented by a meaty number of J‑SUBs both ground stacked and flown behind the main arrays. It was here, on the Main Stage, that Blue Array chose to implement ArrayProcessing.

Managing Director, Kobus van Rensburg explained in detail: “Not having used ArrayProcessing before, I was intrigued to experience both the process and the result. We designed the system in the d&b ArrayCalc software to give us the best front to back coverage as we would normally do. Then we applied the ArrayProcessing algorithm to the main array to give us a 2dB drop in SPL from front to back, which was over 80 metres away. This whole process only took about five minutes from design to implementing and loading the parameters into the amplifiers.

“It is no exaggeration to say the result was absolutely astounding. The front to back coverage was smooth and consistent without any tonality changes at all, just that slight defined 2dB drop in SPL as you moved towards the back. I’ve not experienced such even tonality from any PA system ever before. We also found that there was no distortion or audible artifacts present at any volume, high or low.”

Onsite Head of Audio, Marinus Visser, concured: “I had comments from one visiting engineer that he was able to mix the band much louder than usual – and he was under strict instructions to do so. At one point, we reached peaks of 118dB SPL A-weighted at FoH (50 metres away) with 10dB headroom on the whole system. The consistency and clarity meant I could really mix the show with great confidence and be assured that whatever I was doing at FOH was heard by every member of the audience – wherever they were.”

Van Rensburg had no doubt about the value of ArrayProcessing: “We received constant compliments and commendations from audience members, promoters, and other sound technicians and engineers attending the festival. I have to thank d&b for breathing new life into their already amazing systems which remain the easiest and most effortless PA to design, deploy, tune and mix on. These are just a few of the things that define what makes an incredible sounding show. Success every time. You can’t go wrong with that.”