Project News Headlines
Electro-Voice and Dynacord sound system reduces hardware and increases coverage at King of Kings Church
Seven-Time Grammy Winning Engineer Brian Vibberts Takes Hybrid Mix Set Up to Next Level with UC1 SSL Plug-in Controller
Bergen Kjøtt Made Complete with Adamson
Norway – One of Bergen's largest and most intriguing venues, Bergen Kjøtt, has officially invested in its own Adamson PA system. Thanks to generous grants from Kulturrom, Sparebanken Vest, Bergen Kommune, and EGD Property, Fabrikkhallen at Bergen Kjøtt is now fitted-out with four IS10P, four IS119, four PC12 and Lab Gruppen D-Series amps. The installation process was led by technical consultant, Sverre Vik, and the products were supplied by Adamson partner, Benum Norway.
Initially built for operations as a butter and margarine factory in 1905, the facility was converted into a meat processing plant in 1968. By the year 2000, the operations shut down, and it was not until 2010 that the building became a cultural centre of sorts. Now owned by the Bergen Kjøtt Foundation, Bergen Kjøtt is a non-profit organisation working to offer the community a diverse and inclusive environment for the purpose of artistic innovation, collaboration, and growth.
“This upgrade is completely transformational to Bergen Kjøtt. Bergen Kjøtt is one of the city´s largest venues but, until now, we had no equipment of our own;- everything had to be rented,” explained Bergen Kjøtt’s general manager, Eva Rowson. “As an old concrete factory, it´s always been difficult to tune sound for the room but now we have a permanent system, we have been able to adjust the sound beautifully for the room!”
Eva Rowson and her team at Bergen Kjøtt plan to use the new PA system to train more women, non-binary and transgender people to come to grips with the tools of sound engineering.
“How can we use this investment to challenge exclusions in the cultural industry, create new role models and empower people who are marginalised in culture? To put it simply, how can we use this investment to try to change the world…?” noted Rowson.
Bergen Kjøtt's team will also be using the new equipment to host exciting upcoming events like Transgender Awareness Week, EKKO Electronic Music Festival, and Bergen International Film Festival with a 200–400 audience capacity.
“The room is of concrete and is really reverberant, but the Adamson IS10P really cuts through and gives a very detailed sound image with lots of headroom.” said Kenneth Vadset of Benum Norway.
photos: Runar Gåsterud & Kulturrom
21st October 2021
Chauvet Professional Lights Revival of Teatro León
Ecuador – Even during the toughest times, those who look forward to the future give those around them reasons to hope for better days ahead. The team involved in the restoration of Teatro León demonstrated that in convincing fashion during the pandemic.
Once one of Latin America’s cultural gems (immortals like Argentina’s Libertad Lamarque and the Mexican trio Los Panchos performed on its stage), the 93-year old theatre stood neglected and abandoned in 2019, when the Municipal GAD of Riobamba and civic groups began a project to restore it to its former glory.
Not long afterwards, the pandemic hit, disrupting all normal activities in Ecuador as it did everywhere. Nevertheless, the Riobambeños team moved ahead with the restoration project. A total of 65 architects, restorers, civil and electrical engineers and builders worked double shifts.
In December 2020, Quito-based EASA completed the installation of a new theatrical lightings system without a single case of COVID among its crew, thanks to its adherence to strict safety protocols.
This spring, the hard work and dedication came to fruition when Columbian pianist Mauricio Arias-Esguerra took the stage for the first in-person concert at the revived Teatro León, premiering two works by Colombian composers, as well as Beethoven’s Quasi una fantasia (Opus 27), known also as “Moonlight Sonata” and Chopin’s piano sonata No.3 (Opus 58).
Supporting this performance and all subsequent ones was a powerful and versatile lighting rig that featured 12 Rogue R1 BeamWash, 12 COLORado2 Quad Zoom, six COLORado Batten 72X, and 12 Rogue R1X Wash fixture, all controlled through a ChamSys MQ70 console.
“It was decided to use Chauvet Professional products due to their great technical performance and the size of their products, in accordance with the dimensions and architecture of the space, as well as their colour quality and versatility,” said Daniel Cueva EASA’s technical manager.
Cueva and the EASA team installed the fixtures on three rows of poles above the stage and on two mobile side ladders. “The lights run with Chamsys MQ70 console, will provide a scenic lighting resource for the wide variety of cultural events that will take place at the Teatro León,” said Cueva. “Being a multifunctional theatre, it is required to be able to perform plays, solemn acts, conferences or concerts.”
The careful attention to detail in installing the new lighting system, even under challenging circumstances is consistent with the philosophy that has guided EASA since the company started in 2001. As Cueva described it: “EASA's philosophy, given by its founders Byron Ojeda and Jenny Mosquera, is to provide the Ecuadorian market with comprehensive solutions of high technological level in the areas of acoustics, audio, lighting and scenic engineering, using our human team specialised in each of the areas we manage and alliances with the best brands worldwide.”
In the case of Teatro León, the EASA team not only offered their client an effective technical solution, they also were part of a massive undertaking that overcame one obstacle after another to provide the people of Riobamba with a ray of hope that pierced through the darkness.
21st October 2021
PRG turns to GLP impression S350 Wash for Virtual Production Studio-xR
Germany – Since the end of 2020, PRG, along with its subsidiary Cinegate, has been running the Virtual Production Studio-xR in Hamburg, a facility that specialises in digital events of all kinds. Across 360m² of pure studio space, company events, as well as film and music video shoots, advertisements, and livestreamed concerts (for example, Wacken World Wide), can be realised in a virtual environment. In order to be able to react quickly and flexibly to the complex requirements of virtual productions, PRG has turned to 40 impression S350 Wash from GLP.
Matthias Allhoff, head of lighting technologies at PRG, explains: “While lighting and cameras are primarily co-ordinated in traditional productions, the requirements of virtual productions are more complex because we have to comply with the constantly changing virtual environment at all times. That is why the GLP S350 has proven itself so quickly as a fast-reacting, remotely controllable moving head.”
To create a sense of perfect immersion, PRG's Virtual Production Studio-xR not only has LED walls, but also LED floors and ceilings. With plenty of space, the content, and therefore the virtual rooms, change frequently, quickly and dramatically over the course of the day. Beyond this, there are also virtual extensions beyond the video areas.
“Under these conditions, we are faced with the challenge of coordinating all the LED surfaces, the cameras, the virtual sets and the lighting. It becomes particularly exciting when there is a spatial change in position or other changes in spatial conditions. Then the guide light and rear light have to follow suit quickly,” says Allhoff. “And that is exactly what works incredibly well with the GLP S350 Wash.
The impression S350 Wash, with its 350W white light LED engine, CRI of more than 90, and TM-30 and TLCI values of 95+, offers outstanding, camera-compatible light quality. Its optical system, with a Fresnel front lens, enables a zoom of 8–50°. In every corner of the zoom area there is access to a full-fledged framing system with four shutter blades. The aperture slide positions, which can be combined in any way, as well as the ability to rotate the entire module by 90°, make accurate beam control possible. The dichroic CMY colour-mixing system also opens up a large colour space and works extremely homogeneously. This is supported by a fixed colour wheel with ten slots. With the additional CTC function, a range can be adjusted continuously between 2,500–8,000 kelvin.
In the Virtual Production Studio, the fact that the S350 Wash was developed more for live use on stages becomes an advantage. “The lighting generally used in virtual studios has been optimised for other conditions. We tested a lot [of products] at the beginning and came to the conclusion that the impression S350 Wash moving lights are the best solution in terms of the combination of responsiveness and light quality that we were looking for,” continues Allhoff.
Several scenes and positions can be perfectly illuminated during programming. Smaller corrections can be made to the rehearsals directly on the desk without having to touch the fixtures manually. Zoom, aperture slider and colour temperature can be adjusted from scene to scene at lightning speed.
“The events business has changed radically since last year. We have adjusted to this and created flexible studio solutions for high-quality digital and virtual productions,” Allhoff concludes. “The ever-changing conditions in these productions have opened the door wide to creative thinking and design. Of course, this also applies to the lighting.
“With the impression S350 Wash, we have found a solution that perfectly matches the new requirements. With a relatively manageable number of moving lights, a multitude of possibilities can be created quickly and easily in virtual productions. And despite all the flexibility that the use of these moving lights bring, we have a quality of light here that is in no way inferior to the studio lights generally used.”
photos: PRG Deutschland, www.prg.com/de / Detlev Klockow (PRG)
21st October 2021
Trinity Laban upgrades to EM Acoustics
UK – Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is the UK’s only Conservatoire of music and contemporary dance. With two separate faculties for dance and music in south east London, the establishment today is the result of a 2005 merger between Trinity College of Music and Laban. When the decision was made to upgrade the sound system at the Conservatoire’s Faculty of Dance in London SE8, Trinity Laban turned to Autograph Sound who designed, implemented and commissioned an innovative multi-role sound system from EM Acoustics.
Autograph’s business development lead Euan Mackenzie handled all the project specification and system design for this very focused application with some unusual requirements: “Performers in contemporary dance need to feel that they are part of their audience and experiencing the same auditory stimulus, so the system had to be completely immersive in the unusual sense that the sound field had to seamlessly cover not only the audience area but also the stage,” he explains. “We achieved that by careful placement and time-alignment of the various loudspeakers, so that the acoustic image appears to be behind the dancers, creating what is in effect a single performance space which is shared by the performers and the audience. However, the other part of the brief required that the space should also be able to be used for full musical theatre productions where natural, transparent vocal reproduction is as important as musicality, which led us to think that we’d need a couple of different configurations to achieve what the client wanted.”
Given the scope of the project, Autograph decided on an EM Acoustics solution for Trinity Laban. “We built the system around EM Acoustics’ new Reference Series R10 as they simply sound astonishing. Importantly, it also allowed us to not only replace the FOH system but to include the new stage system as well whilst remaining in budget.”
Three of the new R10s were used in Mackenzie’s design, forming the main system along with two S-15 compact reflex subwoofers, with two S-18 subwoofers and four EMS-101X full-range units covering the stage. Four EMS-61s are located as front fills (used for musicals, or when vocal imaging is critical) with two more EMS-101Xs as in-fills (for contemporary dance so dancers can use the stage-front as part of the performance area) while four EMS-81Xs handle surround duties. The entire setup runs off just four of EM Acoustics’ own advanced system amplifiers, three DQ10Ds and one DQ6D, all equipped with a Dante networked audio input card.
