Project News Headlines
The Belonging Co. sets new standards for quality with its latest LED wall driven by Brompton processing
Guildhall School of Music & Drama expands production and performance capabilities with Solid State Logic and multi-site AoIP infrastructure
Alcons Pro-Ribbons are the BASIS of Versatility
Italy – As part of a project funded by the European Union, a former military barracks in northern Italy has been transformed into a ‘social activation hub’. BASIS Vinschgau-Venosta aims to facilitate the development of ideas in economy, culture, education and social development, and is designed to bring people of all ages, backgrounds and experience together. The multi-use space features a comprehensive yet highly versatile Alcons Audio pro-ribbon audio system.
The former Druso army barracks was opened in 1937, closing in the late 1990s. In the summer of 2020, the completion of a long-term project saw the building given a new life as BASIS Vinschgau-Venosta. It’s the brainchild of Hannes Götsch and is designed to host a wide range of events, including theatre, live music, movies and club nights.
Hannes knew Wolfgang Sauter, founder and owner of the Austrian audio specialists Pro Performance, from his work in the Viennese club scene. Pro Performance was asked by Hannes to design, plan and create the entire sound and acoustics concept for BASIS, thanks to Wolfgang’s experience in demanding projects.
“The ability of Alcons Audio’s pro-ribbon systems to deliver high quality sound in all the required areas of the application was highly attractive. It was a natural choice, thanks to its reliability, flexibility and overall best-in-class quality,” says Wolfgang.
He designed and installed a system comprising six single 12” CRS12GT/90 reference surround speakers, 10 RR12 point-source 12” array modules and nine VR12 versatile single 12” monitors. Four BC543 triple 18” cardioid subwoofers and a pair of 15” BF151 mkII compact subwoofers complete the line-up. Nine Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers were used to provide the system with 36 channels of drive and control.
“The opportunity to mix with a centre cluster and six surround speakers in a live environment drives the creativity of any sound engineer,” smiles sound technician Stefan Miglioranza.
“This was the first time we used the CRS12GT/90 surround speakers for the sound design of a venue used for live as well as cinema sound,” adds Wolfgang. “As well as reproducing playback sound like movie soundtracks in exceptional detail, these highly flexible speakers allow sound technicians to have complete creative freedom when mixing high quality live sound. Reverberation and special effects can be effortlessly integrated into live sound.”
A suspended acoustic ceiling and 15 custom-built FRPA membrane absorbers (handmade by Pro Performance) were installed into the 8.5 x 12.5 x 17.5m event space to manage the acoustics.
Meanwhile another perspective is offered by renowned music and culture journalist Reinhold Giovanett, who added “With this system, it doesn't matter if you're standing in the first or back row. The quality of the sound is the same”
“I am very impressed with the accuracy of the sound reproduction from the Alcons pro-ribbon solution, no matter what the volume is,” says Hannes. His thoughts are echoed by venue sound technician Paul Kofler, who says: “The stereo imaging is so detailed that, when I close my eyes, I can almost see the music.”
photos: Tiberio Sorvillo and Samuel Holzner
21st January 2021
More Chroma-Q Color Force IIs Take to the Stage at Östgötateatern
Sweden – Sweden’s largest regional theatre, Östgötateatern has further invested in Chroma-Q’s award-winning Color Force IITM Cyc, Wash and Effects LED battens.
Welcoming around 100,000 visitors a year across their two beautiful theatre buildings and smaller venues, Östgötateatern offers a wide range of theatre, from classic Swedish tales to modern international plays. With Color Force II in demand for a number of its performances the company has expanded their stock to 26 units to enable the fixtures to be used on multiple stages and performances at the same time.
Linn Persson, lighting designer at Östgötateatern commented: “We first purchased Color Force II back in 2018, and they have since become a staple fixture for a number of performances taking place in our theatres. We have been very impressed with their performance, which meets our requirements for a good, strong cyc light perfectly. Our backdrops are often seven metres or higher, and with Chroma-Q’s Color Force II we can light many metres high without loss of intensity higher up on the wall.”
As soon as the pandemic situation allows, Östgötateatern will re-open their theatre buildings. Two upcoming plays that are planned for their big stages are: the classic adventure Peer Gynt and the Swedish premiere of the comical Finnish play, Expedition Kyla. Now with additional stock of the units, Color Force II will be used on both of these performances taking place at the same time.
Linn continued: “Color Force II is a great fixture. It is smooth, bright and colourful cyc light. I can’t wait to find other ways to use them now we have more."
The fixtures were supplied by Chroma-Q’s European distributor, A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET).
“Although AC-ET are based in the UK and we are based in Sweden, working with them has been a good experience. Their team are friendly and helpful and I know they are always happy to help with any questions we have,” concluded Linn.
21st January 2021
PMC Brings Extra Clarity to Eddie Serafica’s Productions
UK – Grammy Award-winning producer and writer Eddie Serafica (pictured) is enjoying the sound of the PMC twotwo.6 monitors that he recently installed in his London-based project studio.
“When I decided to replace my old monitors, I did a lot of research and heard great things about twotwo6’s,” he explains. “I demoed them for a couple of weeks and absolutely loved them. They have great clarity and really amazing, tight and accurate low end.”
As a recording and mix engineer, Eddie Serafica has worked on numerous high profile projects including James Bay's Electric Light, Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate, and Buddy Guy’s The Blues is Alive and Well, which won Best Traditional Blues Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards. He works mainly ‘in the box’ and his production room in Hornsey is equipped with keyboards, synths, guitars and a 500 series rack incorporating Chandler TG2s and Camden Audio Pres, a Urei 1176 Blue Stripe clone and two UAD Apollos.
“Since installing the monitors, I’ve been getting very good results, with sounds translating really well,” he says. “The monitors have significantly sped up my workflow and made my life a lot simpler.”
Serafica’s monitors were supplied by KMR Audio and are currently being used across a range of projects for artists such as Loski, Popcaan, Fredo, Hamzaa, Tom Grennan, Joy Crookes and Mimi Webb.
21st January 2021
Brompton Technology helps Pixomondo push the boundaries of Virtual Production
Canada – With its network of studios spanning the world, from the United States to Europe and Asia, Pixomondo (“PXO”) has cemented its global reputation as an industry leading VFX house. The company has worked on award-winning TV productions such as Raised By Wolves, Perry Mason, Westworld, Carnival Row, Star Trek: Discovery, and The Umbrella Academy, as well as co-produced and provided the VFX for Roland Emmerich's feature film, Midway, and is now working on the film maker's upcoming Moonfall. Other film credits include Wonder Woman, The Fast and the Furious franchise and the December 2020 release of the Gerard Butler film, Greenland. PXO has just finished building one of the world’s largest Virtual Production (VP) studios in Toronto, with Brompton Technology as part of the network of valued tech partners that PXO has teamed up with on the new facility.
“Beyond the prerequisites for a LED processor geared towards Virtual Production, Brompton has shown that it is heavily invested in innovation with a strong focus on quality, which perfectly aligns with Pixomondo's own values,” says Josh Kerekes, virtual production supervisor at PXO.
Kerekes explains that VP has been on PXO’s radar for quite some time. “Having been fortunate enough to be part of projects involving virtual production in the past couple of years, Pixomondo got an early insight into this rapidly changing industry. Moving a traditional pipeline into real-time can be challenging, but thanks to key partners such as Brompton, it has been a smooth and natural extension of our business,” he adds.
With PXO’s flagship facility in Toronto aiming to be one of the first studios in the world to use Brompton HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology on a large scale, Kerekes and the PXO team are thrilled to be at the forefront of this new chapter and, together with Brompton, plan to push the technology as far as they can.
“We are tremendously excited with our new state-of-the-art virtual production facility in Toronto, which has just been completed. The team at Brompton has been instrumental in our success thus far, offering a wealth of knowledge from technical to logistical support,” Kerekes notes. “PXO has many ambitions for this space. The technology behind virtual production is developing at a rapid pace, and Brompton is not only able to keep up by continuously bettering its products, it also maintains backwards compatibility, which is equally important for us.”
“With Virtual Production ushering in a new era in film and television production, we are very excited to be partnering up with award-winning VFX house Pixomondo on their latest facility in Toronto that fully integrates Brompton HDR into their VP workflows,” concludes Brompton’s virtual production specialist, Adam Callaway. “HDR technology offers much larger contrast ratios and colour gamuts that closely mimic what we see in real world, with this pioneering technology set to become a mainstay of future film, television, and commercial-making.”
20th January 2021
Sky high install for Void Acoustics in downtown Tel Aviv
Israel – Inner city regeneration and urban renewal frequently features multi-purpose venues alongside living apartments and offices serving the needs of the local population, business visitors and international tourists.
Hagag Group is one of Israel’s leading real-estate developers and has recently completed the construction and installation of a multi-purpose venue as part of a prestigious new inner city urban renewal project in Tel Aviv.
At the heart of this high-end complex is ‘Pop and Pope’, a restaurant, bar and event space. The venue operators harbour the aspiration of elevating Tel Aviv as a hub for excellence in cuisine combined with the most modern and inspiring of atmospheres and spaces. Naturally the desire to provide a high calibre environment for guests and diners includes the provision of state-of-the-art audio.
To achieve this, Hagag Group has worked in conjunction with audio specialist Kahane Group to supply an aesthetically pleasing and high quality sounding Void Acoustics installation for this prestigious complex located in the heart of Tel Aviv’s CBD.
Kahane Group has worked alongside Hagag Group on previous occasions, primarily on high-end domestic properties focused on installing innovative smart home solutions. However, this is the first big audio project they have undertaken for Hagag in a commercial setting, and was a new and dynamic challenge for the teams.
Pop and Pope occupies 2,200square metres of space across the 14th floor of Ha’arbaa Towers in the centre of Tel Aviv. With panoramic views across the city, it provides unparalleled high class, sky high hospitality for the residents of, and tourists to the city. The brief was to execute an audio installation reflecting the high calibre nature of the venue.
