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SWE: L-Acoustics for Baltic Princess Cruise Ship

Owned by AS Tallink Grupp, the Baltic Princess cruise ferry sails between the Finnish city of Turku and the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Built at a cost of €165m in 2005, it can accommodate 2,800 passengers and was designed with luxury in mind.

Audico, Finland’s largest AV company, undertook the task of supplying and installing an L-Acoustics PA for the refit of the ship’s audio system, a project that spanned two years and took in all four of the ships entertainment areas: a nightclub, pub, live entertainment venue and disco.

“The first phase of the project was the ship’s main venue – The nightclub. The ship’s owners wanted to have the best possible audio system for its new, high-profile live music repertoire,” says Audico’s Pauli Molnár, who was working on the project in conjunction with consultant Tuomas Karppinen. “L-Acoustics was specified because it provides great intelligibility and transparency in its reproduction, which is in line with the ship’s luxury ethos.

“The nightclub’s existing system already had more than enough nautical miles under its belt, so it was time for a renovation. We were convinced that we could do everything required in one package that is powerful, clear and compact. Achieving this is always a challenge, particularly in this sort of environment, but with L-Acoustics products we have the right tools at our disposal. All L-Acoustics products have the same sonic signature, which meant we were able to use a mixture of cabinets from different ranges, as was appropriate for each space, to distribute the sound further and deliver the even coverage needed.”

L-Acoustics’ Soundvision programme was employed to help with the design throughout. The final design comprises main hangs of six Kara topped with two SB28 per side and four SB18i hung behind the Kara arrays, whilst three Kiva provide stage centre fill. 24 5XT and eight 8XT are distributed in two rings around the room, both on the lower and upper levels, as delays and stage monitoring is provided by eight 115XTHiQ.

The nightclub’s system delivered everything asked of it, and the owners were pleased with the work Audico had done for this first phase of the refit.

“Some time later, we were asked to look at the pub, the disco and a smaller, multipurpose live venue at the other end of the ship, again using L-Acoustics,” says Pauli.

“In the pub, we installed a simple system of two 8XT, left and right, along with an SB15m sub, with ten 5XT as delays along the length of the room and a further two 8XT as floor monitors on the stage, which is used for a musician to entertain the bar’s guests.”

While the pub installation was simple, the live entertainment venue presented several obstacles, as its low ceilings and a circular dancefloor made it challenging to achieve the coverage required.

Four ARCS Wide constant curvature line source cabinets were positioned left and right of the stage, topped with two SB18i subs. Additionally, two zones of 5XT are deployed as delay lines: one circular delay line of six 5XT around the edge of the dancefloor, with another six 5XT ceiling mounted outside of the dancefloor to cover the seating area around its edge.

“We also changed the stage monitoring to four 8XT,” says Pauli. “The area is so small that they deliver sufficient sound pressure level with great intelligibility.”

There were also very clear objectives for the disco, with a need to have the maximum amount of bass on the dancefloor, but maximum attenuation of the bass at the bar – which is right next to the dance floor – to minimize fatigue for the staff and allow the clients to be able to hold a conversation.

Here, Pauli designed a flown, end fire system of four SB18i positioned down the centre of the dancefloor to give very tight low frequency control, with six 12XT covering the rest of the frequency spectrum and two additional 12XT as DJ monitors.

“The bar staff are really happy with the results, as are the DJs and the clients,” Pauli concludes. “We always trust L-Acoustics to provide the right solution and it never disappoints. Everyone is delighted to have the same high quality audio throughout the ship’s entertainment areas.”