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“Can you hear me clearly at the back? Oh yes we can!” - Flare Audio makes its theatrical debut in Pantomime
Flare Audio has clocked up another round of firsts, making its theatre debut with three major pantomime productions. The sound systems for Aladdin at the Liverpool Empire and for Cinderella at The New Wimbledon Theatre were both designed by David Bartholomeusz, with equipment supplied by Orbital Sound. Another X2/X0 system also did sterling service on the hit production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Richmond Theatre, starring Jerry Hall and featuring sound design by industry sound design veteran Rick Clarke.
Aladdin’s sound system comprised 20 Flare Audio X5 Vertical Point Source Array cabinets, configured four a side in the stalls, two flown centrally, and five a side in the balcony area. These were complemented by four Q18 Directional Touring Bass 18” speakers a side, all powered by Lab.gruppen PLM20k amplifiers running Flare Audio presets. For Wimbledon, the emphasis shifted onto the X2/X0 combination – the X2 Compact Vertical Point Source Array was launched in 2014, in response to demand for a cabinet capable of delivering the same reference quality sound as the X5, but for smaller installations and live performance events. The X2s are teamed up with forty Flare X0 Micro speakers, specifically designed as a highest quality delay, front fill or surround loudspeaker, and Q18 subs.
Commenting on working with Flare Audio for the first time in a theatre environment, David said: "Liverpool Empire is always a challenging venue – it's a wide, cavernous space and it needs a large, powerful PA to give good coverage. The X5 worked extraordinarily well, covering every single corner of the room with plenty of punch and more than enough headroom for the loudest parts of the show, way better than anything we have achieved in previous years – and right out of the box. The clarity and detail achieved is truly astonishing. One thing I particularly like with this system is just how small the Q18 subs’ footprint is – it allows me to move the speakers into different configurations to achieve an even sub dispersion and coverage. The Q18 moves a massive amount of air and it defies logic as to how Flare fitted two 18” drivers in such a small box!
“Turning to Wimbledon, one of my favourite venues, it certainly doesn't come without hidden challenges. The auditorium is quite wide, and the stalls PA speaker position is low, compromised by the original Edwardian architecture. This means that the PA position is tucked up under the seating box, limiting the height at which we can hang. The X2s are so small that we were able to hang them three a side, enabling us to cover every seat in the house, right into the middle of the front row – a position that is normally only reachable with front fills. This gave an extraordinarily wide and consistent stereo image. The usually challenging circle positions, this time limited due to respect for sight lines, were also simple with the X2. The PA covered the circle seating area really well, right up to the rear seats. Complementing the stalls X2 hang were the all new X0s. Utilising the new X0 dual bracket option, two X0s were mounted together in pairs as front fills, increasing low mid and SPL for an even punchier sound. When used as delays, the X0s were hung as single units, all linked together with NL4 speaker cable. Uniquely a recessed switch on the rear of the speaker switches between pins 1+/1- and 2+/2-, reducing rigging time and increasing creative choices further down the path. Again, as with other Flare products, the clarity and detail is exceptional – the vocals always sound crisp and clean. Overall, the result we achieved at both venues is quite simply amazing, with the Flare Audio systems delivering an openness and transparency with high definition audio, exceptional vocal clarity, and an extremely accurate sonic footprint.”
Finally, four X2s were flown in an array centre cluster, all complemented by Q18 directional sub bass, once again powered by Lab.gruppen PLM20k amplifiers running Flare Audio’s presets. Other elements included a Yamaha CL5 mixing console, with Shure UR4D/UR1M radios and DPA4061 mics.
23rd January 2015
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