“As is always the case, we were working within strict budget constraints,” continues Mackenzie. “Happily, as the design evolved, and with the help of some sophisticated signal processing and creative loudspeaker positioning (including the two larger S-18 subwoofers hidden at the back of the stage to accompany the compact subwoofers in front), we created a single system for the space that can flip from ‘fully immersive’ to ‘visiting musical’ modes in seconds via the client’s existing Yamaha processor. In this way we stayed within budget and satisfied their needs fully.”
A spokesperson for the school notes that: “In contemporary dance, it’s not uncommon for choreographers to utilise the whole space for sound, leaving no separation between the stage and the auditorium, so we needed a system that could also be configured to create one unified sonic image in an instant if needed. Autograph achieved this by creating a patch on our Yamaha MTX5 processor to time-align the front of house speakers to the onstage EMS-101X speakers. Also, by adding small in-fill speakers downstage, we managed to get even coverage to the first three rows. We initially looked at getting a line array for our centre cluster, but a single EM Acoustics R10 at the centre of the proscenium achieved the coverage we needed. Not only did this sound incredible but also reduced the number of units hanging down from the grid, potentially causing shadow issues on stage.”
Summing up the project they say: “At Trinity Laban, our theatre is used for a multitude of different productions, from contemporary dance and musical theatre, to film festivals and corporate events. We needed a versatile, future-proof sound system that could be configured in different combinations with speed and relative ease. We feel that Autograph not only met but exceeded these criteria. We’re delighted with the results.”
19th October 2021
Robe T1 Luminaires for Johannesburg’s Market Theatre
South Africa – Johannesburg’s multi award winning Market Theatre has been on South Africa’s political, cultural, and social frontline since 1976 when it opened as an independent, anti-racist producing house at the height of the apartheid era. Championing a diverse collage of edgy, raw, authentically African work and creativity, it’s helped to give a voice, ask leading questions and build solidarity for those who have been silenced and ignored.
Located right downtown in the lively Newtown area of South Africa’s bustling commercial epicentre, it continues to offer innovative new works, a forum for free-thinking and stands out as one of the most significant and critically acclaimed drama and live performance venues in the southern hemisphere.
This year, the Market Theatre took delivery of 50 Robe T1 series LED moving lights as part of an upgrade initiative emanating from SA’s Department of Arts & Culture which is looking to the future and boosting suitability across the arts.
These new Robe luminaires will be used across the venue’s three main performance spaces: the John Kani, Barney Simon, and Mannie Manim.
The T1s were a major part of a package delivered by Robe’s Southern Africa distributor DWR after winning a competitive tender to supply the venue’s new theatrical stage lighting elements.
The tender was written and specified by renowned SA lighting designer Denis Hutchinson, brought onboard as project consultant by the Market Theatre’s then head of lighting and now head of stage services, Nomvula Molepo.
Denis has been associated with the theatre since it opened, and for him the task was very personal as well as a great honour. He spent substantial time assessing the precise needs of Nomvula and her lighting team working at the Newtown complex, also considering all the practicalities of staging and lighting shows there now and in the future.
This led to two mission-critical criteria for the moving light specification: low noise and excellent colour rendering.
The noise requirements for a theatre space like the Market with no amplified sound and producing dramas and spoken word shows where you can hear the proverbial pin drop every time, immediately excluded a substantial number of fixtures.
The high colour rendering and quality of light, especially with a programme of intense realistic drama performances, was also crucial, and these two parameters combined immediately narrowed down the field to a fairly small group of contenders.
The specifications and tender went out to the interested parties and after the responses and bids for the contract came in, a shoot-out was arranged in the John Kani Theatre.
All the moving light ‘hopefuls’ were present in the room simultaneously and all the various presenters watched each other’s demonstrations. “This was the only way to get a true side-by-side comparison,” qualified Denis. This scenario also enabled the various sales teams to present their brands and pitches in depth to the amassed Market Theatre staff.
Denis and the Market Theatre technical team were then left alone to further examine all the auditioning luminaires for themselves. Between them, they independently rated each different fixture across multiple categories, all tying in with the government’s tender procedure, which narrowed it down to six or seven fixtures.
These results were then presented to the relevant evaluation committee, together with recommendations on the best choices to meet the theatre’s requirements.
“My responsibility in writing the tender was to get exactly the right products for the Market Theatre,” remarked Denis on the lengthy and meticulous proces, and this resulted in the choice of the 50 T1s comprising 26 T1 Profiles and 24 T1 Washes (among otrhers).
Denis adds that the T1s are plenty bright enough for the space and thinks that Robe is at the forefront of developing areas like colour rendering and dimming on LED fixtures which have clearly been designed and fine-tuned for theatre applications.
Forty-four of these T1s will be residing in the John Kani where you can stand on stage with all 44 active at once and not hear a decibel of fan noise! The Mannie Manim has two T1s and the Barney Simon will have four luminaires to help light its shows.
Four Robe Spiiders were also part of this order from DWR, which join the Market’s existing Spiiders in the John Kani, where all the crew love using them, especially on music shows.
DWR additionally supplied a quantity of smaller moving lights, generic LED luminaires, new followspots and MA control as part of this project, which was overseen from their end by Kevin Stannett. Kevin and DWR have worked on several previous projects with Denis and enjoy a great working relationship with the Market Theatre.
The installation, including cabling and all the other associated and necessary infrastructure upgrades, was completed by The Install Crew, headed by Jakes Mogale, a separate specialist company which is part of the DWR Group and dedicated to delivering exceptional installations. Between them, Kevin and Jakes ensured that everything ran smooth, streamlined, hassle-free and as close to a ‘textbook’ installation as was possible.
“They did an incredible job,” declared Denis. “It was a fantastic experience for everyone involved working with DWR and The Install Crew who really understood the brief. We all engaged in constant fluid and productive communication, and they always found a solution for any issues arising.”
DWR’s Duncan Riley – whose late father Dan supervised the original Market theatre lighting installation in 1976 – was “hugely proud” to be involved in this project. Not just because of the history and significance of the Market Theatre in SA but because it “put food on the table for a lot of people during a very tough time,” he said, reminding everyone how the entertainment industry in South Africa has been especially badly hit by the pandemic.
The new lighting rig is also hugely exciting for all involved, especially during this time, generating plenty of positive energy around the huge potential the theatre now has for lighting shows in ways that were simply not possible before.
Currently, some limited audience performances are taking place, and the facilities are being utilised for livestreams and other film, broadcast, and image capture scenarios plus digital and virtual events.
The Market Theatre Foundation also runs the Ramolao Makhene teaching theatre and the Market Theatre Laboratory, both located across the road in Newtown, plus the Windybrow Arts Centre which is based in a spectacular restored heritage building in Johannesburg’s famous Hillbrow district.
photos: Duncan Riley
19th October 2021
PRG delivers customised LED tiles to power the ever-moving poem of the UK Pavilion
UAE – Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East region, officially opened its doors to visitors on 1st October showcasing architectural wonders and technology innovations from more than 192 countries.
UK’s contribution to Expo 2020 Dubai is the mesmerising cone-shaped UK Pavilion with a circular façade which was created by world-renowned designer Es Devlin.
The 25 metre high LED façade which is integrated into the wooden sculpture is designed to celebrate global cultural diversity and collaboration. The UK Pavilion uses an advanced AI learning algorithm developed in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture which allows visitors to add their word to a continuously changing collective message from humanity to the universe displayed on the LED modules.
PRG was appointed by Pico to deliver the engineering of the 2,000 customised LED tiles through the PRG Projects team, sourcing the bespoke LED technology via PRG China as well as the custom designed immersive audio system, designed by Polyphonia. The technology package was then installed by PRG in Dubai.
“This is one of the most remarkable projects that I have been involved with in my whole career,” says Frederic Opsomer, general manager PRG Projects, “I have known Es for many years, and we have collaborated on several projects together. She is an amazing designer, and I must say that this project reinforces her already stellar reputation. This breath-taking design of ever-moving poetry, displayed digitally and integrated to illuminate the façade of the UK Pavilion was a beautiful challenge for us at PRG, and we are very proud to collaborate with her on this journey of innovation.”
This message of collaboration and international openness is reflected in the delivery of the project. The UK Pavilion is a truly global collaboration; designed in close partnership with Avantgarde, supported by structural engineer Atelier One and supported and executed by Pico International, delivered by PRG experts from across the PRG global network and finally executed on site by the dedicated PRG Dubai team.
Gavin Short, senior technical project manager for PRG in Dubai, said: “The UK Pavilion is an exceptional and unmissable part of the overall Expo experience, located in the Opportunity District and is clearly a space that will inspire visitors to the site.”
Expo 2020 is expected to attract 25 million visits, of which 70% are expected to be international visitors.
photos: Alin Constantin Photography
19th October 2021
Showtec’s outdoor lighting creates peaceful ambiance at Holbæk’s waterfront
Denmark – DLT showcases the architectural façade for Sparekassen Sjælland-Fyn’s office in Holbæk with stunning outdoor lighting.
One of Denmark’s longest standing suppliers of light and sound equipment, DLT in Glostrup, has installed the architectural façade lighting for Danish Bank Sparekassen Sjælland-Fyn’s office in Holbæk.
DLT’s vision was to create a luminous framework that compliments the building's beautiful architecture, while simultaneously creating a lively ambiance on the waterfront. To achieve this, DLT has utilised 40 Showtec Candela Pix 50, creating an ambiance near the waterline that is visible from both the city and much of the Holbæk Fjord.
Showtec’s Candela Pix 50 can create the full spectrum of light, enabling the building to be lit in any desired colour or even multiple colours. This enables Sparekassen Sjælland-Fyn to alter the appearance of their exterior as desired, for instance during national holidays or sports matches. The waterproof outdoor lights emit a small eight-degree beam angle, preventing stray light from hitting unwanted surfaces and confines the light to the building’s frame. The lighting is waterproof and calmly changes colour, radiating a sense of tranquillity across the waterfront. The lamps are controlled through DMX via a lighting controller.
It was decided that the lighting of the building should run automatically in completely fixed frames for switching on and off. However, this can be manually bypassed if a particular program is desired to run, allowing for both convenience and flexibility. Thanks to the positioning of the lamps, it has been made possible for example to create the Dannebrog, Denmark’s flag, in the lighting of the building for national team matches, holidays, etc.
18th October 2021
Elation TVL Softlight ideal 4K filming complement at Anthony Murray Studios
USA – Integration company Sound Principles Pro of Georgia has installed dynamic-white TVL Softlight DW luminaires by Elation Professional in a new professional studio in Atlanta, Anthony Murray Studios. The temperature controllable luminaires provide variable shade projections of high-quality white light for two broadcast spaces, working together with colour-changing fixtures and a large video backdrop from Elation sister company ADJ.
