Delivering peak performance in the Swiss Alps

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Interlaken, Switzerland, October 2023 – Held in Interlaken on the slopes of the Jungfrau, Unspunnen Festival is a celebration of Swiss traditional dress and culture. Featuring historic games, wrestling matches and traditional music, the festival attracts revellers from across the country. In order to provide music and live commentary, a versatile audio configuration was required. Event technology provider, Stagepro Veranstaltungstechnik, consulted with local Wharfedale Pro distributor, Sacher Music, to select an appropriate system.

A solution based on Wharfedale Pro’s WLA-112 line array loudspeakers was chosen, and the design of the system was undertaken in collaboration with Wharfedale Pro Applications and Solutions Manager, Alex Lane. “The primary scope for the system was speech intelligibility and a predictable but even coverage of all seating areas,” explains Lane. “The main challenge of the space was having no overhead truss to deploy flown speakers and the largely spread-out nature of the arena. Another key goal was to not impact the viewing of the event itself.”

The festival grounds featured four major grandstands with almost 4,000 seats encircling the central performance stage, totalling an audience size of 16,000 people. “The entire system was designed using EASE Focus 3 acoustic simulation software to the client’s requirements,” recalls Lane. “This ensured that setup and installation were quick and easy, with no surprises on event day.”

To provide intelligible audio for the event, 20 WLA-112 loudspeakers were deployed, driven by five DP-4100N power amplifiers including redundancy. Each grandstand was installed with five WLA-112 elements, mounted on low pole stands at a +2.5-degree upward angle, delivering smooth coverage and sonic clarity across the entire audience. Furthermore, the system utilised the built-in Dante networking features of the DP-N amplifiers.

“Due to the exceptionally even polar pattern and linear phase response of the WLA-112s, the system could cover the audience areas from below, with sonic consistency moving from zone to zone and importantly, minimal impact to sight lines during the event,” continues Lane. “Using DP-N series amplifiers with Dante networked audio also allowed localisation of amplifiers to the four largely spread apart areas, reducing copper cable lengths while still allowing full system control from a single point.”

The event was regarded as a great success. “The WLA-112s delivered superb quality at a very good price,” expresses Markus Malther, Owner of Stagepro Veranstaltungstechnik. “With the DP-N series amplifiers, we were also able to use fibre optic cabling which made the on-site setup quick and practical.” On the impressive range of the WLA system, he comments, “Someone in the audience was looking for the subs, but with the full range characteristics of the WLA-112’s and the system design we did not need any!”