The venue opted for Void’s signature Air Series loudspeakers in their trademark red, highlighting them as futuristic features around the space. As a result, the audio specification includes a distributed system providing not only aesthetically pleasing fixtures but an exceptionally high-power output with a non-fatiguing sonic signature. The Airten, Airmotion, Air 8 and Venu 215 loudspeakers all feature and are supported by Bias Q2 amplifiers.
EMEA sales manager for Void Acoustics, Josh Pearce was delighted to support Kahane Group with the project. “The Kahane team are highly skilled and professional with great industry knowledge and experience. They have a wide network of contacts in the region and are very much the type of business partners we at Void like to work with.”
Audio consultant Alon Laski manages all major projects for the Kahane Group and enjoys an excellent working relationship with Void Acoustics. “The design aesthetics of Void’s products ooze luxury and ‘newness’ so made them the perfect products to install into Pop and Pope” explains Alon. “The venue layout provided some challenges and we had to be careful to position the fixtures to ensure smooth and even coverage of audio particularly for the dance area.”
The events space offers an adaptable space for a plethora of events including product launches, publicity events, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and any other type of private event and so the audio installation needed to be multi-functional and adaptable. “We worked collaboratively with Alon and his team on the ground from the initial specification through to the installation to ensure the system was fit-for-purpose and could address all possible requirements,” continues Josh.
The new venue opened to much public and media acclaim last summer and enjoyed being fully booked in late summer 2020, between Israel’s pandemic lockdowns. However, with further pandemic spikes the venue is closed once more and there is currently no date confirmed for the reopening of the restaurant and entertainment venue.
“The venue concept for Pop and Pope was born against the background of a global trend of opening entertainment and culinary centres at the heart of prestigious office towers in major cities around the world” comments Yossi Shema, CEO of Pop and Pope Restaurant. “An integral part of creating an atmosphere is acoustics, sound quality and of course the music that is played. I am confident we have achieved all of this in all senses through the installation of a complete Void Acoustics system which contributes to the overall experience for our guests,” he smiles. “We really couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Void’s Josh is encouraged about the potential in the region. “There is massive potential in this region, and once the pandemic is under control, I am certain we have given ourselves the very best chance of succeeding being represented by the team at Kahane. We look forward to nurturing this relationship into the future with our hospitality, residential and touring series.”
15th January 2021
South Windsor High School Impresses with “Mighty” Audio System Powered by Renkus-Heinz
USA – South Windsor High School, the home of the Bobcats in South Windsor, Connecticut, recently updated its 660-seat theatre on campus with a pro audio system that ensures every performance roars with crystal clear audio. And at the heart of the system are solutions from Renkus-Heinz.
“The previous audio system in the facility had very little directionality in the vertical plane which caused intelligibility issues,” said Bobby Kuhl, president and senior audio engineer at KJR Engineering, the audio consultant on the project. “If you hit a snare drum on stage it came back to you just as loud. It wasn’t pretty. Further, there was a challenging mounting environment around the stage. We really only had a few specific areas where we could install the loudspeakers.”
Kuhl said those challenges led him to Renkus-Heinz, a brand that he says: “Sounds great in any environment.
“When you have a problematic logistical environment for mounting, and problematic room acoustics, you know Renkus-Heinz is going to get the job done while sounding amazing,” Kuhl said. “And that’s what we got as a result. It sounds absolutely sensational in there now.”
The installation includes two Renkus-Heinz ICLive XL modules in arrays on both sides of the stage to cover the majority of the space. Two Renkus-Heinz ICLX118S subwoofers are installed in a central flown position above the stage in a cardioid end-fire arrangement, minimising the energy of the subs on stage while still providing deep and powerful sub-bass to the rest of the room.
Both the ICLive XL and ICLX118S are part of the ICLive X Series from Renkus-Heinz. The series is the culmination of more than a decade of experience in steerable line arrays and the latest evolution of the medium-format, steerable line array in the Renkus-Heinz line. The ICLive X offers all the benefits of Renkus-Heinz steerable technology, allowing for sound to be digitally positioned precisely where you want it: on the audience.
Three Renkus-Heinz CX62 two-way Complex Conic loudspeakers are also installed to provide complete coverage in the front few rows of the theatre. Complex Conic constant directivity waveguide design is another proprietary, cutting-edge Renkus-Heinz innovation that ensures consistent coverage across a space.
The system uses Audinate’s Dante for audio-over-IP connectivity throughout the space and connects to a QSC Q-SYS Core 110F for audio distribution, as well as both AV-over-IP native and third-party control over the entire system. A QSC CXD4.5Q amplifier powers the CX62 front fills.
Jereme Martineau, director of choral studies and theatre management at South Windsor High School, said the space will be used for many events, from meetings where speech intelligibility will be key to impressive musical performances.
“I can’t wait for students to return so we can hear actual performances in here,” Martineau said. “My competition level show choir is 50 students who are singing and dancing with professional lighting and a live rock band. This system is going to bring that event to another level. I am still amazed we got this level of quality and coverage from just a few speakers.”
Kuhl said he has confidence the system will perform in every situation thanks to Renkus-Heinz’ cutting-edge technology and the hands-on support provided by the company.
“Joe Fustolo from Renkus-Heinz came out to commission the system specifically for the space and when he was done the sound was just astonishing,” Kuhl said. “Everyone who hears this system is super impressed.”
Don Gamsjager, president of DNR Laboratories, the integrator of the system, agreed with Kuhl on all accounts.
“The support from Renkus-Heinz really is second to none,” he said. “This isn’t like what you see with other manufacturers where they just ship you product. Renkus-Heinz is there to support you every step of the way. And the result is symphonic. I am blown away by the SPL of the PA, the coverage and the actual dynamic range. Every seat receives the same performance. It’s a rich, warm sound that is both impressive and mighty from a small cabinet. I know we will be specifying these in more projects going forward.”
14th January 2021
THIS IS HOLLAND Flies Audiences Across The Netherlands with Alcons Audio
The Netherlands – Officially opened in February 2018, THIS IS HOLLAND was the first panoramic flight simulator in the Benelux countries, costing €18 million to develop and build. However, it quickly became obvious that the original audio system was not delivering the desired high quality, dynamic sound. An Alcons Audio pro-ribbon system was specified by Leisure Expert Group, transforming the experience as audiences are ‘flown’ at low level over many of the Netherlands’ best-known landmarks.
The 24m / 78.7ft. tall cylindrical pavilion is based on the shape of an oil drum, reflecting its location at the former Shell petroleum company site at Overhoeksplein in Amsterdam. The experience combines imagery taken from a very low-flying helicopter, filmed with special permission from the Dutch authorities, taking visitors on a nine-minute virtual flight over Dutch landscapes, cities and heritage, including the bulb-growing region, Schiphol airport, the Dutch coast, the canals of Amsterdam, Rotterdam port, castles, other historic buildings, natural features and more. It features a unique soundtrack, along with moving audience seating and physical effects like smells and water sprays.
Leisure Expert Group worked with Brogent Technologies and technical installer Pro-Vision AV, whose Martijn van Weert says: “The aim was to deliver the best experience, giving visitors a real 'wow factor' and making sure they enjoy the dynamic soundtrack, which features special effects and orchestral music that range from very quiet to very loud. And, of course, the audio system had to be concealed invisibly behind the aluminium dome construction.”
“The challenge was the relatively small space in which the speakers had to be mounted and that they had to hang behind an aluminium perforated screen,” adds Kevin Mohr, senior technical designer at Leisure Expert Group, who led the project to replace the audio system. “This screen blocks a lot of sound, especially in the high frequencies, so we needed a transducer that could compensate for the screen and still reproduce those frequencies at their required dynamic levels, without distortion.”
With the originally-chosen system lacking the impact necessary to fully complement the rest of the experience, This Is Holland was recently refitted with an Alcons Audio pro-ribbon system, comprising 11 CRS12 large format 12” reference surround and 14 CR1 ultra-compact 12” screen systems, suspended behind the perforated screen in a surround configuration with three layers of front speakers in high, mid and low positions.
Four Alcons double 18” CB362 high-output, full-size subwoofers were added as low frequency extensions to help visitors really feel the experience, with the system powered and controlled by eight Sentinel3 and one Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
With the new system, the soundtrack was re-worked by its original creator Dennis Slot, remixing and adding further effects. The musical score was written by composer René Merkelbach.
“The Alcons pro-ribbon driver delivers the necessary power and clarity for the high frequencies, plus the system has great full-range sound reproduction, all in compact housings. In addition, the Sentinel amplified loudspeaker controllers compensate for the long speaker cables and deliver seamless control and communication with the speakers and pro-ribbon drivers,” says Martijn.
“René really summed up the benefits of the system, saying that he could now hear instruments that he had never heard here, only in his studio. Furthermore, visitor reactions have shown that the sound now comes across much better, giving them a sense that they are really ‘in’ the film.”
Joost van der Wereld, Technical Manager at THIS IS HOLLAND adds: “The combination of an immense dome screen, the movements of the attraction supported with special effects and a flawless audio system makes it feel like you are flying like a bird over the Netherlands. The audio effects range from very small position bound effects to full space-filling orchestral parts. The Alcons system has been found to be extremely suitable for this, because of the powerful pro-ribbon drivers that produce a pure sound at high power.”
14th January 2021
Martin Audio CDD for Italy’s Famous North-East Covo Nightclub
Italy – Martin Audio’s ever-popular CDD loudspeaker series, has found another high-profile home, this time on the Italian Riviera in Santa Margherita Ligure at the famous Il Covo Di Nord-Est nightclub.
The venue features both indoor and outdoor spaces: the main bar is located in the former, while the dance floor and sofas, arranged differently every night, can be found outside. The main DJ area hosts local artists as well as more well-known names in the music industry, and it is here that the ultra-compact two-way CDD loudspeaker solution was specified.