Conceived by Anthony Murray, founder of the Oasis Church in Greater Atlanta, the multi-purpose studio provides local businesses and creatives a turnkey solution for producing high-quality video content. The facility will also be utilised by Anthony’s church, and others in the area, as a resource for recording video sermons and other faith-based media.
Sound Principles designed, specified and installed the lighting rig along with the high-resolution ADJ LED video wall and an adjacent green screen. Sound Principles company manager Matthew Russom served as designer on the project, handling the front end before handing it off to project managers Steven Shelton, Paul Shelton and Micah Willis who sorted out patching, assembling and installation. “They handled the whole process well and did a beautiful job,” Russom states.
The team at Sound Principles designed a cube-shaped truss structure, which fills the room, providing a ground support structure for the video wall and full lighting rig, as well as rigging points for the green screen backdrop on the opposite side of the room. A line of truss down the middle of the space can cover both the LED video wall and green screen areas.
“I was looking for a fixture that would be appropriate to light up the area in a nice warm wash for 4K video filming and the TVL Softlight DW was our best option,” Russom states. “The level of even coverage, the brightness, the ability to change colour temperature, and how well it translates into high res video, when you look at other products at that price point I was just not confident that they would do the job and be dependable.”
Some 27 TVL Softlight DW are used in the space, some mounted back to back on the middle truss to cover each side while others are mounted at utility locations to create a rear or side wash. “We can bring up a scene on either side for a green screen wash or LED wall wash and not a single fixture has to be moved,” Russom says of the set-up, adding that occasionally they will pull a fixture to do a quick social media video.
The TVL Softlight DW houses both cool white and warm white LEDs for linear colour temperature control (3,200K - 5,600K). Its uniform flat-field output combines with conveniences like dimmer and colour temperature rotary control dials for simple projections of variable white light. White colour reproduction is of the highest quality with a CRI over 95 and each fixture includes removable eight-leaf barn doors.
“They wanted to nail the design and let us get the studio what was needed to execute all the different things they want to do in the space without having to use a lot of extra people,” says Russom. The TVL white light projection is facilitated by ADJ 12PX HEX LED pars spread throughout the space with ADJ COB Cannon Wash ST fixtures used for house lighting between shoots. ADJ Vizi Wash Z19 moving head LED washes are mounted to upright trusses in each corner of the room.
Sound Principles works with manufacturers rep firm Freed Sales, who Russom says help them consider options and then select the best products for each particular application. When it comes to specifying, he says he likes to keep the quoting process non-dramatic. “Therefore, I tend to gravitate toward brands that don’t end up having problems later. When it comes to lighting, we have specified Elation and ADJ for a number of years. It’s a dependability factor. I’ve had great success using those two brands of fixtures on hundreds of installations.” He says that in addition to Anthony Murray Studios, Sound Principles is using the TVL fixtures and installing them regularly. “We’ve put them in churches and small businesses who want to do commercial videos and they’ve worked out wonderfully.”
With a comprehensive lighting system, large LED video wall, green screen setup and complete package of cameras and other equipment, the new Anthony Murray Studios complex truly lives up to its founder’s vision of providing a full turnkey solution to its users.
15th October 2021
Electro-Voice and Dynacord sound system reduces hardware and increases coverage at King of Kings Church
USA – When King of Kings Lutheran Church in suburban Woodbury, MN decided to upgrade its sound system, their goal was to eliminate uneven coverage while improving clarity and fidelity for both contemporary and traditional worship services. They consulted Saint Paul-based Collins Electrical Construction, a regional firm that had recently installed their new lighting system. Being familiar with the facility, Collins project manager Shawn Withrow had a streamlined, high-performance solution in mind, with loudspeakers from Electro-Voice powered and processed by electronics from Dynacord.
“We do a wide range of commercial contracting, often working with Electro-Voice, and it has become my go-to brand for larger spaces like churches,” says Withrow. “We were confident that it was really just a matter of finding the right system to fit the space. For King of Kings, that turned out to be EVA line arrays.”
According to King of Kings director of worship arts, Chris Vorrie, the decision on a new system happened several months prior to the pandemic, driven by a desire for greater clarity. “With our previous system, the ability to understand the words varied depending on where you were sitting,” he explains. “We needed consistent, highly intelligible sound throughout the nave.”
Shawn Withrow contacted regional sales manager Dave Notch to arrange a loudspeaker demo, incorporating the latest electronics from Dynacord. “The demo made King of Kings comfortable with the EVA system, and it’s also why they decided to upgrade to flown dual-18” subwoofers.”
Electro-Voice and Dynacord’s in-house system design team assisted Collins Electrical Construction in finalising the deployment details, using EASE mapping software in combination with Dynacord SONICUE Sound System Software to ensure full, even coverage throughout the sanctuary. Local company Twin Cities Sound was engaged to handle the physical hanging of the loudspeakers.
The right and left hangs in the primary system each consist of two EVA-2082S 90° horizontal dispersion cabinets atop a pair of 120° models, ensuring even coverage throughout the main seating area. EVA cabinets contain two fixed-splay loudspeaker modules, which means that each hang comprises a total of eight line-array elements. Splay angles are determined by the specific choice of models. The cabinets are mechanically connected with simple rigging plates, which are completely hidden by cosmetic panels that give EVA a clean and elegant look. The main EVA system benefits from newly-released DSP settings that further enhance acoustical performance and a newly implemented hybrid limiter scheme that maximises system output.
To cover the side seating areas and choir loft, one Electro-Voice EVF-1122S is angled to each side, and two X12i-128 subwoofers are flown further out above the congregation. All the loudspeakers are finished in white. The system is powered by two Dynacord DSP power amplifiers, an IPX20:4 – a model capable of providing up to 20,000 Watts via its four channels – handles the arrays and subs and a single C2800FDi supplies the EVFs.
With services opening up again, the “less is more” value angle is clear to hear for the King of Kings team and their congregation: “We really love the sound of the new system,” adds Chris Vorrie. “Musically, everything is enhanced and sounds so much better than before and we actually eliminated multiple fill speakers in the process. Everything is consistent now, and both the spoken word and lyrics are much easier to understand, no matter where you sit.”
14th October 2021
Studio Berlin uses Lawo mc² consoles, VSM in new Ü10 truck
Germany – German TV production service provider Studio Berlin has commissioned a new UHD/HDR OB truck called “Ü10”, fitted-out with Lawo mixing consoles and control systems. Audio Control Rooms 1 and 2 of the new OB van are equipped with an mc²56 production console and an mc²36 all-in-one console, respectively, powered by fully redundant A__UHD mixing cores and a Lawo VSM broadcast control system. Planning and construction of the vehicle was accomplished by German system integrator Broadcast Solutions.
Ü10 has already proven its mettle, successfully providing live production for the German Television Awards (RTL) on its maiden voyage. In the future, Ü10 will be used mainly for the production of the German Soccer League (Bundesliga).
The Ü10 OB van is designed as a trailer and contains enough space for up to 26 people to work in a relaxed atmosphere, thanks to an extension of approx. 60m² of working space. It can work with up to 24 UHD cameras, and is completed by a modern set-up truck. The biggest conceptual innovation of the Ü10 project is the complete separation of control room and technology: the technical components are not installed in the OB van itself, but are completely housed in ten 19" racks in the central equipment room in the accompanying set-up van. Both vehicles are connected to each other by redundant fiber optic interlinks.
The two Lawo mc² consoles in the OB van are each fitted-out with fully redundant A__UHD cores. Each stand-alone core delivers 1,024 channels of audio processing (48/96kHz) and offers numerous monitoring options as well as downmixing and upmixing. A__UHD technology is based on open AoIP standards such as ST2110-30 / -31 and AES67/RAVENNA, and utilize Ember+ and NMOS for control. For large productions, the vehicle can access up to eight video and audio stage boxes.
“As part of our new OB van build, we were faced with the decision of which audio system to use,” says Mathias Heinrich of Studio Berlin, sound engineer for Ü10. “We wanted forward-looking IP technology, and we have always relied on Lawo for audio processing and mixing, so only A__line AoIP nodes combined with a new mc²56 MKIII or an mc²96 came into consideration. Due to the space limitations of an OB van, we opted for the mc²56 console.”
Audio Control Room 1 uses a 64-fader mc²56 MKIII audio production console, which has native support for SMPTE 2110, AES67/RAVENNA and MADI audio streams. In addition to multi-user operation, AutoMix, upmix, downmix and Lawo KICK, the console includes audio-follows-video functionality, integrated 3D/immersive mixing tools and parallel compression. Thanks to Lawo's IP Easy functionality (which is based on the HOME management platform for IP broadcast infrastructures and features automatic detection and quarantine routines), IP setup is as easy as analogue.
Audio Control Room 2 is equipped with a 16-fader Lawo mc²36. Its built-in A__UHD core technology provides 256 processing channels (48/96kHz), local I/O, 864 channels and integrates with solutions such as Waves SuperRack SoundGrid. It also and supports ST2110, AES67, RAVENNA and Ember+. The mc²36 also offers intuitive IP network management based on Lawo's HOME platform.
“Due to the structured surface of the Lawo consoles and their peripherals, a seamless transition with almost unchanged operation is possible despite the technology change to ST2110 AES67/RAVENNA,” says Heinrich. “The Lawo audio infrastructure combines to make a high-performance system that we believe can cope with almost any large-scale production. The Ü10 was conceived and built with major sports productions and show events in mind, and is therefore equipped to handle any imaginable production.”
The Ü10 allows productions with up to 24 UHD cameras, plus additional wireless cameras. It is equipped with a Grass Valley 12G K-Frame XP Compact vision mixer with XTREME option. Two Grass Valley control panels, a Karrera K-Frame 3 M/E in the main control room and a Korona 2 M/E in the second control room, access the image mixer. For the router, Studio Berlin chose the decentralized MediorNet solution from Riedel, which manages the video and audio signals as well as the multi-viewers.
All of this production technology is controlled by VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) from Lawo. This manufacturer-agnostic system controls all video/audio routers and mixers, intercoms, UMDs and multi-viewers, 'glue', and other third-party baseband and IP devices.
“Using VSM, we can quickly route individual intercom ports from Riedel to the MADI streams of the Micron UHD cores and the AES ports of the A__stage80 audio stageboxes at the touch of a button,” says Heinrich. “The fully redundant VSM system is the only sensible solution for us to be able to work in a clearly structured and, above all, fast and efficient way, not only in the intercom area, but also for the wiring of transmission lines, monitors, de-embedders, and all other video and audio signals.”
