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EM Acoustics Enhances Square Chapel Arts Centre Halifax
UK – The Square Chapel Arts Centre, located in Halifax, West Yorkshire, recently underwent an 8.8 million-dollar renovation that included new EM Acoustics sound reinforcement systems for the 220-seat multi-purpose auditorium and new, versatile cinema/studio theatre space. The systems were supplied, installed and commissioned by Huddersfield-based systems integrator, Sound and Light Concepts.
The centre’s plan was for both rooms to double as performance spaces and cinemas, which required equipping each space with fully DCI-compliant (Digital Cinema Initiatives) packages as well as stages. As a result, it was necessary for both sound systems to operate as a full L/C/R concert system while offering full 5.1 surround sound for the cinemas. This required a system that was powerful enough for rock and roll, detailed enough for cinema and speech reinforcement, and had to fit into the constraints of the building.
“When EM Acoustics was presented as a possible option, I was thrilled. I had heard an EM system some years ago and jumped at the opportunity to hear it again,” says Martin Clarke, head of sound at the Square Chapel Arts Centre. “After the demo, we really loved the warmth of the EM boxes compared to other systems we had heard. We also felt that that they could deliver the diversity we need, from theatre, to live music, to cinema to the spoken word. The flexibility was essential. Finally – and this is so important – we could afford it. It’s no use loving something if it’s way outside your budget, otherwise it’s just a dream.”
Once the decision was made to go with an EM Acoustics, the Sound and Light Concepts team was brought in to design the system.
“The existing auditorium was a challenge because the cinema screen runs virtually the full width of the auditorium,” Tom Bottomley of Sound and Light Concepts recalls. “Mounting the loudspeakers to each side of the screen would have been impossibly wide. Mounting them high – essentially above the screen – was our only option with the added benefit of keeping sightlines open.”
After several listening tests and comparisons between various EM Acoustics models, Bottomley and Clarke decided upon a pair of EM Acoustics full range MSE-159 cabinets mounted horizontally left and right.
“If the budget had run to HALO-C, we’d have used those, but the MSE-159s are an excellent compromise,” says Bottomley. “The rotatable waveguide means that we can mount them horizontally, and the EM Acoustics passive design delivers stunning sound quality. The wide 60 x 90 degree dispersion suited our requirements perfectly. We added a pair of EMS-121X passive 12-inch loudspeakers for FOH centre with a pair of passive 8-inch EMS-81Xs at the back of the hall for the rear surround sound. The system was supplemented with a pair of EMS-118 single 18-inch subs for low end reinforcement. The entire system is driven by one AQ-10 and one AD-9 for six channels of amplification.”
The Copper Auditorium system is designed on the same principle except that it is a smaller space. The venue is equipped with three EMS-81X cabinets for FOH L/C/R and two EMS-51s for the rear supplemented by a single EMS-115 subwoofer.
“The response from visiting companies is fantastic,” Clarke says. “They have total confidence in the system. It exceeds people’s expectations, especially for theatre. All the music acts love it, even the louder ones. We also get lots of positive feedback on our M-C12 coaxial 12" monitors, for their small footprint and their capability, as well as their pleasant voicing qualities."
“Tony and the team at Sound and Light Concepts were fantastic from start to finish,” he concludes. “They worked tirelessly to offer options to stay within budget that would provide the quality the audience and performers require. The EM Acoustics people were also extremely helpful throughout the process. I’m very grateful to Tony and all of his team for a fantastic job.”
24th October 2018
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