The upgrade had been the result of a storm back in 2018 which had necessitated a complete venue rebuild, including the new audio system, which will now take on new challenges, both indoors and out.
Venue owners, Stefano Rosina and Matteo Canepa (from Mito srl) considered several tenders before choosing Vibra Service of Albenga (SV) to undertake the work. The company had previous experience working at Il Covo back in 2018 and the collaboration proved so successful that it was an easy decision for the client to back this successful formula.
Vibra Service, in turn, chose CDD series for its ultra-performance, with owner Stefano Lo Sardo, stating that he considered it to be the best option in terms of quality-price ratio. The weather resistance of the ‘WR’ version provided an added bonus.
“Many speakers are sold watertight or IP65-rated, but then after a while they tend to deteriorate,” he observed. “However, the build quality of CDD is very high and the customer was confident of its durability over time. In addition, I have already been working with this series for a couple of years and so far I have never had a problem.
“I also knew the dispersion would guarantee even coverage throughout the entire venue, particularly in the main guest seating area around the centre,” continued Stefano. Furthermore, he was confident that with this system sound leakage to the neighbouring buildings could be avoided. “In this instance I have prioritised sound clarity and uniform coverage above seeking a high SPL,” he said.
The sound system design itself comprises four ultra-compact CDD5B, with a pair of SX110B subwoofers and six CDD10B for the interior. They have maintained continuity with CDD in the outside area, with a pair of CDD10B-WR weatherised speakers and four SX112B subs. This will comfortably reproduce background music for entertainment, during the day, and dinner shows with slightly more forceful volume in the evening.
And so the impressive legacy of this eminent place, which oozes elegance and class, looks set to be maintained. Originally a house set in the rocks overlooking the sea, built at the beginning of the 20th century as a private home, it only became a public place in 1934. Names such as Brigitte Bardot and Roger Vadim, Jane Fonda, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, the Platters, Gloria Gaynor and Gigi Rizzi have all passed through the venue over the years.
In conclusion, Stefano Lo Sardo said: “The customer is extremely satisfied with the new sound system, so much so that he is now considering replacing the PA in the downstairs area with Martin Audio.”
14th January 2021
GB4D designs complex BroaMan network for new Toulouse Conference Centre
France – An Optocore/BroaMan fibre network is at the heart of the new MEETT Toulouse Exhibition & Conference Centre. The third largest facility in France (outside Paris) it boasts a 40,000m2 modular exhibition hall, a main street that opens into an outdoor multi-purpose area of 25,000m2, and has been constructed on a 155,000m2 site.
The installation was carried out by Optocore’s long-term French partner GB4D, in close collaboration with the scenography company Ducks Scèno. Gilles Bouvard’s GB4D team worked alongside Grégory Aldéa, head of audiovisual projects at Ducks Scéno, on behalf of the MEETT consortium, Toulouse Métropole and GL Events.
GB4D was able to meet the Consortium’s specification for a fibre network that would transmit sound, video, lighting and IT, overcoming many engineering challenges in the process. “We conducted a study of possible future equipment, both upstream and downstream of our network, as during the development phase we were not aware of the audio-visual equipment that would be installed; therefore we made a possible hypothesis based purely on the plans.”
MEETT itself is divided in three parallel bands, based around a row of modular exhibition halls. In its complete form the space is massive: 500m long and 80 to 100m wide. The separate convention centre and multi-function event hall are split by a reception area and multi-storey car park. With such distances involved the choice of a fibre network to transport all video, audio and data signals was obvious.
The Convention Centre’s 12 modular rooms are all equipped with fibre optics, along with a large hall, in which another convention room can accommodate around 3,500 people (seated), while a second room can host exhibitions or other needs. At its maximum, the Convention Hall can hold around 7,000-8,000 people, showing the advantage of modularity.
Fibre optic points are stationed throughout the Convention Centre, and each modular meeting room is equipped with three quad fibre connection points.
For the management of these 12 rooms, a Seminar Rooms node has been equipped with a BroaMan Route66 Video Router (40 in / 40 out), where 26/26 connect via CWDM multiplexer to fibre stageboxes in specific rooms, while 14 /14 allow fibre video connections between routers in seminar rooms node and convention room.
Gilles Bouvard explains the rationale: “The CWDM video makes it possible to have two video in and two video out per modular room. The 14 optical strand-to-strand video streams allows full duplex in / out with the convention room node.”
The fibre points are cabled on single-mode quad fibres, dispatched to the router by a WDM frame. The latter is supplied from a manual fibre patch which allows connection of 13 COM ports (combined main connections which carry all signals on a duplex fibre) to the router on the 39 available connection points (three per room).
In the Convention Room, network distribution is via 24 quad fibre connection points.
In the room node a BroaMan Route66 Video Router (38 in / 38 out) provides 24in / 24out CWDM video for fibre stageboxes and the 14 full duplex in / out SDI fibre video share streams with the seminar rooms node, with a WDM frame facilitating various connection points.
Each node is additionally equipped with an Optocore AutoRouter15 for the seminar rooms and an Optocore AutoRouter10 for the Convention Hall to complete the Optocore loop.
In order to function in all the different spaces, ten mobile racks have each been plugged with a BroaMan Mux22-IVT/MADI 4 SDI in / 4 SDI out, with four MADI fibre ports for audio and Optocore X6R-TP-8MI/8LO (two ports of 16AES, four DMX RS422 port, LAN Base 10/100). Each rack can be connected by a quad fibre to any connection point in the building.
The Optocore and BroaMan backbones for fibre routing were necessary to avoid latency issues, according to Bouvard. “This fantastic system allows you to have any audio control surface in the network. Given its complexity, I challenge anyone to set up an Ethernet-based or IP network as easy and fast as ours to operate, without having to be a computer scientist!”
Sound reinforcement is an L Acoustics KARA system, while the installed mixing consoles are Soundcraft Vi1000s with MADI cards. All sound consoles can be connected to the network and most can control the 80 available Optocore preamps directly from the desk.
Upon completion, the GB4D team, Gilles Bouvard and François Lund, undertook a thorough installation check, and provided full user training and installation monitoring.
In conclusion, Bouvard says: “The challenge today is to provide solutions to satisfy all user demands and transport different IP and Ethernet-based protocols. Five years ago it was complicated, but thanks to BroaMan we now have the tools. Together we develop devices to easily transport and route data streams carrying different protocols, with no bandwidth limit.”
13th January 2021
Bølgen Kulturhus installs power and versatility with Adamson E-Series
Norway – Bølgen Kulturhus is a truly multi-purpose, multi-use venue that welcomes thousands of patrons annually for concerts, cinema, and theatre presentations, as well as conferences and events of all descriptions. With the recent installation of an Adamson Systems Engineering E-Series PA in its main hall, 'Storsalen', Bølgen has extended its already substantial capabilities to present the wide variety of programming it offers and the diverse range of events it hosts.
Previously, Norwegian distributor Benum provided Bølgen with Adamson rigs for the venue’s other two, smaller performance/event spaces: eight IS10, four IS119 subs, four PC5, and two D120 amplifiers in ‘Sanden Scene’; and eight S7, two IS119 and two D120 for ‘Blåboksen’.
In the Storshalen space, Benum has now installed a system comprised of 20 E12 (flown ten per side), six E219 subs and four S7p loudspeakers for lip and infills, all powered by D-Series amplifiers by Lab Gruppen (eight D120 amplifiers for the E12, two D200s for the E219 and one D80 for the S7p). Additionally, a Lake LM44 is deployed at FOH to create a fully redundant digital network with all audio distribution handled via Dante and a dedicated analogue backup.
Benum, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, has been representing Adamson Systems Engineering exclusively in Norway since 2015, and in Sweden since 2017. Adamson’s growth in the market has been substantial, says sales manager Kenneth Vadset: “We got a flying start with an S-Series installation at the Olavshallen concert hall in Trondheim in 2016, which was the first Adamson installation we did, and from there word spread, so we've since gone into many cultural houses and theatres."
As is the case with many of his colleagues at Benum, Vadset is a touring audio engineer and, based on his own experiences on the road, believes that any incoming act will be more than happy with the E-Series system. “I’ve toured a lot and mixed in many Norwegian cultural houses, including Bølgen and many other venues. Frankly, some didn’t have the quality or the size of systems we needed, so we would always carry our own rig to supplement or replace the house system. That won’t happen at Bølgen."
The implementation of Adamson’s products throughout all the main performance spaces provides Bølgen with consistent audio infrastructure that will make it easy for the venue to reconfigure the systems as needed for virtually any application. “Adamson is a well-known, respected, and widely used brand throughout Norway and elsewhere in Europe,” Vadset puts in, “and they’ve become a big player in both touring audio and performance installations. To be able to offer both in the same venue is a huge benefit."
The venue’s technical team agrees.
“By using Adamson across all of our stages, it gives us the same audio signature throughout the entire house,” says Bølgen's house technical manager, Dagfinn Apelland.
Flexibility, functionality, and fluidity are integral to Bølgen’s day-to-day operations in general, but nowhere more so than in Storsalen. And although Apelland wanted the same pristine performance Adamson provided in the other spaces, for the main room he specified a more powerful, larger format system that offered excellent coverage and fidelity, whatever the application it is used for at any given time.
Those applications range widely, from film screenings to corporate/community events to heavy metal shows and everything in between. To serve that multi-purpose mandate the room itself is designed to be reconfigured to suit the needs of the event and the audience in equal measure on a per-show basis. In one scenario the stage area is at surface level, with sloped seating rising from the edge of the performance area to the rear of the room. In another, roughly half of the seats can be retracted and stored under the rear upper seating, creating room for a stage to be constructed and a ‘standing room’ audience area.