Heinrich is certain: “With VSM, we are prepared for any request from the customer.”
The ability to create pseudo-devices within VSM makes it possible for the whole team to work “virtually”. This “embedded workflow” conserves physical resources such as MADI streams or AES paths, which provides freedom and flexibility elsewhere.
Heinrich says that “Two Lawo V__pro8 units were installed for additional embedding and de-embedding, which enables us to quickly and easily shift times in terms of an audio/video offset. Any Dolby alignment is a ‘piece of cake’ with this.”
By moving the technology out of the OB van and into the accompanying set-up truck, the Ü10 work areas have been optimised, making Plexiglas partitions superfluous. This ingenious concept enables extremely flexible use of space: by moving doors and monitor walls, an open-plan control room can quickly be created by combining the two individual control rooms. Ü10’s air-conditioning system does not need to cool any equipment, so air exchange and filtering are likewise optimised, and treatment with UV light renders viruses harmless – a technique that has already been tried and tested in the health sector, but represents a completely new approach in the construction of OB vans.
The Ü10 also sets standards in terms of reliability during productions. The vehicle is equipped with a powerful UPS buffer, and in the event of a power failure, Ü10 can continue running the entire production for 15 minutes on battery power alone, leaving time to react and change the power source should an emergency arise.
14th October 2021
Seven-Time Grammy Winning Engineer Brian Vibberts Takes Hybrid Mix Set Up to Next Level with UC1 SSL Plug-in Controller
USA – As a seven-time Grammy winner who has worked in top commercial facilities with the likes of Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Metallica and, more recently, the late Chick Corea, Brian Vibberts now does the vast majority of work out of his personal hybrid studio just outside LA. His path to become 'The Man with the Golden Ears' began in the early '90s, where he cut his teeth on a host of state-of-the-art, large-format recording consoles at legendary studios like Right Track, The Hit Factory and Record One, among others. Over the course of his journey, Vibberts became intimately familiar with several classic SSL consoles, including the 4000, 6000, 8000 and 9000 series desks.
This depth of tactile, hands-on experience and production knowledge acquired over three decades has given Vibberts a fully-formed perspective when it comes to identifying the key building blocks necessary for his own hybrid studio. The most recent additions to his production toolkit include an SSL UC1 plug-in controller, along with several SSL Native plug-ins. The UC1 controller, whose tactile functions and ergonomics carry the DNA of the SSL consoles he's worked on in the past, has become an indispensable element in Vibberts' mixing workflow.
"I’ve used a lot of different consoles throughout my career," says Vibberts. "I’ve been working on SSLs since 1991, and have worked with the SSL 4000, the 6000, the 8000 and the 9000 series and Duality consoles. With the UC1, that muscle memory of using the real large format consoles was all there, and easily tied into using the controller. It was like, 'Oh, OK, it’s just like on the console'."
Vibberts acquired the UC1 because of its powerful functionality and positive feedback he was hearing from friends and peers. So far, his experience has been positive: "The knobs don't feel cheap and the controls are laid out in an intuitive fashion. For instance, when I am using a large console, I can just feel my way around the buttons and don't have to think about it too much. Similarly, with the UC1, I already know where the buttons are," he says.
"Having the ability to flip through the channels using the rotary knob makes it really easy when I am working on a larger session," he continues. "I can easily navigate through tracks by looking at the hi-res display if something needs to be changed. The display is awesome, and I can clearly read 'Kick In', Guitar 3, or whatever the track is listed as."
While Vibberts is familiar with dozens of plug-ins from a plethora of different manufacturers, he is consistently drawn to the SSL Native Channel Strip 2 and Bus Compressor 2 plug-ins, both of which are included with the UC1. "The UC1 is great because I am mostly using the Channel Strip 2 Plug-in, particularly on things like drums, percussion, keyboards, and sometimes the vocal. It has everything I need: the EQ, the dynamics, and the built-in buss compressor in the middle of the controller."
Vibberts also appreciates the UC1s moving coil gain reduction metering, which as well as its intelligent routing flexibility: "Say you want the EQ before the dynamics, or the other way around, you can easily change that around, or make changes to the presets if you want to adjust filtering parameters or something else."
In addition to using the SSL Native Channel Strip 2 and Bus Compressor 2 in conjunction with the UC1 controller, Vibberts frequently uses other SSL Native plug-ins, including the X-EQ 2, which allows him to dial in and get surgical with specific frequencies, as well as the X-Saturator, which he uses primarily on keyboards and bass to help these instruments pop out in the mix. Another favourite is the SSL Drumstrip: "After trying the plug-in demos for about a day, I decided I had to have these, and I’ve been using them in every mix ever since," he says. "The SSL plug-ins are just outstanding and far superior than the other emulations out there, and just have this nice open sound."
Vibberts says that SSL's decades-long experience in designing world-class recording consoles imparts a certain authenticity that simply cannot be imitated: "That’s where having it really be specific to what I already know with SSL plug-ins is a huge advantage," he says. "Since SSL designed the actual consoles, they can design plug-ins and a control surface so much better. I am now using more SSL Native plug-ins because they are so easy to use and I get a great sound."
13th October 2021
Zero 88 FLX in Control of Lighting at Gibraltar TV’s Facility
Gibralter – Zero 88, a Signify entertainment lighting brand, has provided lighting consoles to the new Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) purpose-built, state-of-the-art TV and radio studio facility and HQ at Gibraltar’s South Jumpers Bastion. The lighting systems were designed, specified and commissioned by UK-based lighting specialist, The Projects Department, with the two Zero 88 FLX consoles at the heart of the control set-up.
The newsroom FLX is controlling around 50 lights which are primarily generic white light fixtures, with a mix of conventionals, LED fixtures, and moving lights. GBC purchased its first Zero 88 FLX console for its previous main studio in 2015, soon after the product was launched. It was such a hit that GBC soon added another console for the second of their two TV production studios.
“They absolutely loved it,” commented Projects Department’s Peter Daffarn. “It was simple, powerful, and easy to use, it did everything they wanted and ticked all their boxes! The FLX is a perfect choice for so many different applications. For medium-sized theatres, production studios, and image capture spaces, and the product has been designed and properly thought through with all these scenarios in mind.”
In the new facility, the FLX’s four universes of DMX control are allowing all the generics and white lights to be controlled on one universe, with movers / LEDs on another, leaving universes 3 and 4 for additionals, extras, specials or visiting lighting rigs.
With one of the two largest studio spaces completely dedicated to news broadcasting and in operation constantly, the other used for general productions, a new FLX was purchased for the newsroom, freeing up the original console for use on outside broadcast (OB) work.
So, GBC now has three FLX consoles.
Peter worked closely with GBC’s principal engineer, John Balestrino, on the lighting spec for the new studios together with CEO Gerard Teuma and consultant Jim Brown from Big Box Consulting who were also very happy to add another FLX to the inventory. “It was a great collaboration,” stated Peter, which also included Peter Ward and John Cleaver from Dega.
The “fantastic” service from Zero 88 also played a major part explained Peter, stating that this is a major bonus to anyone specifying the brand. The “quick, efficient, friendly, and knowledgeable” support for which Zero 88 is renowned has impressed all since the purchase of the first desk back in 2015.
Projects Department is a London UK-based consultancy that specialises in quality turnkey installations, especially in the broadcast sector. Peter and Projects Department have been specifying Zero 88 products for their various installation work since they were founded in 1999. Their first Zero 88 broadcast project was in 2003 in Saudi Arabia. Their relationship with the client, Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation, dates to 2004 and lighting a photographic studio ensconced in a tunnel cut into Gibraltar’s famous Rock, which is part of the visitor experience. Since then, Projects Department has been involved in several lighting upgrades for different areas of GBC.
GBC is a core hub of Gibraltar’s media infrastructure, and the sleek, streamlined, modernist new building, designed by SSD Architecture and built by Sharrock Shand, was first announced in 2017. It’s built on one of Gibraltar’s historical gun bastions and sea gates, once a key element in its military defenses. The site is named after Captain William Jumper who played a vital role in the British capture of The Rock in 1704 and is now a Schedule 1 Category A-listed building.
The new development has been creatively and practically designed to allow visitors and passers-by to see the now covered original South Jumper’s Bastion courtyard in all its historical glory, and this will also be utilised as an indoor TV studio and event space.
photo: Zero 88
13th October 2021
Rattlesnakes Drummer Perfects Home Studio Setup with Audient Mic Pres
UK – Professional percussionist and drum teacher, Gareth Grover described the addition of Audient’s eight-channel mic preamp, ASP880 to his set-up as “honestly like night and day; way more impressive than the simple expansion of channels I was originally focused on.”
Whilst his role as drummer for Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes takes up much of his time, the pandemic forced him to get his tiny converted garage studio up and running sooner than he was anticipating. “The focus of the space was originally for personal instrumental practice and for teaching one to one lessons when I’m not away touring,” he explains. “We then hit the first lockdown and I was thrown into the potential situation of no work at all unless I started teaching remotely. It was all a bit of a scramble with a few technical headaches along the way, but it became a life-saver mentally and financially throughout those long lockdowns.”
With the basic setup for teaching organised, he started exploring recording for other purposes: making content for his social media and starting some creative work for himself. No stranger to working in the studio, he has enjoyed using the knowledge he has picked up over the course of his career and honing it in his own space.
“Tech-wise, the set up began as iMac and interface with only eight channels available, enough to get a very basic kit working for the remote teaching set up, but was restricted to only in-box processing which is a challenge when you have so many mics to work with and phase issues to get right.
“I'm now running the same eight-channel interface with the Audient ASP880 eight-channel mic-pres tied in by ADAT and doing most of the heavy lifting with its amazing preamps, leaving the onboard interface preamps to take up a few of the less important channels.”
He explains how it worked before: “Prior to the ASP880, monitoring was a bit of a headache, not particularly transparent or true, and meant lots of back-and-forth slow progress between recording, assessing, changing things, recording again etc, etc. Thanks to the ASP880's functions I now know I'm monitoring the most accurate representation I can of the raw sounds in the room and my headphone mix is all in phase on the way in, meaning I can make adjustments on the spot and instantly experience the effects rather than having to record, listen back, adjust and go again.
“What I wasn't expecting was the massive difference in clarity and warmth in just the basic signals, as well as the interesting tonal changes you can achieve with the impedance switching feature. The unit instantly made a massive difference.”
