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FROM THE EDITOR...
The leader is almost always the final thing I write for each issue and today’s comes from the train back up north from attending PLASA Show – and despite the unseasonable heat, it felt great to be back at a show after a minor summer lull in the calendar. This issue has been really fun to put together, and I’m thrilled by the Venue Report on Theatres and Concert Halls (page 20), which showcases a diverse variety of technological solutions used to improve these spaces – both for performers, venue staff and production teams, and the audience. Elsewhere in the issue, we feature an in-depth interview with the leadership team at Theory Audio Design & Pro Audio Technology after they launched Theory Professional into the commercial audio market at InfoComm (page 48)
I was delighted to be invited by Southby Productions to see the new Lilidorei children’s play experience where they designed and installed a mammoth outdoor immersive audio system to enhance the storytelling capabilities there. Read all about that on We also hear from L-Acoustics about the development of its Ambiance Acoustic System ( discussion with Clair Global Integration (page 114) on the key objectives behind integrating aspirational projects.
Enjoy the issue.
TODD STASZKO EDITOR
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9 CONTENTS | WWW.MONDODR.COM 10 GAME OF THRONES STUDIO TOUR Banbridge, Northern Ireland 12 TENPIN DUDLEY Birmingham, UK 14 JOURNEY New York City, USA 16 ABERCROMBIE HOTEL Sydney, Australia FOCUS 20 REPORT Theatres & Concert Halls 48 THE BIG INTERVIEW Paul Hales, Marc Bertrand and Erin Phillips, Theory Audio Design & Pro Audio Technology 56 P&J LIVE Aberdeen, UK 64 DUCK & WAFFLE Edinburgh, UK 68 LILIDOREI Alnwick, UK 76 LA MÔME, CAFE DE PARIS, LE NAUTIC BEACH French Riviera, France 84 PRIVILEGE Dubai, UAE 88 TRIO 2 Charlotte, USA 96 GILLEY’S Las Vegas, USA 100 JETWING LIGHTHOUSE HOTEL Phu Quoc, Vietnam BUSINESS 104 SHOW REPORT PLASA Show, London, UK 108 COMPANY PROFILE Listen Technologies 110 INSIDE VIEW L-Acoustics 114 IN DISCUSSION Clair Global Integration 118 IN DETAIL Prolight Concepts 120 PRODUCT GUIDE Lasers & Special Effects
IN THIS ISSUE...
Elation lights support epic storytelling at Game of Thrones Studio Tour
The fantasy world of HBO’s Game of Thrones has been brought to life at Game of Thrones Studio Tour in Northern Ireland, with over 1,000 Elation lights illuminating props, costumes and original sets from the hit series.
The global attraction, which opened in 2022 and is located at one of the series’ original filming locations at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, invites fans to step behind the scenes and discover the making of the celebrated show.
PSI Production, one of Ireland’s largest technical production and installation companies, coordinated the project, supplying and installing rigging, lighting, and special effects, including a plethora of different lighting fixtures with nearly 1,100 lights from Elation Professional. The fixtures used across the 110,000sq ft interactive indoor experience are 341 Colour 5 Profile, 658 SixPar 200, 48 Paladin Panel, 29 Paladin Brick, 14 Fuze Par Z120 IP, and six Fuze Par Z175.
The sale of the units to PSI took place through Elation’s exclusive distribution partner in the UK, Entedi, who offered product support and arranged for demo equipment.
The task of lighting design was managed by John Gallagher of Lumiere Productions, who liaised with exhibition designers, suppliers and other stakeholders to support the storytelling and ensure a cohesive and visually captivating atmosphere for the attraction. “With several hundred Elation lighting fixtures on the project, I was very impressed with both the consistent quality and reliability of the units across the range,” he concluded.
10 IN BRIEF - EMEA | WWW.MONDODR.COM
Striking Success for Optimal Audio at Tenpin Dudley
Tenpin Dudley is one of 51 entertainment centres in the UK run by Tenpin Ltd., and although the venue’s primary focus is on its 28 bowling lanes, additional facilities include a licensed bar, arcade machines, live sports TV coverage, soft play, pool tables, and two karaoke rooms which can accommodate up to ten customers each.
Seeking to improve the guest experience, Tenpin upgraded the audio system at the venue, and with the focus on improving control of the distributed background audio across its different zones, regular Tenpin supplier Perfect Octave recommended an Optimal Audio solution.
“I discovered Optimal Audio’s products having attended one of their open days not long after the brand launched,” said Peter Sheppard of Perfect Octave. “Obviously, the connection with Martin Audio as part of the Focusrite group was a good indication that this new commercial audio brand would be of a very high standard, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Optimal Audio Zone 8 controller was the perfect choice for the Dudley site.”
