Germany Seeks the Superstar”

From American Idol in the U.S. or Pop Stars in the UK almost every country has their own version


The reality TV singing competitions where contestants compete weekly has become an international phenomena. From American Idol in the U.S., Pop Stars in the UK to Operación Truinfo in Spain, almost every country on the planet has their own local version. The German Deutschland sucht den Superstar or Germany Seeks The Superstar, was recently on tour with D.A.S. Aero 38 line array systems.

For all of 17 shows, featuring Tobias Regner and Mike Lean Grosch, the new superstars of the last DSDS-Star season and sound reinforcement company HICO relied on the Aero 38 to provide sound reinforcement for the shows. We had the opportunity to watch the tour in the Cologne "E-Werk", a 2200-capacity hall in Köln-Mülheim, one of the city's larger venues. This former power station hosts big-name, international acts and German comedians. The acoustics are what one would expect from a warehouse-type facility. We had the chance to chat with FOH Engineer Lars Schnier, about his experiences with the D.A.S. system.

With the Aero 38, D.A.S. aims at the medium sized line array market. In this class, the 70 kg per line array module can still be considered as lightweight. The Aero enclosures are exclusively equipped with D.A.S. built driver and cone transducers which incorporate neodymium magnet structures. With two 12" low frequency drivers, two 10" mid-range drivers and a 1.4" neodymium compression driver coupled to the SERPIS-Waveguide, the Aero 38 module covers a frequency range of 50 to 18.000 Hz with a horizontal coverage of 90º.

The integrated rigging system allows for splay angles of up to 10 degrees in 0.8 steps up to 3.2º and 1.6º steps from there on. For the DSDS-Star tour, the system used powered Aero subwoofer systems that incorporate their own dedicated Class "D" power amps. Apart from the stackable subwoofers D.A.S. also offers subs equipped with the rigging hardware that allows the cabinets to be integrated seamlessly into an Aero "banana". The subwoofer models also use neodymium magnets on the cone transducers, considerably reducing the weight of the two 18" inch drivers that equip the units. The low frequency response specified by D.A.S. with 28 Hz to 85 Hz. The suitable rigging bumper allows for 16 modules to be mounted beneath each other ensuring an 10 to 1 safety factor.

A total of 16 Aero 38 passive systems were used during the "Absolute Straight Tour" along with eight Aero 218A 2K stackable powered subwoofers, each with two 1,000 W integrated Class "D" power amps. The Aero 38 tops were powered by 16 H-2200 amps designed and built by D.A.S. in Spain. The signal processing was handled by two D.A.S. DSP-3VS and two DSP-18 Sub digital signal processors. In comparison to the DSP 3V presets for the Aero 38, Schnier drives the high end of the boxes at a considerably lower level. The factory presets of the DSP-3V clearly suggest a higher boost, resulting in an increase of long throw distribution. "While this is great outdoors, in smaller indoor locations, this might be a bit too hot, sounding slightly pushy and obtrusive", Schnier explains. He rates the total sound impression and the performance of the system as "very clear and very powerful., "Especially in the mid and high range, the Aero really is loud, but still sounds pleasant and transparent," Lars remarks. Speaking of setting up and mounting the system, Schnier is very impressed with the rigging hardware and the ease of handling it offers. "Basically you can install an Aero-banana on your own," he says with a smile in his face.

Indeed the two separate inputs of the 12" on the connecting panel allows for an individual attenuation of the speaker. In special cases, when the array is flown closer to the ground, it helps to reduce the reflections from the floor. "Surely this is not the regular kind of use for a line array but in narrow, tight locations it can be a worthwhile alternative to the conventional banana." Schnier mentions.

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