It’s the more simple features that he appreciates. “Having phase-flip buttons and the high-pass filters on each channel opened up a new world for me in terms of monitoring. I could achieve instantly what was previously taking a good chunk of time to replicate in my DAW after tracking (flipping-phase to get the signals working nicely with each other, and basic EQ tweaks to focus the low end information). Once those elements were cleaned up on the spot in terms of live monitoring, I could really hear the interesting tonal changes possible when using the impedance switch.”
The fourth Rattlesnakes record, Sticky was written during lockdown, fully utilising his home studio setup. “I was able to go deeply into tuning and treating the acoustic drums differently and individually for each track, experimenting with ambient and close mic blends, and generally making audio chaos to shake up the percussive timbre of the record as a whole. We honed that whole approach in pre-production and it helped make the final tracking sessions a lot more focused.”
12th October 2021
Sugar Coated Retail for Void Acoustics
UK – For a company better known for supplying exceptional club sound systems around the world, there has been a recent ‘sugar coated’ opportunity for Void Acoustics to make an appearance on a High Street near you!
Kingdom of Sweets is a multiple retail sweet-shop operation in key cities around the UK in addition to a number of flagship stores in major European cities.
This unusual project for Void highlights a number of firsts for the company. It is the first time Void Acoustics has supplied Kingdom of Sweets with their quartet of new shop locations in Bath, Windsor, Leeds and London’s high-end Knightsbridge shopping district.
Alan Smith, business development manager for AT&C takes up the story: “We’ve been aware of Void Acoustics for many years, and when we got the brief from our client, it was evident that this was a quirky and demanding project which had Void written all over it!” he recalls. “We had been asked to specify a sound system to ‘up the ante’ on the customers’ audio experience, whilst providing a bespoke design complementing the eye-catching and colourful presentation synonymous with all Kingdom of Sweets stores. Our client specifically asked for a clean sounding, bass-heavy system, with the audio reflecting the visually flamboyant experience for customers coming in to shop for their sugary goodies. It was clear that Void was the audio manufacturer to work with.”
With high streets springing back to normality, Kingdom of Sweets outlets have opened around the UK with bespoke manufactured and custom coloured Void Acoustics speakers to reflect the vibrant orange and purple Pantones of the Kingdom of Sweets brand. “Alongside the unique design of Void speakers, the fact the fibreglass speakers could be custom sprayed in the corporate colours was a major selling point,” continues Alan.
Void’s head of sales, Mike Newman was excited to be involved in the project. “This type of project couldn’t be more ‘polar opposite’ when considering the projects Void Acoustics are well known for. The Void brand is more associated with clubs and dance venues than sweet shops and so it was great to have a completely different project to introduce our systems into,” he grins, “and actually, the key elements remain the same: with attention-to-design-detail, an exceptional audio quality and exacting installation values at the core of the project.”
A series of the sleek looking Air 8s, supported by Venu 212 V2 bass enclosures and the ever-reliable Bias Q2 amp were installed into the Bath store. Whilst in the smaller store in Berkshire the futuristic Indigo 6s were installed alongside the Cirrus 6.1 ceiling loudspeakers and the smaller bass Venue 112 V2 unit accompanied by the Bias Q1 amp. In Leeds, the shop’s audio system features Venu 10s and Venu 212 V2s. Meanwhile the largest London store opened with the two-floor shop being served by a number of the iconic Airten V3s and Air 8s alongside Venu 212 V2s to supply the desired bass impact. Finished off with amplification from the Bias Q2 amp and newly released WM Touch Control Panel allowing easy operation for the store staff.
As a result of the seamless collaboration between AT&C and the team at Void on these installs, there are already other projects in the pipeline. “I only have positive things to say about the Void range, which is fantastic; and the good-natured assistance of the team at Void,” confirms Alan. “Mike Newman has patiently supported me as I get to grips with the capabilities and potential applications of the Void speaker and amp range. We are now in the process of fitting out a sports bar with the Venu range, and a cocktail bar with the Cyclone range. So it’s full steam ahead!”
A spokesperson for Kingdom of Sweets confirmed their delight at the outcome of the installations and the positive reaction from their customers. "The whole experience working with AT&C and Void Acoustics has been really positive throughout. The Void systems perfectly reflect our brand values of fun and high energy. Not only do the speakers look great but the performance is exceptional and have in fact way exceeded our expectations.”
“We were delighted to have partnered with AT&C on this new type of project for us, and given the incredibly positive reaction from the client, and the way the project was managed, I know we have started to build a great relationship with Alan and his team,” concludes Mike.
It could be said that life is pretty sweet for Void at the moment!
12th October 2021
Lithuania’s Miltinis Theatre Upgrades With Martin Audio WPM
Lithuania – Audiotonas recently won a tender to renew the audio system at the 400-capacity Juozas Miltinis Theatre in Lithuania. Situated in Panevezys, the fifth largest city in the country, the Grand Hall has been upgraded with a Martin Audio Wavefront Precision (WPM) line array, recently accoladed with a Queen’s Award for Innovation.
According to Audiotonas chief audio engineer (and system designer), Vytautas Stasiukaitis, an old-school point source PA system, more than 20 years old, was no longer fit for purpose. “The performance was not acceptable by today’s standards, and so the theatre wanted a high-tech sound system in which performance features could be optimised according to the architecture of the room,” he explained. “As the most cost-efficient system which met all the requirements of the Theatre Wavefront Precision was the way to go.”
It was the facility’s first experience with Martin Audio and the sound engineers of Miltinis Drama Theatre were certainly impressed. “This was particularly the case after we installed and tuned the system with DISPLAY software,” continued Stasiukaitis. “The intelligibility, consistency and frequency response were outstanding throughout the entire audience area. We set the back wall as a ‘Hard Avoid’ area because there was no acoustic treatment on the wall and that helped to maintain excellent audio performance with minimum reflections.”
The Grand Hall itself is single tier with raked seating. “We could see this as a perfect opportunity for a WPM installation,” he observed. “We provided 12 modules per side, which is why we did not need front fills: the location of the hangs itself and the quantity of modules ensured coverage of the front rows. Also, the size [of the enclosures] and overall performance made this the perfect choice.”
The mid-highs were underpinned by six SX118 subwoofers, with custom-made hardware enabling them to be flown near the main hangs. “Rear rejection was great, even in low frequencies, thanks to the cardioid set-up,” he confirmed.
In addition, CDD8s (two per side and two each at the rear of the auditorium) were detailed for theatrical effects surround. Finally, four Martin Audio XE300 have been provided for reference monitoring and a stage system comprises four CDD12 and an SX118 sub.
The main PA is run off a pair of iKON iK42 amplifiers, set to three-box resolution. “Although the resolution was not particularly high, it was sufficient for this set-up,” continued the designer. “A further five iK42 were used for subs, stage PA, stage monitors and surround speakers.”
The overall system upgrade also includes a new mixing desk, stageboxes, microphones and audio editing software, with all audio distribution via Dante. The amplifier racks were split into two sets in order to keep the same cable lengths running to the left and right side hangs.
This elegant solution has certainly met with approval from the client. The Theatre’s audio engineer Saulius Požerskas says the team is delighted with the system “as it sounds very crisp and clear throughout the entire audience area, and the overall experience for audiences is great.”
12th October 2021
Shoreditch Balls: Putting Quality First with Yamaha
UK – In recent years, indoor crazy golf has come to the fore as a leisure activity throughout the UK. London’s Shoreditch Balls has the experience down to a tee, featuring a Yamaha audio system delivering sound much better than par for the course, ensuring every game goes with a swing.
Located at 333 Old Street (the former home of the famed London Apprentice pub, club and live venue) Shoreditch Balls promises ‘crazy golf with a Shoreditch twist’. Featuring a nine hole course over two floors, venue designer David Knight of DTWO Design Ltd worked closely with Peter Kellet of Twickenham-based Viba AV. Peter chose Yamaha CZR and CXS XLF series passive speakers to deliver audio with accuracy and drive.
Each floor has two large, open plan rooms; in each one Viba AV installed four CZR10 compact, two-way speakers and two CXS15XLF extended low frequency subwoofers, powered by three PX3 and two PX5 power amplifiers. The system is managed by an MTX3 matrix processor, with DCH8 digital control hub and straightforward control via DCP4V4S and DCP1V4S surface-mount panels.
“The overall budget was quite tight but it was great working with David, as is he is very sensible regarding this kind of design and build,” says Peter.
“We specified the Yamaha CZR10 because it was the correct size for a venue with high ceilings and it was ideal for the dual use of background music and possible DJ events. It can be used at higher SPLs, with the CXS15XLF subs emphasising the high quality low end, and also has a great range of brackets, meaning it is easy to install in most spaces.”
Another advantage of the Yamaha solution was the efficiency of the PX series power amplifiers. One challenge was that the only available location for the amp rack was under the staircase. However, the PX amplifiers produce very little heat, so air extraction was not an issue.
The ground floor features exposed Douglas fir beams, which David wanted to highlight, so the CZR10s were fixed directly to the beams, with added safety wires.
Each room has its own XLR inputs for flexibility but, as the rooms are open plan, Peter kept the system control simple. It is programmed for one audio source per floor, with a choice of Playback/DJ for both floors or individual Event presets for each.
“Acoustically the venue is very good, with all wood floors except for the crazy golf greens and raised sections,” says Peter. “Out of the box, the system was already a fair way to how we wanted it, needing very little equalisation or tuning. We used the default setting on the amplifiers; other than that we just balanced the levels of the subwoofers with the room sizes. You could say setting it up was a hole-in-one.”
8th October 2021
Sennheiser Digital 6000 dazzles at world’s first super boutique hotel, The Londoner
UK – Opened on the 6th of September and referred to as ‘the world’s first super boutique hotel’ by owner Edwardian Hotels, The Londoner emerged as a new edifice in the heart of London’s West End paying tribute to the artists, visionaries and eccentrics of the city where the hustle and bustle never stops. Visual Systems, part of Myriad Audiovisual Sales Ltd, was employed by the hotel group to design and deliver top-of-the-range audio solutions, which includes Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless microphone systems, SpeechLine Digital Wireless, the world’s first speech-dedicated system, a Sennheiser infrared system on 2.3MHz and 2.8MHz and the audio manufacturer’s flagship MobileConnect system for assistive listening.
“When we were first approached by the Edwardian Group to provide audiovisual equipment for The Londoner, we truly felt that it was once-in-a-lifetime project and we felt privileged to be involved,” says Ray Sappal, director at Visual Systems. “After looking at their requirements, and especially the hotel location which, being in the heart of theatreland, is a very RF-congested area, we knew right away Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 would offer the best performance and a ‘no compromise’ approach when it comes to RF robustness, sound quality and workflow.”