Consequently, there are two sub configurations. For a ‘flat’ stage, three E219 are flown in a cardioid configuration above the centre of the stage area. When a raised stage is brought in, however, all six may be used, ground-stacked three per side in cardioid configurations.
The result is a great sounding room regardless of the seating or stage layout. Ultimately, having multiple tiers of Adamson loudspeakers available throughout the venue (touring and fixed install products alike) dramatically enhances the flexibility of the venue overall. Being able to meet all their needs with one loudspeaker manufacturer’s products is a definite plus for the venue, the audiences attending any type of event or performance there, and the performers themselves.
“The feedback from people that have used the Adamson systems at Bølgen, the E12 system especially, is fantastic," Vadset sums up. “Almost everybody has said Bølgen is the best sounding cultural house in Norway.”
12th January 2021
Martin Audio ADORNS Heimathafen Events Space at Goldbäckerei Grote
Germany – For more then 100 years, Goldbäckerei Grote has been serving its customers in the Sauerland region. In addition to 17 cafés and bakeries, the fourth generation of the family business has now also opened a gastronomy location directly on the shores of Lake Sorpe (Sundern). For the first time, an all-day concept has been introduced, where customers are provided with hot and cold dishes, cocktails and regional specialities. The upper floor is designed as an event area.
The company Event Active from Schmallenberg was commissioned to equip this space with the appropriate audio-visual technology. Managing director Noel Büchte stated: "Goldbäckerei Grote wanted to offer a high-quality event location with its ‘Heimathafen’ [events space]. Therefore, we planned the technology so that the products could be perfectly integrated and deliver an excellent performance.”
Martin Audio loudspeakers were used exclusively for the entire project. Stated Noel Büchte: "Martin Audio's portfolio offers many solutions for the installation sector, so we were able to use several product lines: weatherproof outdoor loudspeakers, budget-oriented background speakers and high-quality ceiling speakers, all available in high or low impedance versions.”
Almost 50 loudspeakers from the ADORN, Ceiling and CDD series have been integrated unobtrusively into the room design. But the loudspeakers also have another advantage. "Since we were integrating a complex audio matrix, we naturally also needed the matching loudspeaker presets for this. Unlike some other manufacturers, Martin Audio is very transparent, the preset data of the installed loudspeakers can simply be downloaded from the home page and integrated into the DSP used,” explains Büchte.
The event service provider from Schmallenberg has already gained plenty of experience with Martin Audio products. In addition to their own rental equipment, many projects have been realised with Martin Audio solutions in the past. "Martin Audio's portfolio offers a wide range of loudspeakers and peripherals, and there is a suitable solution for every sound reinforcement task,” states Noel Büchte in conclusion. “We also work very closely with [Martin Audio German distributors] Audio-Technica GmbH. This means that projects can be planned and implemented very flexibly.”
12th January 2021
Producer Brings Audient’s ‘British Sound’ to New Studio in India
India – Describing himself as a ‘recording purist’, music producer and composer Varun Krrishna is very impressed by his new Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition. “This console is the best decision I’ve made in my career,” he says, having recently installed it in his new Mondosonic Studios in Kerala, India.
The result of five years’ hard work, Varun’s recording space is inspired by his experience in London. As a student of Advanced Music Production, he fell in love with what he calls ‘the British sound’ back in 2014. “I used to go to many studios whilst I was studying,” he explains. “I found out that even though there is a digital revolution going on, the analogue domain still has that sound that is missing in plug-ins. I know it’s subjective, but analogue has worked way better for me in my production workflows.”
So, when kitting out his new studio, the first item on his shopping list was an analogue console. “As I use very coloured analogue outboard, I wanted a clean, yet punchy sounding console with great routing options. That’s how I landed on Audient.” Enter ASP8024-HE with 36 channels, patchbay and DLC, supplied by Tanseer at The Inventory.
Despite a full demo at The Bridge Studios, London: “I had a great time exploring the features; the sound was huge, wide and smooth,” he enthused, he still manages to find more to appreciate about his console as he works with it. “These preamps are phenomenal. I have many outboard preamps with different colours, but I’m more fond of using the console’s built-in preamps. It feels great when I can do things all within the range of the console.” He continues, “Activating the built-in Retro-Iron, the subtle harmonics take my mixes to another level. I am also really blown away by the low noise floor of the console.”
For Varun, recording is the most important part of production. “I spend more time recording than mixing and mastering,” he says. “Without an incredible recording, I feel songs just lose their soul. That’s why I got myself an analogue desk, so that I can get that very detailed recording in an intuitive way.” It helps that he enjoys the process, too. “I use microphones as a tool for natural EQ. By trying out various mic positions, I can get the sound I am looking for without using much EQ post recording. It’s an art of exploring and learning, and the most fun part!”
Varun utilises the in-line architecture of the desk to start mixing whilst he’s tracking, which helps give him an idea of how it will end up in the final stages of song production. The Dual Layer Control (DLC) is earning its keep, too. “I can switch between the DAW control and analogue automation so easily and I can patch anything into the DLC.” Currently developing his own in-house record label, having this level of control throughout the production process is proving invaluable.
With a bunch of productions releasing soon including some interesting international projects, Varun looks to the future with optimism.
11th January 2021
Gregers Takes Control with AHM-64
Norway – An Allen & Heath AHM-64 matrix processor provides the backbone for a recently completed audio makeover at Gregers, a bustling multi-purpose venue in Hamar, Norway.
Occupying a former fire station in the centre of Hamar, Gregers is famed as a 400-capacity live music destination, hosting some 100 concerts each year. By day the venue caters for everything from seminars and meetings to full corporate events, requiring a high degree of flexibility. Recognising the need to upgrade its audio system to accommodate both the expectations of visiting sound engineers and the ever-changing day-to-day needs of its own team, Gregers turned to Benum Norway for a contemporary solution.
Benum Norway’s Daniel Glaister took the lead on the project and quickly identified the new Allen & Heath AHM-64 as the ideal audio distribution hub for all the venue’s audio. Taking full advantage of the ecosystem surrounding AHM-64, Gregers’ staff have several tiers of control to employ, starting from the one-knob IP1 wallplate for simple level control and source selection in different zones. Benum Norway also tailored A&H’s Custom Control app to give different users the right level of control from their smartphones, tablets and laptops. For smaller live events, an IP8 remote controller offers easy, hands-on mixing in an ultra-compact format.
“The system practically runs itself; the team have the tools they need to comfortably handle everything from background music upwards,” Daniel reflects. “The leap in audio quality is also instantly noticeable. There is masses of headroom and great coverage right throughout the venue. Gregers is now a fully equipped, modern cultural venue, which is exactly the outcome they set out to achieve.”
Visiting sound engineers will be pleased to find an industry standard dLive system for mixing live bands, comprising a C3500 surface and a CDM64 MixRack onstage. The AHM-64 allows Gregers to safely and easily accommodate touring artists who choose to bring their own consoles. Benum Norway also supplied a full Adamson PA and Lab Gruppen amplifiers, with all systems connected via Dante.
8th January 2021
Haywards Heath College reopens Hub Theatre after Stage Electrics £100,000 project installation
UK – The Hub Theatre, at Haywards Heath College, is to reopen after Stage Electrics announced that it had completed the contract for the design, supply and installation of specialist production lighting, sound and video projection systems, valued at just under £100,000.
The closure of the venue back in 2016 saw all the previous working theatrical control systems removed and the latest contract ensures that the systems now installed have future-proofed the facility to ensure that the students have the best possible experience to facilitate their future steps into the world of theatrical work.
With a deadline focusing on an early Autumn opening, a quick turn-around was required, with work starting on site in September, just three weeks after the contract was awarded, and completed six weeks later. With work commencing during student inductions, a safe COVID working environment was also created and maintained throughout.
The project included a vast array of new equipment and systems to transform a disused space back into a working theatre. An RCF Acustica PA system was selected for the main auditorium with a Midas mixing console along with a selection of Sennheiser wired and wireless microphones. An ETC element lighting console was selected to control a selection of ETC S4 Profiles and ColorSource Pars. Prolyte staging and Doughty rigging accessories were utilised to give the space flexibility for future productions. Throughout the venue new custom patch panels and Altair wired communications units have been installed, along with paging and show relay systems. A Dante enabled audio system covers the main auditorium.
Alongside the main theatre installations, the project also included the provision of a new Panasonic projection system and RCF PA system into the Dance Studio and two additional RCF PA systems into two smaller studios on site.
8th January 2021
Zero 88 FLX for YouTube Studios
UK – Projects Department Ltd (PDL) specified and installed two Zero 88 FLX lighting control consoles, four SCD Servers and a ZerOS Wing for YouTube’s Space London facility in the lively Kings Cross area of the capital.
Projects Department, led by Peter Daffern, is an independent company specialising in a wide range of technical services for assorted entertainment lighting industry sectors including broadcast, and is well known for its adaptable and lateral thinking approach.
The three main studios at Space London are available for YouTube’s top creators and influencers (those with 10,000+ subscribers to their channels) to use for content creation and other related endeavours, offering a vibrant community, an imaginative workspace and well-equipped environment to encourage the production of more high-quality material.
When they needed a multi-functional lighting control package for the studios, PDL was contacted by broadcast consultant David Errock and initially taken on to offer production lighting expertise to the YouTube design team. This included Chris Lock, then YouTube’s engineering lead and his number two, David Livett.
The solution had to be slick and aesthetically pleasing as well as simply working efficiently, so getting a satisfactory end-result involved a degree of bespoke engineering including custom designed hoists for the larger studios.
For lighting control, they wanted to be able to run lighting in each studio space independently from within that studio as well as from a central control room.
Peter worked closely with Zero 88’s international sales manager Tyler Holpin on the specification and design of a practical system with intuitive control and all the required functionality for the busy studios.
Having utilised Zero 88 products on several previous projects, Peter had every confidence that it was again the right choice for Space London.
