Lido2 Paris

ProjectLido2 ParisLocationParis, FranceManufacturersd&b audiotechnikInstallerSystem Designer: Unisson Design / Installer: B LiveSubmitted byd&b audiotechnik

Home of the famed dancing troupe, the Bluebell Girls, Le Lido was one of the most iconic cabaret and burlesque venues in Paris. Situated on the Champs-Elysée, Le Lido has hosted performances from a bevy of international stars from Edith Piaf to Johnny Hallyday, Marlene Dietrich, Shirley MacLaine and Elton John, to name but a few. Bought by the hotel group Accor in 2021, the curtain came down on the final cabaret performance in July 2022, marking the end of a glittering era that spanned over 75 years. Since then, Le Lido has undergone a startling transformation to be reborn as a highly original – and hi-tech – venue for international, original language musical theatre.

The Accor group asked Jean-Luc Choplin, former director of the Chatelet theatre in Paris, to take over the management of the Lido. The brief was clear – to create a new venue capable of producing the very best of musical theatre. Choplin turned to his former collaborators at the Châtelet – Cyril Auclair and Léonard Françon – to see if the venue would be suitable for this type of production. According to Auclair, “The answer was yes, although given the architectural constraints of the building, we knew it was likely to be complicated.”
The pair – now Unisson Design and charged with overseeing the full technical overhaul for the newly baptised Lido2 Paris – had already decided on a d&b system and were able to test their theories on the musical Cabaret which was staged pre-renovations “Given that we were going to need a lot of loudspeakers anyway to cover all the awkward corners and difficult angles of the Lido, we started to wonder if Soundscape might not be a good solution – so we tested it on Cabaret,” explains Auclair. “The results were good enough that we decided to implement Soundscape as part of the new audio system after the renovations.”
The new Lido2 Paris now benefits from a comprehensive immersive sound system from d&b comprising 130 loudspeakers from three different series, 40D and 5D amplifiers and two DS100 signal engines.

The biggest challenges from an audio perspective were the combination of a front thrust stage – retained from the venue’s former cabaret era – combined with very low ceiling height, a panoramic room requiring coverage through 180° and the requirement for a visually unobtrusive system.
Unisson Design opted for a distributed point source system totalling 130 loudspeakers including a main system of compact Y10Ps. “We needed to gain as much space as possible as the main PA is literally above the front lip of the stage. This means you can’t drive it too hard because the loudspeakers are too close to the mics – consequently, we added a delay line of seven Y10Ps a third of the way up the room which preserves the consistency of the sound and guarantees even coverage to the back of the stalls.”
A cardioid sub array of eight XSLi-SUBs is neatly interspersed between the main Y10Ps with custom mountings to ensure they are as close to the ceiling as possible. Four Yi7Ps per side act as side fills. Elsewhere, the discreet 44S loudspeakers serve as lip fills in specially created niches in the front of the stage, and as under-balcony and balcony delays. E8 loudspeakers reinforce lateral coverage across the stalls, accompanied by the ultra-compact 4Ss. Rear surround for the stalls is also handled by E8s.

Françon notes that Soundscape plays a dual role in this installation: “Quite apart from the spatial sound aspect which really sets this room apart, d&b showed us that using Soundscape makes managing and configuring such a complex system much easier if you use the spatialisation in full mode. Previously we’d spend ages putting loudspeakers on the set and moving delays around with complicated Excel spreadsheets. With Soundscape and ArrayCalc, all those calculations are done for you – it’s a massive timesaver – while from an audio point of view, it adds a whole new dimension. Even with their eyes closed, any member of the audience, wherever they are seated can locate each performer as if they were the source of the sound, and not the loudspeaker system. It’s amazing.”

The newly-renovated Lido2 Paris stands as a beacon of unique entertainment in Europe, offering a captivating experience that marries the allure of Broadway and West End musicals with the opulent charm of its cabaret heritage. Within its sumptuous confines, patrons are treated to a blend of old-world glamour and contemporary innovation, where the traditional stage is replaced with a front thrust design, fostering an unparalleled intimacy between performers and audience, despite it being a nearly 1000-seat venue.
According to Auclair, this design choice is pivotal in creating an immersive experience, further enhanced by a state-of-the-art spatial sound system that transports spectators into the heart of the performance. The result is a theatrical journey that transcends the ordinary, captivating audiences with its depth and realism.

“The sound is powerful and all-encompassing, yet so subtle, the audience just absorbs it as part of the experience,” describes Françon. “The musical director for Forum actually asked us during rehearsals if the band was really amplified. In response, we turned the system off so that he could hear the difference – he nearly fell off his chair! And that’s how great sound should be – completely natural.”
Beyond its technical prowess, Lido2 Paris sets a new standard in venue management with its adoption of the d&b Subscription Series model, a pioneering move in the French entertainment scene. This innovative approach, as explained by Florian Fassenet, technical director of Lido2 Paris, allows for greater flexibility and adaptability, enabling the venue to stay at the forefront of industry trends without the burden of significant capital investments. In essence, it embodies a forward-thinking mindset that prioritizes excellence and sustainability in equal measure.