Optimal Audio’s Zone 8 with DSP and WebApp presents users with a full suite of audio controls for up to eight zones with fully flexible signal routing.
With two mic, four stereo line and two HDMI inputs, Zone 8 has all the necessary I/O to enable easy configuration and everyday operation, allowing the user to independently allocate sources across eight configurable zones. Each zone can be configured for precisely what is required using the intuitive WebApp, including EQs, speaker presets, structured time of day routines and more. Although the greater part of the system at Tenpin Dudley was already catered for in terms of loudspeakers, Perfect Octave recommended replacing the units in the karaoke rooms with Optimal Audio Cuboid 8 loudspeakers to improve the enjoyment of singers and listeners alike. Peter Sheppard commented: “The Cuboid speakers are conspicuous for how great they sound and look. They’ve significantly elevated the experience in the karaoke rooms at the venue, and we’re looking forward to using the IP54 rated Cuboid 3 and 5 units on future ventures.”
12 IN BRIEF - EMEA | WWW.MONDODR.COM
A Fog Shooter without CO2
VIOSO immerses diners in New York restaurant Journey
Journey is a new dining destination in New York City where VIOSO’s advanced auto-calibration technology is being used to whisk diners across the world without them ever leaving the table. The restaurant is divided into four experiences: Journey Lounge, Journey Epic Café, Journey Odyssey, and Journey 360, and the technology involved includes 37 ultra HD video projectors and 12 OLED screens with over 250 million pixels filling the various spaces. The star of the Journey experience is Journey 360, a private room that offers communal seating for up to 20 guests. Diners are surrounded on every wall with seamless projection, even contiguous along the 24-foot table (12,288 pixels), while 12 projectors fill the chamber but are hidden neatly within the ceiling. Using a VIOSO camera calibration system, all projectors are kept in perfect warp and blend for the life of the establishment.
“We didn’t want this to look like a mess of AV equipment so I was dead-set in hiding the projectors in light shades
and in the ceiling as much as I possibly could,” explained Jason McFerran of integrator Illuminating Magic.
The combination of a “cutting-edge video presentation with four channels of spatial audio to accompany your gastronomic adventure is what true immersion looks like – an unforgettable dining experience that caters to all five senses,” said Kevin Zevchik, US Director, VIOSO.
“Sustaining the 360° visuals is not only a feat from the content creation, but also a requirement from the VIOSO auto-calibration,” added Zevchik. “Given the nature of the buildings in New York City, it is nearly impossible to guarantee a perfect blend every day without autocal.”
Playback is also handled by VIOSO hardware, with an Anystation Media server, powered by IOversal Vertex, delivering the ultra-high-resolution visuals key to providing Journey 360’s sense of immersion. www.vioso.com
14 IN BRIEF - AMERICAS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
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Sydney’s Abercrombie reborn with world-first Powersoft Mezzo A+ install
The enhanced networking capabilities offered in Powersoft’s Mezzo A+ and Quattrocanali amplifiers are powering the recently re-opened Abercrombie Hotel in Sydney, Australia. The new AES67-enabled amplifier platforms, including the enhanced A+ versions of the halfsize Mezzo range, made their global debut at the hotel, which is housed in an art-deco building and was formerly the site of the Carlton United Brewery.
The inside of the hotel comprises three venues – a ground-floor club space, public bar and beer garden; late-night cocktail lounge and rooftop terrace Casa Rosa; and Lil Sis, a wine bar inspired by the caves à vin of Paris. Tasked with delivering a state-of-the-art AV system worthy of the Abercrombie’s multimillion-dollar redevelopment were Production Audio Video Technology (PAVT), and local system integrator BeyondAV.
Amplification is Powersoft throughout, comprising 16 Mezzo 604 A+ and 13 Quattrocanali 1204 DSP+ amplifiers, all AES67 compatible, as well as two high-performance X8s. The new A+ models are the latest additions to the Mezzo range, which offers the the same reliability, build quality and acoustic character of larger Powersoft amplifier platforms, but in a half-size form factor. A+ models offer all the remote control and monitoring functions of the A versions, but further extend their networking capabilities with AES67. The A+ range joins the Duecanali DSP+ and Quattrocanali DSP+ fixed-install amplifier platforms and the T Series touring amplifier in offering AES67 compatibility. These models are able to receive audio-overIP (AoIP) streams compliant with the AES67 standard, which allows high-performance streaming AoIP interoperability across different networking systems. Powersoft A+ and DSP+ models can receive AES67 streams natively by connecting the dedicated AoIP networking port to an AES67 network. www.powersoft.com
16 IN BRIEF - APAC | WWW.MONDODR.COM
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18 EXPO DIARY | WWW.MONDODR.COM
19 FOCUS | WWW.MONDODR.COM 20 REPORT Theatres & Concert Halls 48 THE BIG INTERVIEW Paul Hales, Marc Bertrand and Erin Phillips, Theory Audio Design & Pro Audio Technology 56 P&J LIVE Aberdeen, UK 64 DUCK & WAFFLE Edinburgh, UK 68 LILIDOREI Alnwick, UK 76 LA MÔME, CAFE DE PARIS, LE NAUTIC BEACH French Riviera, France 84 PRIVILEGE Dubai, UAE 88 TRIO 2 Charlotte, USA 96 GILLEY’S Las Vegas, USA 100 JETWING LIGHTHOUSE HOTEL Galle, Sri Lanka
THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS
Upgrades and enhancements in theatres and concert halls across the globe.