The manufacturer is based in Cwmbran, Wales and known for its powerful and user-friendly control, data and power ranges.
“We knew Zero 88 would give us all the flexibility needed for this project,” says Peter explaining that the final lighting control system was developed over a period of months in discussion with the YouTube team.
“FLX consoles offer a great selection of features at a very affordable price,” stated Peter adding that for their medium-sized TV studio projects, four DMX universes are usually plenty, so with the FLX / SCD Server able to handle 16 universes, there is plenty of headroom.
“Zero 88’s compact design also makes it appealing as control room desk space is prime real estate!” he elucidated.
PDL has used the FLX console since it was first launched in 2015 including at Fana Broadcast in Ethiopia; for Star Sports, in Mumbai, India; for the Gibraltar Broadcasting Company’s recently completed new studios in Gibraltar and at Chatham House, London for the Royal Institute of International Affairs and many more.
They have also specified the smaller consoles including the Level 6, FLX S24 and FLX S48 etc, all of which have been extremely successful.
“I really like the Zero 88 brand; it’s cost-effective, stylish and reliable,” confirmed Peter.
It was Tyler who first suggested the SCD Servers as a solution because each studio space does not have its own control room. Instead, there is a wall-mounted touch screen connected to the SCD servers sitting in the basement server room.
This basically gives those utilising the studios – even if they have no specialist lighting experience – the ability to select different pre-set lighting looks and set-ups via the touch screen interface, all of which will work for their shoot or broadcast.
For those with more advanced lighting knowledge and whose projects need more complex lighting, a second ‘floating’ FLX console can be hooked into any individual studio lighting system and automatically take over the control in that space.
And, for those with the most exacting lighting production requirements, the central control room’s permanent FLX plus a ZerOS Wing can take over and run lighting in any of the three spaces.
This is all achieved using a single streamingACN (sACN) network running throughout the entire building, which is split into virtual local area networks (VLANs). It was important that the lighting network coexisted alongside this, and that it didn’t impact the performance of any other system in the building.
For special events, pop-ups, etc., the mobile FLX can also be moved into other places around the building like the foyer and assorted public spaces.
Furthermore, each studio has multiple options for the lighting. It can be controlled by the touch screens, via Zero 88’s app on a tablet or smartphone, by the floating FLX or the central control room’s FLX, or by any third party lighting console if productions wanted to bring in their own console.
Projects Department’s overall contract included two parts, initially they worked for the fit-out contractor, ISG, and installed the hoists, trussing and lighting grids, then the control system was part of a second contract via DB Broadcast.
Peter concluded: "This was a great project for us to see through and we enjoyed overcoming the different challenges creatively. Working alongside companies like Zero 88 allowed us to collaborate and find the most suitable professional equipment to meet the needs of YouTube content creators."
photos: Projects Department Ltd
7th January 2021
The Belonging Co. sets new standards for quality with its latest LED wall driven by Brompton processing
USA – The Belonging Co. (TBCo) is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing and most culture-shaping churches in the USA, its congregation has increased from just seven at its outset to many thousands in only six years. Along with weekly worship services, the church also includes a worship collective comprising a number of well-known Nashville-based artists who call the church home, an annual conference, and even a college. With such a strong reputation for the quality of its live services, TBCo has always prioritised excellent live production that amplifies its mission and DNA to create an experience where people can connect with God without distraction. With a recent video system installation by integrator Diversified, in partnership with THOR AV, developer of LED video walls and headset microphones, TBCo now has a beautiful LED video wall to match, driven by Brompton Technology’s Tessera S8 LED processor.
TBCo has lots of experience with LED wall products from multiple manufacturers and of various quality levels, but when it was time to develop the look and feel of its new facility, it was determined that a large LED canvas would be a critical, central component of the visual brand in the new space. Each week, the church’s online broadcasts increase their reach exponentially beyond the in-person gatherings, making the on-camera performance of the LED wall especially critical and existing products in its inventory would not meet the performance expectations of the new space.
Thanks to Diversified’s previous experiences partnering with THOR AV for LED installations for other churches with similar values and priorities, the project team went down an intentional path to consider THOR’s EDGE 3.4 LED panels for the new facility. “Our teams collaborated closely with the client and manufacturer on the design of the stage, placement of the LED wall and its relationship to artists on stage and camera positions, as well as associated sight lines throughout the space,” says Tim Corder, director of strategic accounts – house of worship for Diversified. “Brompton processing was a critical component from the beginning because of the benefits the Tessera platform brings in both picture quality and panel calibration over competitors.”
Members of the church’s production staff flew to THOR’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota to meet with the product team, see the product in person ahead of the installation, and test their cameras with the actual panels that would be installed in their room in combination with Brompton’s processors. To ensure that the best result could be achieved, everyone spent a considerable amount of time confirming that the cameras, lenses, and focal points all worked seamlessly together to create visually stunning content.
“We had a great time, good conversation, and were able to answer remaining questions,” says THOR AV’s director of sales and marketing, Luke Vettel. “The Tessera S8 processor was the preferred choice for this project because the client didn’t need the fibre distribution associated with the SX40. They simply wanted to be able to put all their Cat cables in their rack, plug it in and be good to go. The S8 fits the best price point for this functionality.”
The new video wall has already proven its worth and is a central part of the stage design for the weekly services and live broadcasts from TBCo’s new facility.
“Our primary goal from a worship and production standpoint, is to eliminate distraction for people to encounter a real and living God,” shares TBCo’s executive creative pastor, Sean Loche. “In order to do that, you need a product that only adds to the overall system, without taking away from the reason why we are gathering, to worship Christ. That is precisely why we chose our system. THOR and Brompton stood out in both excellence and quality. The system is powerful enough to create big moments when you need it, but does not sacrifice in the quality needed for the subtle moments. We have been thrilled with the versatility of this technology implemented into our services.”
One of the primary values driving partnerships such as the one between Diversified and THOR AV is to maximise the investment clients make in LED video technology so that they can communicate their message with excellence.
“Every church we partner with only has one shot to get their space right,” says Corder. “There is so much at stake and so many decisions to be made. It is wonderful to know manufacturers such as THOR and Brompton have our backs with products featuring extremely high performance, flawless service and support, but also excellent value. The ROI is exceptional.”
“With the Tessera S8 processor, we can help our clients create a visual experience so lifelike and real, the audience is truly captivated with the message,” concludes Vettel. “We never tire of saying that ‘every component matters.’ That is why having a solution in place we can trust, and that our customers can fully rely on for making their on-camera performances excel every time, is invaluable to us. We are excited to have Brompton Technology as our partner. They offer world-class service and product quality, and continue to be the thought leader in LED processing.
photo: Ashley Mae Wright
7th January 2021
Pärnu Concert Hall Chooses Robe
Estonia – Pärnu Concert Hall in Estonia’s fourth-largest city is internationally renowned for its performance programme and has just taken delivery of new Robe moving light fixtures: eight T1 Profiles, six Tetra2 LED battens and four LEDWash 800s, which have been supplied through Tallinn-based Estonian distributor, E&T.
The striking modernist Concert Hall building constructed in 2002 and designed by architects K. Koov, K. Nõmm, H. Grossscmidth, offers two flexible halls – a main hall and a chamber hall – and a diverse concert schedule including, in normal times, a prestigious line-up of visiting artists. It is also home to the Pärnu Music School and the Pärnu City Orchestra as well as hosting special events, civic celebrations, etc. in this seaside resort in south-west Estonia.
Ave Martin is the head of lighting. She graduated from the Viljandi Culture Academy in 2003 having studied theatre lighting design and has been working at Pärnu Concert Hall for about 12 years, where she is also the resident lighting designer.
The lighting rig upgrade had been planned for the early part of the year but was delayed until autumn due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They specifically needed versatile, silent running and flexible fixtures that would also save energy, so the T1 series, which is designed especially for theatre, was a perfect choice for Ave and the venue.
Ave lights many of the shows herself.“The main hall needed some new, modern and high-quality lighting fixtures.As we stage so many different shows and events, this latest Robe technology is adaptable and perfect for our performances,” she stated.
Low noise fixtures are generally a ‘must’ for concert halls observes E&T’s Olev Luhaäär, especially during recordings, broadcasts and streamed shows. Colour temperatures and whites are also vitally important for TV cameras, and fixtures also offering several cool and fun effects were also essential in this case, both for telecasts and children's events, etc.
Ave is already familiar with Robe products as the venue has had LEDWash 600s and 800s for the last five or so years, and because E&T keeps her updated as to the latest technology being released by Robe. “I am delighted with Robe generally,” she says, “the lights meet all my expectations and more.”
She was also happy to choose Robe products because of the excellent service from E&T who she says: “Work very hard to keep customers happy, are always at the end of the phone and are very supportive.”
The Concert Hall’s main stage has been open in recent months during the pandemic for socially distanced performances, mainly with Estonian artists, which has kept crew and staff people working and assisted greatly with everyone’s morale.
photos: Ave Martin, Parnu Concert Hall
5th January 2021
Integrated Harman sound system upgrade for St Giles medieval parish church, Wrexham
UK – The Parish church of St Giles’ in Wrexham, North Wales, a Grade one listed building, is considered one of the finest examples of a medieval parish church in Wales. Built mainly between the end of the 15th and early part of the 16th Century the church annually welcomes around 33,000 visitors through its doors.
Unfortunately, the performance of the sound system longer met the church’s needs and in 2017 the Parochial church council engaged Richard King Systems to provide a scheme for improving the audio facilities.
With over 30 years’ experience of sound system design in places of worship RKS turned to the Harman Professional product portfolio, distributed in the UK by Sound Technology Ltd. Harman’s JBL range of passive CBT column loudspeakers were considered the best-in-class solution in terms of both sound performance and discrete appearance. At the opposite end of the audio chain Harman’s AKG microphones were specified, together with dbx ZonePro signal processing and Crown DCi DriveCore Install Series amplification.
