The wonder of modern shipboard sound reinforcemen

After a 26-month construction period, she has finally set sail: MSC Meraviglia is the new, ultra-modern luxury liner belonging to MSC Cruises. The ship was built in Saint Nazaire at the STX France shipyard, home to one of the world’s largest shipbuilding companies. Officially “christened” in July 2017 at a glittering ceremony in Le Havre, with MSC “Godmother” Sophia Loren cutting the ribbon, the ship commenced its maiden voyage the very next day. As a year-round cruise ship, MSC Meraviglia’s initial destination was the western Mediterranean – its home ports will be Barcelona, Marseilles and Genoa.

The 315 m long, 43 m wide and 65 m high MSC Meraviglia (in English: “wonder”) offers space for 5714 passengers and around 1540 crew members. As the first representative of this new “world class”, MSC Meraviglia sets new standards in areas such as entertainment and wellness, accommodation and catering, media- and event technology.

A cruise ship of this size requires a comprehensive installation of high-quality sound reinforcement systems. These must cater for a whole range of applications in various locations, for example, serving as main PA systems for shows, lectures and live music, providing background music in one of the numerous bars and lounges, or relaying important announcements on all decks.

Confronted with these and many other requirements, the media planner responsible for the installation opted exclusively for loudspeakers from Fohhn. These would provide coverage for virtually all public areas. The systems were delivered from Fohhn’s Italian distribution partner Kennell Digital Distribution.

Shows by the world-renowned, multi award-winning Cirque du Soleil are the highlight of the ship’s onboard entertainment programme performing in the “Carousel Lounge”. This is a circular theatre space, which was specially developed for this purpose. The Lounge’s state-of-the-art facilities include a complete Fohhn sound system. On the lounge ceiling, around the stage area, is a ring of 14 passive Arc-Series AT-35 two-way loudspeakers – ten of these directed outwards to act as a main PA and four directed inwards to cover the stage. Ten AS-40 subwoofers have additionally been installed. 22 AT-10 full-range loudspeakers are used as delay and surround sound systems, while eight AT-07 speakers serve as extension systems around the bar. On stage, ten ultra-compact Linea LX-10 systems are used as nearfield speakers. Ten further systems are integrated into columns, making them invisible to visitors. These are used to provide background music when the bar is operational, with extended low-end coverage provided by eight AS-06 subwoofers.

A special immersive experience awaits visitors to the “Galeria Meraviglia”. The 96 m long Mediterranean-style shopping promenade is spanned by an 80 m long LED sky. This delights visitors around the clock with atmospheric images and unique lighting. Its acoustic counterpart consists of 16 AT-10 systems, eight AS-10 subwoofers and four LFI-220 line source speakers with Fohhn Beam Steering technology.

The promenade provides access to the “Main Lounge”, a theatre with over 1000 seats, whose audio technology installation makes it a highly flexible space: Various activities take place here, from the official greeting of passengers to musical events. The theatre’s main PA consists of PT-8 line array systems, extended with a variety of delay and effect loudspeakers, plus a horizontal Bass Array under the stage. When the theatre is used for presentations or lectures, two LFI-220 line source speakers with Fohhn Beam Steering technology ensure highest levels of speech intelligibility at every seat.

As well as further installations in the ship’s interior the majority of outer decks have also been equipped with Fohhn systems. The rear sundeck serves as a stage during the evening for shows of all kinds. Around the outdoor pool and lounging areas, several weatherproof AT-221w are used along with some outdoor bass and nearfield speakers that have been specially developed for MSC.

Congratulations to all involved people on this gigantic project!

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