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L-Acoustics serves up superb sound at Le Volcan, Scène nationale du Havre

L-Acoustics serves up superb sound at Le Volcan, Scène nationale du Havre

France – Affectionately dubbed “the yoghurt pot”, Le Volcan (The Volcano) in Le Havre is one of France’s most important theatres and since its opening in 1982 has consistently been in the top five in terms of ticket sales. A major refurbishment has seen its original audio installation replaced with a state-of-the-art L-Acoustics Kara(i) sound system, chosen for its even coverage, stereo sound quality and ability to cleanly reproduce diverse types of music and performance.

Le Havre was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the 20 year post-war rebuilding by Auguste Perret being recognised as an outstanding example of urban planning and architecture. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the unique concrete building – and its adjacent sibling, Le Petit Volcan – sits in the heart of Le Havre’s cultural quarter. In 2010 the decision was taken to refurbish the entire area, improving access and lighting, making the atmosphere lighter, more airy and generally improving the original architecture to make the area around Le Volcan and Le Petit Volcan feel much more welcoming.

A major part of the five year project was refurbishing the venues themselves. Le Petit Volcan has started a new life as a reference library, while Le Volcan was rebuilt internally to bring it up to 21st century standards of equipment, décor, access and safety. Audio visual company Auvisys supplied the new production technology, which has included a comprehensive L-Acoustics package.

The venue features three performance spaces: a 796-seat theatre and rooms for 125 and 150 people respectively. Installed by Audio Courtin, under the project management of Alain Szklarek, the system in the theatre comprises six L-Acoustics Kara(i), two SB18i and two SB28 subs per side. These are complemented by a centre cluster of three Kiva, 5XT front fills as well as two ARCS Wide infills, with the passive loudspeakers powered by five LA4x and an LA8.

“A jury of people from the venue, planners and AV companies listened to a number of systems,” says Philippe Lacroix, technical director at Le Volcan. “They came away convinced that Kara(i) was the right choice. It had the best coverage, the best stereo image quality and was the most versatile of all the systems they heard.”

In addition, a mobile L-Acoustics system has been supplied for use in all spaces or, if required, outdoors. This features a range of loudspeakers, ensuring that any event can be catered for, and includes fourteen 115XT HiQ, ten 108P, eight 12Xti, four 8Xti, two 112P and two SB15P coaxial enclosures.

Meanwhile, the existing L-Acoustics stage monitors – which Lacroix describes as ‘indestructible’ – have been retained, which includes 12 MTD112b, eight MTD115b and four SB218.

The entire building features a Dante network, allowing any elements of the mobile system to be easily linked to Yamaha CL1, CL3, CL5 and M7CL-48 mixing consoles anywhere in the building, for maximum versatility.

“The Kara(i) system is perfect for the diverse line-up at Le Volcan,” explains José Michel, sound engineer at Le Volcan. “From contemporary music to classic concertos or spoken word, our audience can now enjoy clear sound from any seat in the room.”

The project has also included a major overhaul of the acoustics in the theatre. The combination of movable suspended acoustic panels and the L-Acoustics system deliver excellent results for both audiences and artists.

15th October 2015

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