With the West End life exuding every aspect of the venue’s design and audiovisual elements, The Londoner is home to one of the country’s best equipped ballrooms as well as meeting room spaces, all located in the basement of the hotel which spreads across six floors beneath the ground.
“My role is to evaluate all technology for the group to ensure we purchase the correct product for the job in question,” says Nick Kalsi, technical consultant at Edwardian Hotels. “I worked very closely with Visual Systems to ensure we had the very best available in the market. I visited a number of audio suppliers, including Sennheiser in Marlow, and I have to state that I was very impressed by not only the products but also the in-house technical team there, so it made my job very simple to include Sennheiser in my recommendations as I was very comfortable knowing the products would work well and we had support from the manufacturer.”
The Visual Systems team deployed 14 channels of Digital 6000 in The Ballroom. A beautiful, 566sqm event space, it has been equipped to host events of any calibre, turning theatre premiers and corporate gatherings into truly memorable experiences.
“With Digital 6000 serving some of the major theatrical productions such as Wicked, Les Misérables and Hamilton, it made complete sense to also deploy it in the place which is living and breathing the West End across its entire facility,” continues Sappal. “With its higher channel density and bullet-proof signal reliability, The Londoner got the best and latest in digital wireless technology.”
Apart from theatre, TV and movie premiers, Digital 6000 will also be used for live music shows and entertainment, further serving the Edwardian Hotels team’s vision of creating a high-quality urban resort, a destination in the heart of London that is so much more than just a hotel. “I would say that The Ballroom space is the best equipped ballroom in London, if not in the UK,” says Sappal. “Apart from Digital 6000, we have also delivered state-of-the-art laser projection systems, four large electric screens, as well as motorised trusses with over 50 moving lights.”
There is also a dedicated broadcast infrastructure with hybrid fibre optical cables. “As we didn’t know how long COVID was going to go on for, we designed the whole ballroom space so that it can be used as a hybrid events space. This means that you can stream an event not only within the hotel, but also externally through a dedicated platform,” Sappal adds.
Speaking about why the team chose Sennheiser, Sappal leaves no room for doubt. “We have worked with Sennheiser for a number of years, so whenever we specify microphones, we normally go with Sennheiser as our first choice due to the company’s solid reputation in the event industry, the high quality of their products and around-the-clock technical assistance.”
As well as Digital 6000, the Visual Systems team also installed Sennheiser’s SpeechLine Digital Wireless system in the hotel’s two largest meeting room spaces. Designed for speech applications, SLDW features Dante support for IP networks as well as stress-free management via the Sennheiser Control Cockpit software, with the latter also offering full control of the Digital 6000 wireless microphone series.
Another technology that proved its worth instantly, and even more so due to the COVID health and safety regulations, is Sennheiser’s assistive and personal listening solution, MobileConnect. “Because of COVID, we thought MobileConnect would be perfectly suited. The beauty of the system is that each person can use their own mobile devices like smartphones or tablets to stream live audio content via the existing WiFi,” explains Sappal.
By deploying MobileConnect Stations, event audio is available throughout B2 ballroom, B2 pre-function spaces and anywhere within the hotel if connected to the hotel WiFi, even in B3 meeting rooms for ballroom event overflow. This allowed the team to bring a cost-efficient and hygienic solution to The Londoner, meaning the hotel does not need to issue dedicated assistive listening devices, with each visitor using their own personal device. Additionally, the MobileConnect Manager software can be used as the single point of administration for all MobileConnect Stations, meaning a more centralised approach for the hotel technical team.
The comprehensive training offered by Sennheiser at their UK offices in Marlow made it all the more easy for the hotel to say ‘yes’ to the proposed solutions.
“We were able to bring the team to Marlow for a demo and training, just to make sure everyone felt comfortable using each system and can take full advantage of the extensive features offered by MobileConnect, SpeechLine, Digital 6000 and the Control Cockpit software,” says Inesh Patel, business development manager – business communication at Sennheiser. “We also sent a demo kit to the hotel’s Mayfair site, with Sennheiser’s technical application engineer Joe Mahoney also doing some onsite training.”
“One great thing about all these systems is that they can all be controlled centrally via the Control Cockpit software, which means the team can digitize their AV management workflow and have a smooth and efficient experience,” says Sappal. “Whilst for many hotel chains technology is more of an afterthought, this is certainly not the case with Edwardian Hotels, as we have not come across any other brands that invest so heavily into technology than this group does.
“The collection of spaces The Londoner offers is simply unmatched, and we are pleased that Visual Systems could complement this unique facility with the absolute best in audio technology, thanks to Sennheiser. This project really did feel like ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity, and we are proud that we were part of it!”
“We as a group invest heavily into technology, and hence we always aim to be one step ahead to ensure we cater for any requirements our clientele may have,” concludes Iype Abraham, commercial development director, Edwardian Hotels. “The Londoner Hotel is the newest member to our group, hence we wanted to make sure this was a unique hotel not only for the architecture and interior design but for the technology used throughout the complex; it had to be the best in its class.
“I wanted to ensure the Ballroom was equipped with the best audio equipment available and I feel we have achieved and gone beyond our initial requirements. We have a fantastic system installed, I am very pleased with the finished product, well done to Visual Systems who carried out the detailed design and installation.’’
8th October 2021
Elation lighting upgrade supports contemporary worship at Living Word Church
USA – When Living Word Church in Houston, Texas, was having trouble maintaining its sanctuary lighting system (partly due to problems acquiring spare parts) it reached out to Eric Bernstein of Lighting Ministries, who quickly surveyed the situation and prescribed a lighting upgrade of Elation stage and house lighting fixtures.
"I know that whatever fixtures I specified would need to be serviced and I wanted to assure the prospective client that these lights could be easily repaired when needed,” stated Bernstein, alluding to the client’s poor experience with their previous AV integrator. “I chose to go with Elation for this job since I have dealt with their service department since 1992 and have a personal relationship with several of their key personnel. I know replacement parts can easily be obtained by us or any of their dealers and/or service centres throughout the country."
Like so many other projects begun pre-pandemic, the lighting upgrade experienced delays. The extra time, months of Covid adjustment in which live streaming became more of a focus, led to the realisation that any design needed to look as good on camera as it does live. Following several on-site demos, a moving head package of six Artiste Van Gogh, six Smarty MAX, 12 Fuze Wash Z350 and four Fuze Profile CW was chosen for stage lighting impact, while 20 Fuze Pendant LED wash lights provide a dynamic house lighting solution. Bernstein and Lighting Ministries handled design, specification and installation of the new system.
Forgoing an overhead truss rig, Bernstein installed upstage support shelves on which the Artiste Van Gogh and Smarty MAX fixtures sit, resulting in a cleaner, more traditional look. He says the choice of the hybrid Smarty MAX with its 4000-hour Platinum FLEX 400 lamp, 20,000 lumens of power and 160mm front aperture was a conscious decision in order to achieve a true beam look that only a lamp can produce while the ability to instantly switch to a wash look creates a very versatile fixture.
The Artiste Van Gogh, LED wash moving heads with CMY/CTO colour mixing and framing, and Smarty MAX fixtures work with a Therma Tour 600 haze machine from Magmatic atmospherics to create stunning visuals. The decision was also made to add full colour lighting to the baptistery in the form of ADJ WiFly bars, which add more depth to the platform without added clutter.
Mounted on downstage support beams and used as front light are Fuze Wash Z350 LED washlights with barndoors and Fuze Profile CW LED profile spots. Bernstein comments: “It is important for the programmer/operator to be able to control the light and direct it accordingly. The use of zoom, framing shutters and barndoors greatly assist in this and the ability to control those functions greatly enhances the looks achieved and keeps unnecessary light spill to a minimum.”
The full-spectrum LED downlighting Fuze Pendants have replaced 20 outdated discharge-based pendants resulting in at least a 65% savings in energy, according to Bernstein, while offering a full colour palette, colour temperature adjustment and CRI over 90. The new system gives the church the ability to light the complete sanctuary or highlight a specific area in any colour or white colour temperature at any time. “Colour is emotion,” Bernstein says, “and with the Fuze Pendants they can really make an impression.” One inspiring look he describes is when the pastor is highlighted in white light while the house and stage lights match in blue. “It’s a powerful look and the contrast is striking.”
Living Word’s new dynamic lighting has added vitality to their contemporary service, helping the ministry spread its message live or via broadcast yet allowing them to maintain a more traditional look when desired.
5th October 2021
Kampnagel Theatre Invests in Robe T1 Profiles
Germany – Hamburg’s world-renowned Kampnagel is Germany's biggest independent international production venue for the performing arts. Based in a former crane engineering factory in the lively Winterhude district of Hamburg, this charismatic space dates to 1865 and has been reinvented by Kampnagel as a buzzing multi-venue creative and cultural hub hosting and producing theatre, music, dance, arts festivals, and concerts since 1982.
This year, Kampnagel has invested in Robe T1 Profile LED moving lights which will be used as required across their six main performance spaces.
The T1s were selected after careful consideration, a shoot-out with some competitor products and a strong recommendation by Freddy Niß from lighting design and technical consultancy, FredUp e.K.
Kampnagel whose current artistic director is Amelie Deuflhard, approached Freddy to advise on the best choice of a contemporary moving light. They had a specific budget and ideally wanted ten fixtures that were flexible enough to work across all performance genres and satisfy their diverse needs and range of lighting specs received from incoming productions.
Before the T1s, they had used ten discharge moving wash lights and the initial idea was to purchase a similar but more modern fixture with equal or increased brightness.
Freddy was already involved in testing and recommending T1s to the Hansa Theatre in Hamburg, when first asked to assist Kampnagel in their quest for new luminaires. Impressed with the results of his research, he encouraged the Kampnagel lighting team to also look at Robe’s T1 range, and the T1 Profile in particular.
“I was already convinced by this time that T1 Profile was a great choice, but it was important that the Kampnagel crew witnessed the light in action for themselves,” explained Freddy, saying that the seven to 49 degree zoom range which enables it to work as a wash plus other factors like the silent running, excellent colour mixing, fantastic range of whites, brightness and sheer quality of the light output immediately ticked all their main boxes.
“This fixture is designed and developed for a broad range of theatre applications and that’s exactly what they needed,” he stated, adding that the light weight was another factor as the lights can be handled by one person which is also ideal for Kampnagel’s set up and operation.
Colour mixing was crucial. “The detail and finesse of the T1 made it a clear winner compared to any other fixtures in the frame, and this became especially clear during the physical shoot-outs,” said Freddy. All this, combined with the fine-tuned dimming and super-accurate framing shutters convinced all at Kampnagel that the T1 Profile was for them.
