Soundstorm Festival embraces immersive audio with L-Acoustics’ L-ISA 

Soundstorm Festival recently utilised L-Acoustics’ L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal technology to create and curate a stage for VIP audiences.

Since 2016 when the Saudi government opened the doors to public events, MDLBEAST has been nurturing local musical talent, hosting live and online events, producing artists on its MDLBEAST Records label and establishing XP Music Futures to accelerate the growth of MENA’s music industry. 

Since 2019, MDLBEAST has also curated Soundstorm Festival, the Middle East region’s largest gathering of artists and fans with over 200 acts and three quarters of a million visitors over four days. 

Polygon Live is a 360°, immersive sonic experience where speakers play spatialised sound synchronised with an immersive light installation, while different aromas are dispersed around the stage to enhance the immersive experience. 

The Polygon stage at Soundstorm offered an audio canvas that allowed performers to freely move sound within a hemisphere of loudspeaker sources, encompassing the audience with surround and overhead layers.

“We chose to use L-ISA because of the simplicity and intuitive nature of how the controller acts. It is a very hands-on and creative platform for spatialised content, whilst also being a very aesthetically pleasing user interface to work with,” says Matt Hill, Spatial Sound Engineer at Polygon.

“The power of the processors allows for incredibly high channel count, whilst the management of channels and in-depth scope of snapshots within Controller provides an extremely comprehensive and robust means of show management. I love the introduction of features in L-ISA 3.0 and I can’t wait to explore how further integration with other content and software can lead to exciting, creative and interactive outcomes.” 

Using L-Acoustics Soundvision software, the team designed a solution based on the L-ISA configuration used at Wonderfruit. The 1,500-capacity VIP stage, which was located within the UG Lounge, was encased by a circular perimeter of 102 shipping containers stacked to a height of 7.5m, which would create disturbing acoustic reflections. 

To mitigate this, Polygon worked with acoustic consultant Vanguardia, which recommended a solution that included covering the stacks with acoustic material moving the stage 15m off-centre offset and thereby reducing reflections.

The final L-ISA configuration, installed by Dubai-based rental company MediaPro, featured four arrays of eight L-Acoustics Kara deployed as a frontal system, with a surround ring of eight arrays of four Kara rigged from the Polygon truss structure and facing its centre. 

The elevation configuration comprised eight X15 coaxial speakers in a ring, all facing directly downwards. Low end enhancement was delivered through 16 ground-stacked KS28 subwoofers. 

“We knew we were offering something very different at Soundstorm and that L-ISA was the technology that could achieve it,” says Polygon Founder and CEO Nico Elliot. 

“To ensure this new concept was fully understood, we worked with the MDLBEAST team prior to the festival, organising training for the DJs who were performing at the VIP stage via webinar and sharing our own 10-minute synchronised sound and lighting piece to showcased how to use the L-ISA Processor. Our three sound engineers worked in partnership with the DJs, placing sound objects where they wanted them to attain space, height and the deep immersive experience we wanted.”

The Polygon team discovered immense regional talent and the project inspired interest in the immersive technology. 

“All the artists got it and it really sparked their creativity!” Nico adds. “It was a huge success. The quality of the L-Acoustics equipment, delivery and set up was seamless and the production company did an excellent job.”

“MDLBEAST does everything to the max and we wondered how our 3D sound stage would stand out amongst the magnificent stages at this colossal event,” furthers Polygon’s Adam Nicholas. “But it became clear we had produced something significant. The audience connected with this simply delivered, beautiful stage with sound that envelopes and lights that are just enough.”

It was lovely to contribute to the exceptional production value that MDLBEAST embodies,” concludes Elliot. “We walked away feeling it was a resounding success and we’re looking forward to bringing the Polygon Live experience back next year.” 

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