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Immersive audio-visual experience

The spectacular ceremony was created by Es Devlin and delivered by People Creative with Done + Dusted producing the broadcast. Scroll down for more details.

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner
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51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner

762 loudspeakers and multiple systems

Our loudspeaker system consisted of various parts to deliver specific elements of the show. Reinforcement of the music and narration content was based around the acoustic centre of the orchestra to ensure time alignment between the acoustic sound and the reinforced sound. The SFX systems were arranged to exploit the linear nature of the venue and provide localisation to key moments.

The L-ISA system was placed above the orchestra and received 96 inputs from the SD7Q consisting of sub-mixed stems of the live orchestra and pre-recorded stems from the Ovation replay system. The loudspeaker arrangement consisted of 36 outputs and a sub-bass output.

Our immersive music system consisted of four parts:

  1. Main L-ISA system of five Kara II arrays and outfill arrays.

  2. Overhead system of 30 L-Acoustics X8 loudspeakers which were used to  simulate the sound of a concert hall acoustic environment triggered with mainly pre-recorded content and some live inputs. 

  3. Personal 4.1 systems - a total of 300 5XT, 200 X4i, 30 Syva Low and 16 SB15 to deliver a high fidelity nearfield experience. 

  4. Subwoofers - 40 L-Acoustics KS28 subs were distributed throughout the grandstand structure to provide sub-low energy to the music and sound effects content. 

Our SFX system consisted of three parts:

  1. Ground row of 13 L-Acoustics X8 loudspeakers on either side of the performance area for spatial SFX content related to floor projection and cast movement. 

  2. Flown row of 13 L-Acoustics A10-Wide at high level along each side of the space for spatial SFX content related to objects moving through the space and for music SFX. 

  3. A stereo system at each end of the space for any sound related to projected content on the portals. Each array consisted of six L-Acoustics K2. 

Click on the link below for a video walk-through of the Soundvision file for the project.

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner


Typical arrangement of Five Kara arrays and out-fill

The square windows above the orchestra can be seen in the image, each of which concealed an array of Kara II elements slightly exagerating the physical width of the orchestra which can be seen in the image. 

These arrays were used to reinforce the acoustic sound of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the local Emirati musicians. The orchestra was mixed locally to stems on a dedicated console and fed to the main FOH console and broadcast. 


30 X8 loudspeakers

This system consisted of three rows of 10 loudspeakers evenly distributed along the length of the performance area suspended from the overhead catenary ropes. 

This system was used to add concert hall reverberation to the space using the pre-recorded orchestral, choir and Emirati instrumentation to trigger the room engine. 



Personal 4.1 systems

The North grandstand seating was arranged as single seats on 1 metre centres. A front system of 5XT's and a rear system of X4i's at 1 metre spacing located between seats was deployed to provide each seat with a left and right front and rear, whereby the speakers are shared between seats. 

30 L-Acoustics Syva Low dual 12" bass speakers were evenly distributed throughout the grandstand audience areas to provide bass energy. 

This system provided a nearfield spatial listening experience for every listener. 


Ground and flown linear systems

The small black rectangles just above the plastic protecting the lighting conceal the ground row of X8 loudspeakers, 13 per side. 

More difficult to spot are the 13 A10-Wide loudspeakers mounted to the top lighting truss either side. 

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Portal stereo systems

The East and West portals were used not only as entrances and exits for the large scenic items but also as projection surfaces when closed. We deployed an array of L-Acoustics K2 either side of each portal to allow the audio content associated with the images to be localised to the portals.

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Projects

Soundvision walk-through

The video is a walk-through of the various elements of the system deployed for the project can be viewed below.

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner
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51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner

Orchestra systems

Our approach was to sub-mix the orchestra to stems for delivery to FOH and broadcast consoles to simplify the mixing tasks and also to provide a repeatable situation between the show venue and rehearsal venue.

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner
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Capture, sub-mix and monitoring

A dual engine SD7 and a pair of SD Racks were used to capture the orchestra. The console was located behind the orchestra that provided monitoring for the players via wired and wireless in-ear monitors. 

Clicks, counts and some pre-recorded content was sent to the orchestra console from the main Ovation playback system. A MADI recorder was included in the system to capture the orchestra for backup purposes and refining mixes. 


Duplication of show systems

A duplicate system was deployed in the rehearsal venue to allow the same console session file to be used and refined throughout the rehearsals. 

Protools was used as the playback system in the rehearsal venue with the session built by our team and the music editor. 

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Projects
51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner


Capture, sub-mix and monitoring

We used a mirrored pair of DiGiCo Quantum7 consoles with a pair of L-ISA Processor II units, one per console, connected using MADI, and a pair of TiMax SoundHub2 processors. 

The signal distribution system consisted of multiple DiGiCo SD Racks for inputs and various AVB and Optocore network devices distributing the outputs to LA-Rack's around the venue. The primary signal distribution was AVB on Luminex network switches with Optocore network devices providing AES/EBU secondary inputs to the amplifiers. 


Duplication of show systems

We used a dual-redundant pair of Ovation systems by Merging Technologies operated by Simon Sayer and Luis Miranda. The system consists of a purpose-built Windows 10 computer running Ovation, the Horus audio interface delivering 128-channels via MADI and the Ovation keyboard for each system.

The DiGiCo SD11 is used for local monitoring for the Ovation operators with a pair of Neumann KH310 loudspeakers. 

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Spatial music mixing

L-ISA was the spatial mixing platform for the music and consisted of the main Kara loudspeaker system of five arrays and the overhead loudspeaker system of 30 X8 loudspeakers to provide room simulation. 

The spatial fill feature of L-ISA was used to provide signal to the overhead loudspeakers with a greater emphasis on distribution than localisation. 

We created three room engine presets based on the large warm concert hall preset. The presets were assigned to snapshots and used to suit the different compositions throughout the show. 

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Projects
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51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Headliner


The people and companies that made it happen.

A huge thanks to Es Devlin and her design team, Tim Elliott, Will Jensen and the whole team at People Creative for involving us in this project. Congratulations on delivering a really amazing project that was a joy to deliver.

Our Client

The Audio system was designed by Scott Willsallen. Our team also included Richard Sharratt on FOH, Martin Dineley on systems, Simon Sayer and Luis Miranda on replay, Toby Chester mixing the orchestra and Robin Whittaker operating TiMax.

Our Team

Thanks to Giulio Rovelli and his team from Agora for supplying, installing and maintaining the system for us. Thanks to Edo, Matt, Will, James, Aries and the tireless audio team who put so much care and energy into this massive project.

Our Supplier

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: Testimonials



Feb / Mar 2023

Here is an article by TPMEA about the audio complexities of this project.

51 UAE National Day Ceremony: News
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