With the support of Sound Technology, including its pro audio application team, Richard King Systems installed a complete demonstration system at the church for evaluation purposes. The vast improvement in the sound reproduction was widely acknowledged and led to the church council approving the proposed scheme.
Following the necessary building works consent the installed equipment comprises a pair of JBL CBT70J column speaker in the Main Nave, plus three JBL CBT50 column speakers to act as delay infill in the Nave and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers North Chapel. A Crown DCi2/600 powers the CBT70J loudspeakers.
In terms of microphones, three AKG WMS470 UHF wireless systems were specified, including an antenna distribution system. Two systems are equipped with AKG C417L lapel microphones and one with an AKG C5 handheld microphone. An AKG CK49 + GN15M gooseneck mic system was also specified for the lectern.
A dbx ZonePro 1261M is used to EQ the system, configure the delays and allow for scene changes, whilst a dbx ZC4 wall controller allows simple switching of those scenes.
The original Soundcraft Spirit Live 3-2 has been retained together with some auxiliary amplification.
The system also included the fabrication of bespoke loudspeaker bracketry with no new masonry holes being drilled.
Following completion, Reverend Dr Jason Bray, vicar, commented: “The natural acoustic of the fine mediaeval Parish Church of St Giles has been significantly enhanced by the system installed by Richard King Systems, allowing us also the flexibility to isolate various parts of the building for particular purposes, extending their use for meetings and events as well as for the prime purpose of worship."
4th January 2021
Lakewood Baptist Church Advances Monitoring with KLANG:fabrik
USA – Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville, Georgia has purchased two KLANG:fabrik immersive IEM mixing systems for use in its main worship sanctuary. The units were acquired through Production/Co, the Chestnut Mountain, GA-based AV systems integrator, which also installed the system earlier this year, readying it for when the church resumed live capacity-limited and socially distanced services last June. Together, the KLANG:fabrik units provide a total of 32 inputs and 12 individual immersive IEM mixes for the church’s band members, connected through Lakewood’s existing DiGiCo SD9 FOH console.
“They had taken their existing in-ear monitoring solution as far as it could go, they needed a more flexible and sophisticated IEM solution, and the KLANG:fabrik was it,” says Cason Cleveland, owner of Production/Co. KLANG:fabrik is “flexible” thanks to its broad compatibility with widely used audio interfaces, including MADI and Dante, and the ability to use the KLANG:app on any device (iOS, Android, Windows or Mac), or control KLANG by using the DiGiCo integration into SD-Range and Quantum consoles. And “sophisticated” because of the immersive environment that up to 16 individual musicians can create for themselves on stage via each KLANG:fabrik’s high-performance processors, all without any noticeable latency.
“The ability for the musicians on stage to completely control their own mixes was important, because the church often relies on volunteers to mix services,” adds Cleveland. “Each musician having their own app onstage means that monitoring is one less thing the front of house mixer has to worry about, allowing them to focus on making the house sound as good as it can be.”
Cleveland says the SD9’s own intrinsic routing flexibility was of assistance here: he was able to assign a feed from the inputs from the stage to the KLANG units through the console, connected via MADI, giving the stage every input needed to create local mixes. “We just copied the input assignments internally on the SD9 and assigned that to the KLANG:fabrik units, it was that simple,” he explains. “It was also very helpful that we could set the KLANG units up as completely separate systems from the rest of the audio system. As a result, we can apply processing such as EQ individually, as well.”
Lakewood Baptist Church technical director Coltyn Cooley agrees with those points and adds some of this own. “With the KLANG system, we more than doubled our monitoring channel count and as a result we’re able to give everyone on stage the ability to build complete mixes in their ears,” he says, referring to the eight to ten musicians who perform for each service. “For instance, the drummer now has individual channels for kick, snare and other instruments, whereas before we could only give him a submix. Now each vocal has its own mix; before, we used to have to gang up the vocals. Then put the immersive technology on top of that and they are having their minds blown on stage. They love it!”
Cooley, who was introduced to the possibility of KLANG by Cleveland and who was sold on it after reading numerous case studies online, adds that the KLANG:fabrik has literally given the church musicians a new perspective on themselves. “We know it sounds good out here, but now they can hear just how good it sounds on stage,” he says.
Cleveland says the church’s musicians, worship pastors, and audio team have all been impressed by KLANG:fabrik’s performance. “The ability it gives them to spread out the mix and have better defined and detailed sound on stage means individual instruments don’t have to be as loud, which keeps overall volume better under control, another way KLANG:fabrik makes the front-of-house engineer’s job easier and also preserves the musicians’ hearing,” he says.
And there’s also a substantial economic case to be made for the KLANG:fabrik, Cleveland adds: “It is a bit more expensive than some other, less-sophisticated systems on the market, but when you factor in that it completely eliminates the need for a second console for monitors and someone to run it, it actually ends up saving money. Those are some pretty compelling arguments.”
4th January 2021
A Christmas trail with Showtec and Infinity
UK – Knowsley Safari Park, just outside of Liverpool lets visitors see cheeky baboons, prides of lions and much more. This year the company organised Enchanted, a foot safari which will come alive as the sun sets. Visitors can enjoy the safari after dark as the whole path is lit with magical lights which guides you through the enchanted trail.
Stage Management Company installed the lights for this enchanted trail. For this they used Showtec Spectral M800 Q4 IP65 spots, which is excellent for outdoor use. Additionally they used Showtec Cameleon flood and Showtec Cameleon bar 24/3, both very powerful fixtures. The Showtec Festoon string was used as well, which has a length of 15 metres with 20 pixels. Each pixel can be controlled individually with the dedicated Festoon controller. To complete the setting they used the Infinity iW-1915 fixtures, where LEDs are divided into five controllable sections allowing for rich colour flows and creative patterns. Controlling all these fixtures were eight Showtec TR-512 DMX trigger/recorders, a very compact and powerful tool to trigger any light show or scene in a simple way.
The Enchanted trail will brighten the evenings with festive music, good food and beautifully illuminated animals.
4th January 2021
DiGiCo S21 Puts Pinka in the Pink
USA – The new Pinka Expressive Arts Space in the northern Orlando suburb of Apopka has something for just about everyone. During the day, the nearly 5,000-square-foot creative space offers art, music, and theatrical instruction for students of all ages, while in the evening, the 183-capacity room transforms itself into an intimate live performance venue with a well-equipped stage and wine and beer selection. To ensure that Pinka would be an attractive draw for local, regional, and even national musicians, Owner Brittany Harvey invested in a professional-grade sound system driven by a new S21 digital mixing desk from DiGiCo.
To assist with the console choice, Harvey turned to Kevin Glendinning, an old friend that heads up artist relations for JH Audio. As the monitor engineer for A-list performers like Lenny Kravitz and Maroon 5, Glendinning has long been a fan of the large-format DiGiCo SD7, so another DiGiCo, albeit a smaller model to appropriately suit the new venue, was his immediate recommendation.
“Pinka is a really cool art and performance space with great aesthetics, and they needed an intuitive and powerful mixer with a compact footprint that could flexibly accommodate a diverse array of acts,” says Glendinning. “Britt has done a great job of hosting everything from jazz quintets and singer-songwriters to karaoke and open-mic nights; there’s a really eclectic vibe happening there and DiGiCo’s S21 perfectly fits the bill. It’s a breeze to use. Anyone who has spent any time whatsoever on a digital surface will fly right through it, in a good way. And like any other DiGiCo, you can completely customize it and make it your own.”
Sergio Leenen of Orlando-based Complete Production Resources (CPR) facilitated the installation and set-up of the console, along with a pair of JBL VRX mains and subs, plus three self-powered DAS monitor wedges on stage. “The S21 provides more than enough IEM and wedge mixes for any act coming in,” Glendinning adds. “Also, having everything integrated into a single frame (all of the I/O, PSU, processing and so on) allows the S21 to deliver a ton of versatility from a small and very budget-friendly package.”
Wendell Rivera Diaz, who serves as Pinka’s resident audio engineer, notes that he too, appreciates the amenities of the new console. "I’m thankful to be working in such a nice venue like Pinka with the flexibility of the DiGiCo S21,” he says. “I am easily able to accommodate the artists with anything they need, from monitoring options to multitrack recordings that they can leave with, and I’m always happy working with DiGiCo products."
For those acts that bring in their own engineers, the S21 is also a welcome sight. “The initial reaction from everyone coming in is, ‘OMG, you have a DiGiCo board in this space? How cool?'!” Harvey shares. “Every band and engineer has raved about the equipment that we have, and I totally ‘get it.’ Having been around DiGiCo consoles for many years, I was really excited to open up Pinka with one of their products running our stage from the start. It’s an honour to have an S21 in our space.”
4th January 2021
Proteus Maximus creates ‘Ladder of Light’ for firefighter memorial
USA – A moving memorial to firefighters at Firemen's Memorial Park in Naperville, Illinois, is receiving praise from both the artist community and general public alike as a uniquely elegant work of art. Created by local artist Paul Kuhn in partnership with Dark Moon Designs and Intelligent Lighting Creations, the memorial depicts a firefighter climbing a 'Ladder of Light' and was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of a crash that killed three Naperville firefighters. It also memorialises another firefighter from the same department who died of a heart attack in the line of duty.
The statue stands as a fitting tribute to firefighters who have died in performing their duties but also pays tribute to all firefighters who risk their lives every day. At night, the sculpture appears as if the firefighter is climbing a ladder made of two beams of light coming from two in-ground Elation Proteus Maximus LED profile luminaires.
Paul Kuhn of Twelve Limbs Art Studio, a metal artist and the main sculptor on the memorial, partnered with Dark Moon Designs to facilitate and design the lighting of the project. Besides designing the lighting system, the art fabrication firm constructed the entire chassis that surrounds the system with assistance from Twelve Limbs Art Studio.
