The Salle des Princes of the Grimaldi Forum, the biggest of all its halls, is about to launch an upgraded acoustic system found in only a dozen venues across the globe.

Each type of performance requires a specific sound environment characterised by, for example, the reverberation time, which is expressed in seconds and corresponds to the time it takes for the sound to die out in a room. For instance, a low reverberation is desirable for theatre or lectures, while a longer reverberation rich in low frequencies is best-suited to symphonic music.

The CARMEN system, a French acronym for Active Control of Reverberation by a Natural Effect Virtual Wall, designed and developed by CSTB experts, is an electro-acoustic system based on the principle of active virtual walls. Thanks to these virtual walls, it is
possible to change the reverberation of the room according to each show to obtain ideal acoustics without the use of amplification systems.

CARMEN modulates the acoustics of the Salle des Princes according to its uses, from conferences to concerts, theatre, ballet, electro-acoustics, opera or any other event requiring adapted sound immersion. Its different configurations allow it to be adapted, for example, to common operas as well as to great operas with choruses, to symphonic and oratorio orchestras, to classical or romantic orchestras, with or without chorus and soloists.

It is no longer the artists that adapt their performance to the concert hall, it is the concert hall that adapts to the artists’ performance.

In addition, the innovative technology immerses musicians, speakers and spectators in an acoustic space that offers the best sound experience, regardless of where you sit in the room. This is made possible by implementing about 30 cells, each consisting of a microphone, an electronic filter unit, a powerful amplifier and a loudspeaker. These cells arranged in virtual walls are distributed on the walls of the room and on the ceiling, the whole being controlled by a digital audio station.

General Manager of the Grimaldi Forum Sylvie Biancheri, said: “The Carmen system provides ideal acoustics that allow us to offer quality and diversified events. Our resident artists, be it the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Opera, the Printemps des Arts or the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, have been unanimous for 20 years on the added value of this technology. This system upgrade will delight them, as it will continue to attract and appeal to all of our clients and partners who organise high quality events in the Salle des Princes!”

Carmen will be operational for the three performances of Coppél-i.A by the Ballets de Monte-Carlo from June 3 to 6, then for all shows in the Salle des Princes.

FILE PHOTO: Salles des Princes