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L-Acoustics Kara and A Series headline at Magazine London
UK – Ready for anything from awards dinners, conferences, exhibitions, fashion, the arts and ticketed culture, Magazine London is a new, purpose-built space that fills a gaping hole in the capital’s current offering of large event venues. Located right next to The O2 arena on the Greenwich Peninsula, Magazine is the epicentre of a hub of cultural activity. To set itself apart from competitors, the facility offers clients an attractive, ready-to-go package that includes a full, rider-friendly, high-quality house technology infrastructure. Those resources include L-Acoustics A Series and K Series PA systems, specified by consultant technical director Simon Jones, and supplied by HD Pro Audio.
The venue is a Vibration Group venture and is designed to utilise simple architectural form which offers clean and functional spaces. Essentially the venue is a striking blank canvas that provides a means for large-scale creative expression for culture and commerce. It boasts over 3,000 square metres of indoor floor area divided into two primary event spaces, named in accordance with how they are accessed from the main entrance, each with overlooking mezzanines. Space 2 is the largest at 1,750 square meters, with a standing capacity of 3,000. Space 1 can accommodate up to 1,750 in 875 square meters. A large outdoor show ground can comfortably host another 7,000 people.
Simon Jones of SJ-TPM (Simon Jones Technical Production Management) has been the consultant technical director at Magazine through its design and construction and continues to oversee technical operations at the site. He has taken care of everything from power, data, and CCTV through to the PA system and the lighting and video equipment, working with the manufacturers, sound and lighting designers, etc, to bring the project together.
Jones notes that one of the big advantages of booking Magazine for an event – and a principal consideration for technology choices – is a solid foundation of infrastructure and support that many venues do not supply. "The idea is that you get decent base level of equipment in your standard rental without having to go and hire everything,” he explains. “Without that, you could end up spending £30,000 before you've done much about the event itself. You can add the show package to this, but you've already got a lighting rig, a PA, radio mics, consoles, power and data distribution, comms, and so on. You can get on and do a show with that."
For the PA, the two most important requirements were a consistent 106dBA across the spaces, and that the PA (and indeed all technical provision at Magazine) should be 'perfect for riders'. "It has to be a system and a manufacturer that any sound engineer would be happy to use," says Jones. "L-Acoustics is normally on that list, though of course it's also got to be a well-designed system too. Anyone can put some speakers up, but the system has to work in the room so that visiting sound engineers have confidence in it."
Jones went to HD Pro Audio in the UK for the entire audio package at Magazine: "I've known and trusted Andy Huffer at HD Pro for many years now. We looked at a couple of different systems and L-Acoustics just did a much better job. Its engineers and sales team really engaged with the design process and spent a lot of time making sure we were happy with everything, and that the solution was absolutely right. Andy and I went through the L-Acoustics Soundvision designs, made sure we were happy with it, and then we committed."
The main space, called Space 2, front of house system consists of two hangs of nine Kara variable curvature line source enclosures left and right, with two hangs of two KS28 each, in end fire configuration, all fed by four LA12X amplified controllers. There are eight X8 enclosures for front fill and the monitor system consists of X12 coaxials and SB18 subwoofers. Delay hangs are made up of the new A Series medium throw line source, with two A15 and two KS21 per side.
The smaller, Space 1 system also calls upon the new A Series, with front of house system comprised of four identical hangs of two A15, a Wide and Focus in each, with a main left/right plus a pair of delays. Four 5XT are used as front fill and three X8 cover the mezzanine.
An important flexibility for the system is the ability to move the hangs and reconfigure for different room layouts, particularly an alternative wide-room scheme for Space 2. Everything is routed by a QSC Q-Sys 510i central matrix processor. This takes Dante audio from the Yamaha consoles in the venue and converts it to AVB with analogue fallback to feed the LA12X and LA4X amplified controllers. The various networked audio signals find their way to and from the Q-Sys system via a network of Luminex GigaCore 26i switches with single mode fibre optic SFPs. A series of custom facilities panels handling fibre optic, CAT6A, analogue audio and DMX plus NL8 loudspeaker feeds have been installed around the venue for these to connect to. The networked infrastructure also carries Green Go comms and various lighting protocols.
“It was a pleasure to work with Simon once again; we know the level of technical performance that he and his clients expect, and we are happy to deliver, time after time,” says Huffer. “He's created an incredibly flexible venue for Vibration Group, featuring an in-house technical package that has L-Acoustics at the vanguard.”
Magazine London is now open for business and has already hosted its first big gig, the Epic House Party in conjunction with Elrow and Desperados, an EDM night that Jones says was probably a "once in a year" kind of event, as well as the FIFA 2020 Launch, SAP: Customer Live Experience, OnePlue 7T Series Launch Event, and Michael Bibi Presents Isolate.
With forthcoming bookings including Slack Conference, World Travel Market’s International Travel and Tourism Awards and Stylist Live LUXE, it looks like Magazine London is not going to be short of business.
“Magazine London sets a new benchmark for in-house production at a venue of its type,” Huffer adds. “And long may it continue.”
"It's the right sized place at the right time," concludes Jones. "Having been in the position of trying to find this kind of venue so many times before, I can say this one is definitely needed in London."
16th October 2019
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