“Paul Kuhn was the mastermind behind the memorial,” says Dark Moon Designs’ Natalia Janusz who heads the company along with Paul Thomas. “He had the idea of the two beams but didn't know how to execute it and that's why he brought us in.” The project was focused on more than the lighting system however, but also on how it was encased and could function in a permanent environment. Dark Moon Designs consequently brought in Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC) to help with gear and power solutions so Dark Moon could focus on physical elements like the chassis, portholes, ventilation, etc.
Two lighting fixtures were required for the project along with a control system and power distribution while the fabrication side required a ventilation system, access hatch, chassis structure, porthole design and execution. Janusz says the challenges were many with the first and biggest being to find an appropriate light for the project. “Right in the beginning, we knew we needed something bright,” she states. “We played with the idea of integrating an atmospheric system and having that run constantly, but knowing Chicago weather we knew that would just be an open can of worms from the start. We chose to then put our cards on something incredibly bright so that atmospherics were not needed. The other obstacle was finding a light that can provide an incredibly tight beam to fit the Ladder vertical supports.”
The design team initially looked at Elation’s arc-source Proteus Hybrid but eliminated it in favour of an LED source option. “As a company, we truly strive to make things as efficient and stand-alone as possible. As we moved forward we knew an LED source would be phenomenal to have, it needed to be IP rated (even though the chassis is watertight) for our own security, and the lights needed to be intense enough to be seen without atmospherics.” She adds that heat dissipation was also important and was one of their top focuses throughout the project.
The designer says that Scott Hosford from ILC suggested the Proteus Maximus for the project. “It was coming through their shop to go on another show and it hit him that this might be the light we needed, Janusz relates. “Using an LED fixture saved us a potential lamp change two or three times a year and the lower power consumption was a plus too. We had 120V readily available and with the Maximus being LED, it was easy to integrate them.”
The Proteus Maximus’s 50K lumens of output was essential in creating the two powerful beams of light that form the rails of the ladder yet the fixture’s framing shutters and 5.5° to 55° zoom were also key components. “We actually shuttered in the beam to carve out a rectangle similar to a firefighter ladder which is crazy to see in person as you walk around,” Janusz says. “It cleans up the beam super well and creates a ‘doorway’ on the clouds when the cloud ceiling is low enough. We knew the Maximus would be bright, but when we saw it in person for the first time outside, wow!”
An important obstacle to overcome was ensuring that the size of the chassis below ground – a 10' diameter circle – was large enough to room the fixtures. Worried that the lights would hit each other and the chassis if they recalibrated, the space was made big enough to allow them to calibrate with a few inches to spare on each side. The lights were set on custom-built rolling carts and keyed into a locked position so they cannot move but can be unlocked if need be. Creating a chassis underground to permanently house two large LED lights was no small task, according to Janusz, who thanks Intelligent Lighting Creations for helping to achieve the vision. Another important step she mentions was ensuring that the porthole exit points were safe, secure, and strong. “We had to fabricate them from scratch, pulling materials from all different sources and 3D printing parts to make it all work.”
Another challenge was the focusing of the lights. Janusz explains: “We drafted scenarios on Fusion 360 software and confirmed that it could work, but we were focusing pretty much ‘live.’ The chassis has a basic drafting we went off of, but everything else was fabricated as we pushed forward. The portholes married off the one solid number the entire team could work off of, and that was that the 'Ladder' was at a 62-degree angle. So everything was truly built around that. And luckily, the first focus which was about a week before the reveal was hugely successful!”
Janusz calls the process with Twelve Limbs an “organic flow” yet says everything was coordinated to a specific timeline. The Dark Moon Designs team came in three weeks before the reveal to fabricate the chassis and tie up loose ends on the statue with Paul Kuhn. Flooring and the moving light carts were put in before placing the two fixtures in the ground. The statue then had to be set on top of the chassis and welded.
“It was our most challenging project to date. It’s a project that needed brand new, cutting-edge technology and would not have been possible a year ago. The Maximus seemed to be the only fixture for the job,” the designer says before summing up, “We are super proud of the memorial and feel it is truly groundbreaking as far as what permanent sculptures can be. We have unlimited gratitude to the Fire Department of Naperville for being open to such a groundbreaking memorial.”
Janusz commends Luke Salvesen as a huge supporting artist on the Twelve Limbs Art Studio side as well as Tom Kuhn. Scott Hosford and Scott Falbe of ILC helped iron out system details, she states, while Michael Kelly from ILC was the control system programmer on the project.
4th January 2021
L-Acoustics Hangs Out at the Floridian Social Club
USA – If you live in St. Petersburg, Florida, then you know the Floridian. The 8,600-square-foot building began life in the 1920s as a bank, then was transformed into a cinema, and later a concert hall known as the State Theater before being shuttered in 2018. Designed in the neo-classical architecture style – arched doorways, Greek columns, ornate carvings – the venue has stood the test of time. Now, purchased by St. Pete native and entrepreneur Kevin Chadwick, who oversaw an estimated $1 million-plus renovation that he described as ‘a passion project,’ it’s become the Floridian Social Club, a lounge, concert venue, and event space in the heart of the city’s downtown Central Avenue entertainment district.
What will certainly help future-proof the Floridian is an L-Acoustics Kara PA system, installed by local integrator ESI Production Services. The new loudspeaker setup comprises two hangs of nine Kara boxes per side and a single flown ARCS Focus centrefill speaker, collectively powered by three LA8 amplified controllers, and three LA12X-driven KS28 subs installed under the stage of the venue’s 800-seat main theatre. Two more LA12X are used to power eight X12 wedge monitors, with one SB18 sub integrated into the system and dedicated to drum kits.
All that stands between the venue’s history as the State Theater and its new incarnation as the Floridian Social Club is the abatement of the COVID pandemic. “When the time comes, which Kevin expects will be in January and properly socially distanced, the Kara will be ready and waiting,” says ESI Production Services president Erick Celeiro.
Celeiro also specified the system, installed by colleague Conrad Andrews and calibrated by L-Acoustics application engineer Vic Wagner. “Kara is the perfect solution for this project,” Celeiro notes, citing the enclosure’s light weight and compact form factor. “It sounds fantastic, and it will be able to handle any type of music they can bring in. But, equally important for a landmark building like this, aesthetic concerns were critical. An enormous amount of money was invested to make the venue look great. The PA had to be able to deliver a real punch without being visibly obvious. Kara does just that, delivering unexpected punch for its size.”
He adds that Kara’s light weight also addresses any issues around rigging in a 100-year-old building. “I consulted an authority on rigging in older buildings and he confirmed that the ceiling could easily withstand nine Kara per side thanks to how light the box is,” Celeiro says. “But above any other factor, Kara was chosen for how it sounds. It’s able to provide excellent fidelity and coverage for the entire room and was ultimately chosen for its performance.”
Chadwick, who says he feels fortunate that the Floridian’s renovation period coincided with the pandemic’s shutdown, agrees that sound quality was the over-riding consideration in choosing the L-Acoustics system. “The concerts and events that will take place here will range from A to Z, from country to rap, so the sound system has to be able to handle any kind of genre,” he says. “We know Kara can do that because it’s the first choice of so many great musicians. We understand that a venue’s sound system plays a role in attracting artists, and we’re glad that ESI recommended it. In fact, L-Acoustics’ reputation as a leading, ‘rider-friendly’ sound system was a prime consideration in our decision.
“Everyone is looking forward to when we can all hear live music again,” he continues. “And we feel that we’ve created an environment for performers and audiences here that no other venue of our size, in this market, can offer. And Kara has a lot to do with that.”
4th January 2021
Guildhall School of Music & Drama expands production and performance capabilities with Solid State Logic and multi-site AoIP infrastructure
UK - The Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and production artists situated in the heart of the City of London. Ranked as one of the top ten performing arts institutions in the world (QS World University Rankings 2020), the School is a global leader of creative and professional practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with over 1,000 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world.
It’s one of those establishments where, despite its age – the school was 140 years old in 2020 – it’s not surprising to find cutting edge equipment such as the award winning digital broadcast System T platform and the last analogue ORIGIN studio console in place and working in unison. What is perhaps surprising is the sheer degree to which they are being driven: “We’ve got 72 live broadcasts taking place between now and the end of year,” comments the School’s head of recording and audio visual, Julian Hepple speaking in mid-October and to find a state of the art Dante network threading all of the School’s performance rooms together with the System T S300 console sitting at its heart.
“We have two main campus buildings that are directly across the road from each other and within the school there are six large state of the art performance spaces built six and seven years ago: a concert hall, theatre, studio theatre, Music Hall, opera theatre and so on,” explains Hepple. “System T gives us access and lines from each one of those performance venues and 24 classrooms as well. We've got a big Dante network that sits alongside a big NDI video network as well, to allow us to pull in and out of any room we want to and push anything anywhere, as well as do big multi-channel records and all that kind of stuff.
“As a result at the start of term we were able to deliver the country's first full scale, socially distanced Symphony Orchestra, with 94 musicians in four different rooms, linked together by System T, who can all see a conductor on-screen via the NDI video network, as well as a multi-view of all the other rooms. I think we’re the only people doing that.”
Hepple jokes that the School has effectively turned into a video production company, but also points out that it has managed remarkable things in the teeth of a global pandemic that has shuttered many institutions around it. That includes running its Gold Medal competition, which didn’t stop for either World War and counts the likes of Sir Bryn Terfel, Tasmin Little and Jaqueline DuPré among its previous winners. And a lot of that is down to its System T installation and the way that it has helped the School navigate the problems that the need for social distancing can cause.
The School shut earlier than most at the start of the year which gave it an early insight of what it would need to do.
“That’s when the initial plan for the project came about and part of the reason I got the funding for the project was because I said I think we can still have the Gold Medal this year and we can use this technology to keep going though pretty much everything,” says Hepple.