They were used extensively throughout August on selected productions for Hamburg’s 2021 Internationales Sommerfestival (International Summer Festival) which is a major part in Kampnagel’s annual season and takes place every August both inside and outside the factory building as well as in other places in Hamburg. This year’s festival event schedule featured over 30 different productions and the same number of concerts that took place on two open-air stages in the Kampnagel garden, and although slimmed down to comply with the current Covid-19 regulations, it nonetheless offered a vibrant programme of international theatre, performance, dance, music and visual arts and site-specific projects eagerly consumed by a performance-hungry public.
During this time, the theatre was visited by multiple lighting designers working on different individual productions, with all the various lighting designs overseen by the festival’s overall head of lighting, Michael Lentner, who was very enthusiastic about the arrival of the T1 Profiles, used mainly in K6, Kampnagel’s largest venue with 850 seats.
Dennis Döscher, Kampnagel’s head of lighting commented: “We are really happy! For theatre use, the T1 is the best LED moving light we’ve ever used at Kampnagel to date!"
Freddy first saw Robe products at one of the Prolight+Sound expos in Frankfurt, and then started specifying certain fixtures, as appropriate, for his different show lighting designs. With the T1 launch in 2018 he recognised Robe’s commitment to developing innovative theatrical ranges and properly addressing these sector requirements.
FredUp is a new company, started to channel Freddy’s consultancy work, and to sell a few carefully selected product ranges. He’s also well known as Fred Lighting Design having started his professional career in Hamburg as a set carpenter in the early 2000s before moving on to specialise in lighting and other visual technologies. His experience has included gaining a ‘Master in event technology, specialising in lighting’ degree from IHK Hamburg.
In picture: Doria Worden – education specialist, Holger Schegum – lighting designer (since 1984) at Kampnagel and Christian Eimann – lighting programmer, systems technician and lighting network specialist; Freddy Niß and Michael Lentner – head of lighting for the International Summer Festival.
1st October 2021
Miami has a new kid on the block and Void Acoustics is in the thick of it!
USA – Move over South Beach: there is a new kid on the block in terms of the hottest area to hang out in Miami!
The up-and-coming neighbourhood of Brickell is not only recognised as the financial district of the city, but it is rapidly developing into a stylish and much sought-after residential area. And with that comes a demand for classy bars and restaurants to meet friends and colleagues and celebrate the chic lifestyle synonymous with Miami.
Enter 8Street Brickell: a boutique bar owned and operated by Mark Meram with a capacity to host exclusive VIP parties and DJ sets whilst also offering an intimate hangout for locals, as well as international and national tourists visiting the city.
Mark’s vision was to create a sophisticated modern twist on a classic Speakeasy style, with the interior of this venue creating an homage to the style and design ethos of the 1920s, including wood and button tuft upholstery and a soaring and undulating ceiling enhanced with LED lighting.
8Street Brickell was designed by Callin Fortis and his team at Bigtime Design Studios as part of a brand-new condo complex. “From the offset, we knew this venue was going to be something special,” explains Callin. “Equally it was going to demand a high-level audio installation which would complement, not detract, from the overall look and feel of the bar. In particular because of the complex LED-mapped ceiling grid we were designing as a focal point of the bar’s architecture. It was a natural fit for us to work with high-end integrator Paul Van Puffelen and his team at Southern Technical Support Inc in order to help us realise Mark’s distinct vision of a modern-day speakeasy.”
Mark was clear on what he wanted in terms of the audio specification. “We were looking for a versatile audio system which would be well received by guest DJs for special events, but would also provide reliable perimeter and distributed audio coverage for our daytime service, as well as our lounge night concept. We wanted speakers that would accentuate the space and act as part of the design, basically to become a piece of art themselves. To be honest, we had Void Acoustics in mind long before we appointed our consultants.”
System design integrator Paul Van Puffelen, from Southern Technical Support Inc worked in close conjunction with audio partner Mike Harris of Harris Audio Systems to specify the Void Acoustics installation. Together, they answered the design brief for the high spec, sleek looking audio system with a complete turnkey solution, including the installation and programming of a full Void system including the iconic Void Acoustics signature Air Motion speakers accompanied by Air 8 and Airten V2 fixtures; the IP-55 rated Cyclone 55 for the outside patio, completed by Stasys 218 subs with Bias Q2 and Bias V9 amps. All products were further enhanced with custom Pantone matte black colour finish to reflect the designer’s project look, a finish provided by the Void production team which did not disappoint.
Paul smiles as he reflects: “The main challenge was specifying and installing a high-end audio installation into a brand-new venue during a pandemic. There were numerous delays during 2020 which, in the end, served us well, as it allowed the individual trades to come in and perfect each aspect of the installation without any real time pressure because all venues were closed at the time. In addition to which (and in many ways most importantly for us) it allowed us the time to implement a strategic acoustical treatment. We ended up with as much time as we felt we needed to tune the room and ensure there was no negative impact to the quality of the sound system resulting from any mechanical noises, air conditioning units and other structural elements of the build.”
Whilst the Brickell neighbourhood has a plethora of bars and restaurants and visitors and locals of the area are spoilt for choice, there is nothing like 8Street Brickell in the vicinity and the bar really does offer something truly unique. Mark is thrilled with the outcome. “My wish was to create an approachable, but entirely unique and memorable experience for anyone stepping foot inside 8Street Brickell. In fact, offering our customers a chance to step back in time and celebrate that moment in history where the speakeasy was the place to secretly meet, enjoy good humour and the eccentricities of the day! All that with a feel of the 2020s, not the 1920s. The sound system was one of the most important aspects of the space. A futuristic and quality Void Acoustics sound system helped create this intrigue and our guests’ first reaction when they walk in is instantly one of awe and curiosity in the sound system.”
Mark credits the expertise and work of the Southern Technical Support Inc team as central to him achieving his vision. He saw them seamlessly deliver his goals, whilst also keeping the integrity of the bar's design intact.
“We couldn’t be happier with the look and sound of the Void Acoustics sound system. I have always been an avid fan of Void Acoustics and knew that they were the only speakers on the planet that would give us the sound quality and look we so desperately desired for the venue.”
And so, it seems, thanks to Mark’s vision, and the unique look and quality of Void Acoustic products, the Sunshine State of Florida has another reason to shine!
photos: Craig Denis Creative
1st October 2021
Munich’s Gärtnerplatztheater enters the IP world with Lawo mc²56 MKIII and A__UHD Core technology
Germany – Rich in tradition, the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz (State Theater at the Gärtner Square in Munich) has experienced a large number of renovations, restorations and technical re-equipments in its eventful history. One-hundred and sixty-five years after its founding, the State Theater has now opted for state-of-the-art IP audio technology from Lawo, and is producing its new season largely on the basis of an AoIP infrastructure.
The central elements of the new setup at Gärtnerplatztheater are two Lawo mc²56 audio production consoles with an A__UHD core engine. I/O connectivity is guaranteed via several A__line AoIP nodes, in addition to Lawo DALLIS devices already in place in-house. Digitech, the experienced Bavarian system integrator, acted as general contractor for the design, implementation and integration of the new technology which was installed in August and successfully completed in September, 2021.
The State Theater has been familiar with Lawo for years; in 2007, two mc²66 digital mixing consoles were installed in the auditorium and sound control room for use in sound reinforcement and to record musical, ballet, operetta and opera productions. Those earlier mixers have now been replaced by two mc²56 (MKIII) consoles, each with 48 faders and an A__UHD Core engine. A software upgrade to an A__UHD Core (Phase 2), to facilitate further IP infrastructure expansion, is planned for the 2022 season. The existing DALLIS I/O systems are integrated into the network via a Nova73 HD router core, with additional connectivity via WAN-capable A__stage AoIP nodes. This flexible approach permits the continued use of existing technology within new workflows, enabling a gradual transition to a comprehensive IP infrastructure. The entire system was implemented as a redundant network to ensure security.
Dirk Buttgereit, head of the theatre's sound department, about the upgrade: "We opted for a combination of existing equipment and new hardware and software, a perfect solution because the existing hardware, especially the analogue/digital conversion systems, are still in impeccable condition, work reliably and can be integrated seamlessly with the new Lawo systems that will bring the sound in the theatre up to the state of the art."
Looking to the future, Buttgereit adds "This first step already allows us to take advantage of an IP infrastructure and apply new features and workflows, with theatre-specific features such as cue lists, ISO sets, fade sets, and DSP pooling via the A__UHD core. In the coming years we will switch completely to IP technology. In our case, this smooth transition will only succeed with Lawo."
Buttgereit concludes: "We appreciate the reliability of Lawo products and trust Lawo's innovative spirit. Through the close communication Lawo maintains with clients, the company succeeds in implementing this innovative power with products and solutions that are both practical and tailored to the customer, exemplified by our entry into the IP age of theatre and opera production."
30th September 2021
Unusual raises the curtain on multi million pound refurbishment at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
UK – Following three years of project management and two years of site attendance, Unusual Rigging has unveiled its role on the multi-million-pound refurbishment of Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The beautiful Grade 1 listed Georgian venue has been reimagined as an all-day stylish destination with one of London’s greatest auditoriums at its heart. Unusual Rigging was brought on board by LW Theatres and contracted for the ‘Behind the Iron’ works.
Mike Goodwin, senior project manager, Unusual Rigging explained: “This was a major project for Unusual, which we knew from the outset would require the considerable focus of a dedicated team, from design concepts through approvals with the LW Theatres project design team, decanting 42ndStreet; transitioning The Lane from venue to construction site, co-ordination with the principal contractors (Gardner & Theobalds Ltd) and the diverse sub-contractors under their auspices during the construction period, all the way through to handover, then straight into the Frozen production installation; an unrelenting workload spanning three years for some of the URL team.”
With the design process ongoing, and in conjunction with Dorothea Restorations and David Wilmore of Theatre Research we commenced site works with the removal of the historic stage machinery, a project with national significance. The theatre is listed by Historic England as grade I, with the stage machinery being a key part of that listing, and as such the project had to be carefully planned and executed in a manner that satisfied all concerned parties, requiring the removal of all existing stage lift elements and the recovery and storage of certain lift components for future curation. Once the recovery of the curated lift machinery had been achieved, we shifted into construction phase with the demolition of the remaining substage equipment. Then came the demolition and removal of all existing fly tower works including the old grid, galleries, cross over and counterweight fly system, followed by the demolition and safe removal/ decontamination of the existing fire curtain (the Iron) and the demolition and removal of the existing drencher system, all via a 25m² flown crash deck, suspended from the roof trusses.
