The Voice South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) has upgraded its live shows - starting this Sunday 19 May at 17:30 - with the spectacular L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound system, that will be bringing an immersive sound art experience to the studio audience seated inside the Mosaiek Teatro in Fairlands, Johannesburg.
For DStv subscribers watching The Voice on M-Net, it means that they will be able to watch the show for the first time in true Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound - one of extremely few reality competition shows capable of doing that.
M-Net and The Voice SA revealed the new stage, its audio-visual set-up as well as the new L-ISA sound system from L-Acoustics on Thursday during an exclusive set visit to a select group of media before Sunday's first use of it during the first live broadcast of the third season of the show.
The Voice SA is produced by BlackSwanMedia with director-producer Darren Hayward, based on the international Talpa format.
SNEAK PEEK. Number 1 most favourite thing I love as a TV critic is doing set visits & seeing the art,creative work & effort people put into their shows. @MNet (@DStv 101) just allowed me to roam the new stage of @VoiceSA where the live #TheVoiceSA performances will start Sunday. pic.twitter.com/lfwIXBJUYq— TVwithThinus (@TVwithThinus) May 16, 2019
L-ISA can accommodate up to 96 different audio channels, mix them and send them out in a customised, multi-speaker set-up so that individual sound literally "move" through the physical space as needed - for instance with a performer.
L-ISA brings a massive improvement over ordinary "stereo" and so-called "surround sound" in venues with hugely improved individual sound separation, meaning a better "overall" sound mix with more clarity.
While, traditionally, most live performances have speakers overhead and on the left and right of the stage with all channels from vocals and instruments feeding into these, listeners don't really hear everything clearly or individually. L-ISA creates a true "3D sound environment" by acoustically placing all of the relevant sounds really everywhere.
The Voice South Africa on M-Net is the first time that L-ISA and its sound technology has been used in any version of The Voice, with L-ISA that has also only been used once before in the entire Southern Hemisphere.
The Voice South Africa's sound engineers got specialist training for L-ISA at L-Acoustics' headquarters in France.
Chris de Lancey, director at Multi-Media who brought the L-ISA technology from L-Acoustics to The Voice SA, explains that all of the various sound channels, for the first time ever, instead of through stereo output, can now be placed anywhere within a virtual 3D-space.
"If for instance there is vocals moving from the one side of the stage to the other, we can move that vocal with them. From just listening to them, your ear can now hear where they are. The system can now be set up that wherever you are in the room, you get the full spectrum of the audio coming from the performance."
"L-ISA is new tchnology, and is as far as we are concerned, the future of sound. L-ISA really involved the audience. You can go even further and put speakers on the different walls. You can go even further and put speakers in the roof."
"We discussed with the production company, we mentioned that we have this technology and that we'd committed a large sum of money to buy the L-ISA system, and through negotiations with the production company we decided to invest even more money in order to make The Voice South Africa a first of its kind in the world," said Chris de Lancey.
"L-ISA really is the world's first really immersive audience sound experience."
"Each individual sound object is coming in as an input of its own, and going out as an output of its own. So every element is played out on its own rather than being mixed into a stereo environment. So it's all separated and remain crystal clear."
Darren Hayward, the producer-director of The Voice South Africa explains that "we create a live show with an audience and we broadcast that live show. We don't create a television show that we put an audience into. So even though it doesn't affect the broadcast at all, it actually is important to us that the people inside the audience has the best experience possible."
"Our pillars are from our pre-records, so we use them as a theme coming into the live shows as well. Last year we had big 'V's, so we changed that slightly," said Darren Hayward.
"An important thing this year is that the Red Room is a slightly different concept. In the past we had a Red Room host and this season we wanted to try a different approach, which is a first for The Voice worldwide as well."
"So this will be a 'Red Room Radio Takeover' and every week we will have a different radio station who comes and takes over the Red Room and we get different personalities, so that we have a different presenter every time."
"The Red Room is also a new separate space within the auditorium. Previously the Red Room was at the back and very much behind. So we very much wanted to include the audience in the experience and make it part of the audience area."
"The first radio station is Jacaranda FM with Elana Africa and MiCasa will also perform and debut a new song."
"We have exceptional technicians and people who work behind-the-scenes on The Voice South Africa. Specifically on lighting our lighting designer is at the moment lighting 2019 Eurovision. So he is exceptionally experienced, does a lot of television shows."
"He flew over this week to go do Eurovision and he's back with us next week," says Darren Hayward.
ALSO READ: IN IMAGES. 18 photos of the new stage for the live shows of the 3rd season of The Voice South Africa on M-Net.