Opening in 1741, the Burgtheater in Vienna is the national theater of Austria. Over the years, its theater company has created a distinctive style and speech unique to Burgtheater performances. The Burgtheater has an incredibly full events calendar, holding performances nightly except for Christmas Eve and Good Friday while rehearsing a different performance each morning. The stage scenery is changed at least twice daily. During the summer break, it’s used for dance performances and musical concerts.
The Burgtheater and its three affiliated venues — Akademietheater, Kasino and Vestibül — and a permanent ensemble of actors and actresses play a seminal role in the German-speaking theatrical world. It hosts the largest annual audience in continental Europe, welcoming approximately 400,000 theatre-goers to over 900 performances.
Given the busy performance schedule, the Burgtheater’s audio system was in dire need of an overhaul, having been in use for more than 20 years. The technical staff wanted to modernize the system and future-proof it for the next 20 years, so they decided to implement an audio-over-IP (AoIP) solution based on Audinate’s industry-standard Dante transport protocol and turned to system designer TSAMM for help.
“The support staff had already changed the cabling throughout the theater several years before the installation of category cable and fiber,” said Mario Reithofer, Director, TSAMM. “Therefore, the transition from analog to AoIP went very smoothly. Still, we had to remake almost 2000 cable connections.”
The redundant Dante system consists of two main Cisco switches, which connect over fiber to nine racks that host secondary switches for the audio equipment. Each rack has its own primary and secondary switch to connect audio devices to the Dante network.
Two Solid State Logic System T control surfaces and two remote surfaces connect to three SSL System T processors (two redundant for evening performances, one single for rehearsals) and over 40 I/O devices. The vast power of the SSL processors coupled with the stability of the Dante system enables a very low audio latency of 2.8 milliseconds over the entire signal path. This system design supports the rapid changeover between performances, as a single button press loads the complete show on the System T. All 796 physical I/O endpoints in the entire Burgtheater are connected to the system.
The theater company was thrilled with the audio improvements, and the system has been expanded several times by simply adding more endpoints.
“The Burgtheater’s top priorities for their new audio system were security and reliability,” said David Müllner, Head of Audio and Multimedia at the Burgtheater. “Dante's robust monitoring and user access controls, combined with the fully redundant system architecture, made sure the audience heard every word.”