The next significant task was the strengthening of said roof trusses and replacement of the timber grid to achieve an imposed load capacity of 200 tonnes UDL across a new steel grid, the system able to accommodate up to 100no. counterweight sets capable of supporting 1tn per set. The initial installation included 60no. counterweight sets and 10no. secondary sets located in the three downstage bays.
In order to achieve these works we used a bespoke temporary jacking system to lift the ends of the roof trussed individually thereby enabling the installation of a new concrete ring beam without disturbing the integrity of the roof or indeed the walls of the building in any way. The trusses were then lowered back down on to the new re-enforced concrete ring beam, grouted, thereby ensuring the structures is able to ‘see’ the improved loads.
Then came the demolition and removal of all existing fly tower works including the old grid, galleries, cross over and counterweight fly system, followed by the demolition and safe removal/ decontamination of the existing fire curtain (the iron) and the demolition and removal of the existing drencher system.”
Tom Harper, Unusual’s MD and head of sustainability said: “This project was a timely exercise in sympathetic approaches to the concerns of heritage and sustainability, in which we recovered over 15 tonnes of material; some for curation, some for re-use and some for re-purposing. Reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Mike continued: “We were tasked with re-modelling the entire stage house above stage level. This included design, fabrication and installation of a new steel grid, three new galleries: fly, lighting and loading, all with crossovers,including stair access to all levels and grid. We also designed, fabricated and installed the new fire curtain capable of withstanding 30kg m/2 pressure differential and provide a 60-minute fire barrier that falls in less than 30 seconds, 60 off four -line, 500kg sets, all double purchase, commencing downstage of the proscenium, increasing to 67 sets over the duration of the contract and 10 off, four-line 500kg secondary sets, all double purchase, the refurbishment of the existing lantern and the design, fabrication and installation of the new automated fire safety system.”
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the theatre industry, the Unusual team was able to complete the programme on time despite the various restrictions and social distancing working protocols. The theatre is now capable of hosting the very largest of productions and is also easily capable of expanding the fly system by adding new sets should that prove to be a future requirement.
Mike concluded: “The ultimate aim of any project we work on is to have satisfied clients and LW Theatres are extremely pleased with both the end result and the focus shown by all of the Unusual team on the project despite the long duration and the pandemic. We are extremely proud to have been part of an historic project that will hopefully see the theatre remain viable for another 120 years.”
28th September 2021
MSL installs latest 1Rebel London gym with Martin Audio BlacklineX
UK – Middlesex Sound & Light (MSL) recently completed the ninth installation in the high intensity 1Rebel gym infrastructure, with the completion of 1Rebel Oxford Circus.
Their eighth premium site in London, the self-styled ‘King of Gyms’ has a portfolio that extends to the Middle East (which was completed late last year). Described as a fitness-fashion hybrid, boasting nightclub quality production values, each site features high-octane sound reinforcement from the Martin Audio catalogue.
Originally introduced to owners Giles Dean and James Balfour around four years ago as a replacement for their previous sound supplier, MSL provided a sophisticated AV upgrade of the first two venues, which were already in the estate, before setting out a design blueprint for future roll-out. This would take into account the operators’ different studio concepts such as the trainer-led ‘Ride’, ‘Reshape’ and ‘Rumble’.
Project manager and designer Toby Jones confirms that Martin Audio products, from BlacklineX and CDD through to ADORN, now appear in all venues. “At Oxford Circus, the profile and raw sound of BlacklineX perfectly suit the brick-built industrial theme of the interior,” he says. “BlacklineX again met all the requirements for performance and budget, and this is the third venue in which it is featured.”
1Rebel Oxford Circus features two of the three large studio concepts: ‘Rumble’ (explosive boxing sessions for 55 clients, immersed in 45 minutes of sound and energy) and Reshape (offering a gruelling and dynamic programme of weights, core and cardio training, equipped for 25 people).
The sound in Rumble is played out through 12 x Blackline X8, mounted on the boxing structure itself, with a pair of SX112 subwoofers on the floor, one at each end. Reshape features ten Blackline X8 around the perimeter, ceiling mounted with Powerdrive attachments, and two further SX112 subs.
Fed by either local iPod or trainer’s equipped with head-worn radio mics (via the mini jack plug-in), Jones says that the client’s high investment in acoustic isolation means that the volume level can be ratcheted up to performance levels, if required. Linked to a Soundweb digital backbone it also offers tremendous flexibility.
Elsewhere, the Reception area coverage is provided by a cluster of four Martin Audio ADORN A55 loudspeaker on a central ceiling mounted pole, providing complete 360° coverage, while the walkway is equipped with a further two clustered pairs of ADORN A55 on 1.5m drops, firing up and down the corridor.
Further ADORN A55s can be found in the Male and Female changing rooms, and even in the cleaner’s cupboard. “All changing rooms have preset volume controls whereas there is independent mic and volume control for the two studios,” confirms Toby Jones.
In summary, he says: “We originally demoed the Blackline X8 for the client in a small studio so he could experience the value engineering, and he agreed they sounded great.”
This was confirmed by Giles Dean. “MSL has really understood the high-octane environments we’ve been looking to create with their technology,” he stated. “Central to this have been the Martin Audio sound systems, which on the one hand have all the potency necessary to accompany a high intensity workout while at the same time providing evenly distributed background coverage for the non-studio areas, with absolute clarity.”
28th September 2021
Festspielhaus Baden-Baden Takes a Quantum Leap with Alcons
Germany – With a capacity of 2,500 seats, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden is considered Germany's largest opera and concert house. However, the huge concert hall is acoustically challenging.
A recently installed Alcons QR24 pro-ribbon column speaker system is reliably mastering these challenges.
The project to replace the ageing sound reinforcement system of the Festspielhaus had been underway already since 2017. The Germany-based theatre consultancy Walter Kottke Ingenieure GmbH were commissioned to do the job. The specialist in charge, Joachim Lindemann, reports: "The system was not only outdated, but also yielded rather sub-optimal results. Due to its size and wall surfaces, the hall creates a reverberation of more than two seconds. Great for concert performances but very problematic for sound reinforcement of any kind. The more sound energy you release into the room, the more response you receive in return. Unless the throw is super directional, one will eventually lose control of the sound at some point.”
Lindemann suggested an Alcons QR24 modular line-source array column system for a listening test. While listening to it, Stefan Ibach, team leader audio and video technology at the Festspielhaus, "almost fell off his chair," the planner is pleased to report. "In fact, I've never heard anything quite like this in this room,” Ibach agrees.
During the summer break, two QR24 4x 6,5” (left / right) systems were installed, supplemented by a centre cluster of four LR14 pro-ribbon line array systems. Three additional QR24 systems each (left / right) were added for the sound reinforcement of the two tiers. Six double 5” SR9 complement the system for near field support.
An array of four BF362 MkII double 18” subwoofers provides for additional bass. All QR24 units were hidden behind a perforated metal panel in the proscenium. The installation was carried out by Salzbrenner Media.
The QR24 is a modular two-way column loudspeaker that can be used as a scalable vertical array system for permanent and mobile applications. The system combines linear dynamic 1:1 sound reproduction with excellent speech intelligibility and can be used in the most acoustically challenging environments.
"To acoustically compensate for the widely spaced proscenium towers, we additionally opted for a centre cluster to cover the floor in front of the stage." adds Stefan Ibach. "The subwoofers are also installed up there. On the stage edge we can add mobile SR9 near field loudspeakers."
Joachim Lindemann adds: "Thanks to their very favourable form factor, the QR24s could be installed in the proscenium without any difficulty. Installing line arrays instead was therefore never an option for optical and acoustic reasons, because arrays were often unable to separate the individual zones in the hall and repeatedly emitted too much acoustic energy into the hall. And that's exactly what we were trying to avoid."
Lindemann expected right away that the QR24s could be the solution to the sound reinforcement problems in the hall: "Alcons speakers offer the most directional radiation in the HF section you will find on the market. That's why the QR24s are able to deliver very precise audio on the floor and the two tiers, while causing as little reflection as possible from walls and balcony parapets. This, in return, means that we can easily apply volumes well above 100dB and still achieve crystal-clear sound."
"The sound of the Alcons speakers is very transparent and high definition," Ibach agrees.
"They are suitable for both speech and music sound reinforcement of all kinds. Acoustically, it's a quantum leap for us at the Festspielhaus compared to the old system. Additionally, handling the system with the ALControl software is intuitive, one gets the desired results very quickly.”
24th September 2021
Kulturhaus Karlstorbahnhof build a new home with Allen & Heath
Germany – The German Cultural Centre Kulturhaus Karlstorbahnhof e.V. has resided on the eastern edge of Heidelberg's Old Town since 1995 and, in addition to the almost 600-seat concert hall and Klub K nightclub, offers space for the association’s culture cafe, free theatre, Eine-Welt-Zentrum (One World Centre), media forum and communal cinema. In 2017, the decision was made to relocate the Karlstorbahnhof with a new venue pencilled to open in late 2022, on the site of the former Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg's Südstadt.
During the relocation planning phase, the city of Heidelberg granted funds for the technical modernisation of the building, with some of these funds allocated for a new audio mixing system for the centre. Christoph Hack, technical director of the Karlstorbahnhof, opted for an Allen & Heath Avantis console and a GX4816 audio expander, which will be used for the outdoor summer stage and the hall, while the venue is still in operation. "I've been enthusiastic about Allen & Heath since my first encounter with the SQ-6," explains Hack, "so it was clear to me that we would rely on their consoles from now on."
Östringen based Session Pro were tasked with supplying and installing the system, and in addition to the Avantis and the GX4816, all components for the set-up at the new location are already ordered. "After the move, the FOH console will be an Allen & Heath dLive S3000 console," Hack says. "The Avantis will then be used as a monitor console and mobile desk for the foyer. A DM32 MixRack will be permanently installed in the technical room. Four DX168 expanders will be on stage, two DX164-W expanders will be fixed to the front of the stage, and all connected to the DM32 via a DX Hub."
Utilising Dante expansion cards in both consoles, Hack will provide a digital split between FOH and monitors, distribute signals around the building and offer a multitrack recording solution. The theatre will be equipped with an Allen & Heath SQ-5 in the new hall, and here too a Dante expansion card will distribute signals to the other venues in the house. "We can also draw further added value from the Dante cards, as we can integrate our Wireless Systems directly into the dLive system and monitor them there," Hack concludes.
Allen & Heath’s Avantis is currently in use for outdoor performances at the centre, before moving to MON duties when the new building is completed in 2022.