Hepple is a two-time Grammy nominated producer / engineer, and through his wealth of contacts pulled together what effectively amounts to a DIY installation of the new system. Liam Halpin from Datasound Consulting put in the Dante, Guildhall engineer Sam Ziajka was responsible for networking, and the project was managed by Dylan Bate Project Management. It was a two day install by SSL followed by a further two days of training, and the team has been doing two gigs a day since the start of September.
“We hit the ground running and we were off,” he says.
The full kit list that went into the school over those truncated few months is headlined by its 32-fader S300 console supported by a T25 Tempest Engine, and, in terms of IO boxes, a “bunch” in Hepple’s words of SB 32.24s, an A 16.D16, and an A32 stagebox that sits in front of an analogue SSL ORIGIN console used primarily for jazz recordings and which sites it on the Dante network. “And then we've probably got 70 or so non-SSL Dante devices that sit on there too,” Hepple says. “All our little classrooms have little rack mixers in them basically with a Dante card in the back. And we've got a whole bunch of two channel in / two out Dante little no-tricks boxes that we can go and throw in a room.
“The ORIGIN allows me to teach students in a totally analogue workflow in there, so I can teach them proper gain structure and signal flow and all that kind of stuff,” he continues. “So in one building we have this absolutely glorious SSL analogue environment. And in the other building, we've got this equally glorious SSL digital set-up. And the link between the two of them is just brilliant for us; it’s just really flexible.”
That flexibility has been the key to some of the School’s achievements in the past few months, with one of the biggest impacts being made by the TeamViewer application on the S300 and the way it enables remote working.
“On the S300 I can sit and mix gigs from home,” says Hepple. “I've got a member of staff that's currently having to self-isolate, so they’re prepping all the show files and putting them on there. With a combination of wider access Dante networks, the S300 and a couple of streaming plug-ins, we can do stuff from anywhere, it’s absolutely brilliant. We had a big band gig last night and I mixed the audio from my home and one of my engineers vision mixed from his home. That’s fantastic.”
The socially distanced orchestra that has been set up at the school is a bit of a marvel of logistics that has been enabled by some very clever technology. Fifty-four socially distanced strings sit in one room, with brass and percussion in another room, a 13-piece woodwind section in another (sitting three metres apart rather than the usual two due to the particulates that the players exhale), and so on.
“Our low latency network has allowed for meaningful large ensemble performance to continue, a vital part of our students development here at the school. We love it,” comments Jonathon Vaughan, vice-principal and director of music
The key to managing a nigh-on 100-piece orchestra spread across numerous rooms is managing latency on the Dante fibre network that is threaded throughout the school’s buildings.
“I can get anywhere on site to anywhere else on site in six milliseconds audio wise, which is quicker than the real world,” says Hepple. “ If I am a conductor and I am ten metres away from a trombone player at the back of the room, there’s a 30 milliseconds lag between them. If I put a close mic on that trombone player, I can get the sound in the headphones of the conductor before it would have got there in real time. And because the audio is so quick, that allows me to catch up on the video side of things. The video side runs at about 100 milliseconds latency, so you just have to do some common sense things to accommodate that. I don’t have the conductor in the same physical space as any of the instrumentalists for instance, so we are never fighting against the real world speed of light for a conductor's downbeat; everyone’s getting the video at the exact same time.”
Overall the result is a tightly integrated and flexible audio production system that has enabled the School to function whatever has been thrown at it. And for young musicians that is vital.
“It is brilliant it is for us to be able to integrate the ORIGIN with the System T via that A32 box, because being able to do our broadcast work from an analogue console is brilliant,” says Hepple. “And as a teaching tool for the students, it's brilliant. As well as all the multi-room stuff, the fact that we can just send stems of anything to a Mac lab, or to a specific student who's recording using an orchestra; they just open Logic and I’ve already mapped the inputs out through the virtual tie lines, they just log in and there are their stems. Everything is self-serving. I can do three things at once now because it is all flowing and it’s like night and day in terms of what we can deliver to the students in terms of digital and blended learning.”
Plus, of course, there is the fact that he can swiftly switch between large scale jobs like that and other ones, managing them all through the S300. And now that every room in the campus is essentially a live room, that flexibility is key as the console jumps between different projects.
“We’ve learnt how to do the live orchestra now. At the moment I’ve got that event parked a few layers down on the S300, someone else is mixing a gig routed to another master output on top of it, and I'm remoted in from home. It's like having six consoles.”
18th December 2020
Alcons Pro-Ribbon Systems are in a Class of Their Own
USA – Greater Atlanta Christian School (GACS) is a PK-12 Christian school in Norcross, Georgia serving over 1,600 students. The school is a faith-infused, academically rich community, ranked at the top of the state for teaching quality, arts and athletics. Since it was first established over 50 years ago, GACS has earned itself a reputation for utilising advanced technologies in its quest to further the learning needs of its students. This dedication to providing high quality creative and technical facilities to support its arts and media curriculum, has led the school to invest in three state-of-the-art Alcons Audio pro-ribbon sound reinforcement systems for its venues.
The first of the three spaces to be installed with an Alcons system was the Artusa Hall Performing Arts Center, a former chapel which the school repurposed into a performing arts venue. This included completely rebuilding the interior, adding a self-supporting timber framed balcony, and increasing the audience capacity from 700 to 950. A key requirement was to deliver the best technical facilities, but not to visually detract from the internal architecture. In a venue featuring highly reflective, polished wood surfaces and a glass balcony front, it was a perfect scenario for the Alcons LR7 pro-ribbon micro line-array.
“They wanted something that would deliver great sound for everything from solo classical recitals to drama, ballet, orchestra, choir and bands, including renting the venue to outside performers,” says Alex Fleming of Atlanta-based Lodestar Labs.
The Artusa Hall system comprised arrays of six LR7/90 (6.5”) micro line array modules and two LR7B single 12” bass modules per side, flown just in front of the proscenium arch. Two, floor mounted BC332 cardioid subwoofers (18” front / 15” rear) per side add extra low end where required. A single SR9 double 5” in-fill monitor provided front fill for the first few rows, and four 6.5” TS3 full range monitors provide the under-balcony fills. Two VR12i and two VR12iM mid-size versatile 12” monitors deliver high quality stage monitoring. The whole system is powered and controlled by four Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
“We first heard Alcons systems when demoing speakers for the Artusa Hall and we were blown away by the L-series boxes,” says GACS audio visual technician JD Cooper. “We immediately realised that the pro-ribbon systems are phenomenal. The accuracy and clarity is unmatched by traditional compression drivers.”
After hearing how the LR7 pro-ribbon system transformed the sound of the Artusa Hall, the technical team at GACS enthusiastically chose Alcons to replace existing, underperforming PAs in two more of its venues, the Clifton Jones Theater and the Long Forum.
The Clifton Jones Theater had similar requirements to the Artusa Hall including exceptional speech and music reproduction with very high gain before feedback, complemented by minimal visual impact.
The LR7 micro line array system was again the optimum solution, with five LR7/90 and one LR7B per side for the main system, plus a pair of 8” VR8 stage monitors, all powered and controlled by two Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
“Some of the unique features of the Alcons pro-ribbon systems are the fast transient response and significantly reduced distortion commonly associated with compression driver-based systems,” says Alex, “Together they deliver the most natural reproduction of music, effects and the human voice.”
The largest of the three spaces, the Long Forum is a 4,000-seat arena that also serves as auditorium for national touring acts, larger assemblies and athletic events. As is typical of these larger gym / auditoriums, there were a variety of significant design challenges including the highly reverberant space and multi-use requirement.
For the main left/right concert system, nine Alcons LR18 2x 8” mid-size line array modules per side were specified. Two VR12 mid-sized 12” versatile monitors were utilised in horizontal orientation for out-fills. The system is supplemented by four BC543 (triple 18” active cardioid) subwoofers.
“The Alcons subwoofer technology continuously delivers incredible impact, while also minimising over-exciting the acoustic space in areas where the audience isn’t present,” adds Alex. It is notable that the four Alcons subwoofers replaced sixteen dual 18-inch subwoofers by a different manufacturer and the four Alcons units delivered a cleaner sound and 10db more SPL, with more to spare if needed.
Also, in the Long Forum, an arena system was installed for basketball games and half-court assemblies. Utilising seven RR12 point source array modules, comprised of 6” pro-ribbon drivers and 12” woofers, deployed horizontally in three unique array clusters of two, three and two cabinets each.
The entire Long Forum system is powered and controlled by seven Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
For portable applications GACS added a pair of 8” VR8 compact versatile monitors. The VR8 is a 2-way ultra-compact multi-purpose loudspeaker that makes a powerful, flexible, and easy to deploy, compact portable system.
GACS audio visual technician Ben Chambless comments: “We are fortunate to have multiple Alcons systems on our campus. I’m blown away at the intelligibility and detail. The gain before feedback is exceptional. I’m amazed at how much sound can come out of speakers this size!”
His colleague JD Cooper agrees. “The diversity of the boxes is wonderful, as there is a perfect solution for almost any application,” he says. “My favorite thing about Alcons speakers is that people immediately notice how fantastic they sound. You don't have to explain the technology to them, they already understand that this is a different kind of speaker.”
In conclusion, Alex states: “Nothing in our experience is similar to the sonic excellence heard throughout the Alcons systems. The handling of sources as they move through the loudness curve is unmatched; vocals at high SPL are the cleanest, most natural we’ve ever heard. Directivity, feedback rejection, technology, ease of deployment and other factors are also industry leading.
“The customer really loves the Alcons pro-ribbon systems and has noticed superior results in all three venues, continues Alex. “Less EQ is needed to get excellent tone on each channel and little corrective EQ is needed to reduce feedback on even the most challenging of lavalier or headset mics. They have also said that the sonic width of the Alcons solutions are superior to all other speaker systems that have previously been used or auditioned in the spaces.”