20 REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
Hungarian State Opera House
LOCATION: Budapest, Hungary
Inaugurated in 1883, the Hungarian State Opera House is a neo-Renaissance building located in central Budapest and is a cultural hub for both traditional and modern opera. As part of an overall renovation of the building, Budapestbased integrator Chromasound installed a full K-array loudspeaker solution across the auditorium and other key areas in the building – including the prestigious King’s Red Saloon – in line with the recommendations of sound system designer, Andor Fürjes.
“The use of loudspeaker systems in an opera house is controversial,” explained Fürjes.
“Some say it is useful, but only to support sound effects. Others say an opera hall is a great place to gather for any purpose and in that case, it should have a loudspeaker system like any other multipurpose venue, while people interested in monument protection will reject anything that might affect historic details or harm original structures.”
The system needed to be discreet, high-quality and win over those sceptical of allowing a loudspeaker system into a traditional opera hall. In a collaboration between Chromasound, Andor Fürjes and Hungarian distributor Audio Partner, a full K-array system of column loudspeakers, subwoofers and amplifiers was specified.
“In the past, I have had bad experiences with traditional column loudspeakers when trying to sound musical,” recalled Fürjes. “However, the first listening test of K-array products several years ago convinced me that it is possible to make full musical sound from even tiny-looking enclosures if done properly.”
The slim form factor of K-array’s column loudspeakers alongside its range of customisable finishes also made them a great fit for this project, as they could blend
seamlessly into the venue. “The National Opera House has quite narrow wall surfaces at the stage opening, so bulky loudspeaker enclosures were not an option for the architects,” continued Fürjes. “Also, the renovation aimed for a more direct off-the-pit response and less carpeted surface, so the orchestra pit was moved into the audience area by one or two rows, resulting in a significantly larger proscenium stage area. The larger proscenium stage area also meant more potential risk of feedback, if the loudspeakers were to be installed at the stage opening.” Through EASE modelling, Fürjes confirmed the viability of a K-array system leading to the installation of 18 Python and six Kobra line array loudspeakers, driven by Kommander amplifiers. Sub-bass is provided by the Thunder and Rumble series of subwoofers. Describing his design decisions, Fürjes explained: “The main loudspeakers were set to be as high as possible to provide more on-axis response from the stall seats up to the topmost listening positions. Subwoofers were exiled to the upper boxes next to the stage. Some subwoofers are installed below the stall seats floor for a more direct bass response.”
Throughout the King’s Red Saloon, 14 ultra-flat aluminium line array element loudspeakers ensure discreet yet powerful sound. The preservation of the look and feel of the space was of great importance to this project, and the custom finishes helped with this. “It was very easy to work with K-array loudspeakers,” says Chromasound installation engineer, Bálint Rédei. “We were wondering how the custom colours would fit into the environment but on opening the boxes, we saw immediately that the colours were superb and a perfect fit with the space.”
Sydney Opera House
COMPANY: d&b audiotechnik
LOCATION: Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Opera House celebrated its 40th birthday by embarking on a 10-year period of renewal leading up to its 50th, which came in 2023. The Opera Theatre was given plenty of love back in 2017/18 and then it was the Concert Hall’s turn. When originally opened, the Concert Hall’s purpose was to be the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Today, it is still the SSO’s home ground, but the programme is far more varied – Wagner one day, Wu Tang Clan the next. Not only is the programming hugely diverse – from entirely acoustic performances, to high-intensity amplified – the turnaround times are tight as there is a 98% annual occupancy across its venues. The renewal would address these realities.
The three main aspects were: improved accessibility; an acoustics upgrade, to improve the natural sound of the hall; and, finally, a theatre systems and stage machinery upgrade to provide better loudspeaker coverage of the hall, cater to a contemporary demand for heavier stage sets, and allow the crew to reset in a timely manner. As a result, the Concert Hall now has a new PA, based on d&b audiotechnik KSL, which replaced the d&b audiotechnik J-Series system installed in 2008. Roy Cressey, the venue’s Head of Sound & Audio Visual during the Concert Hall project, explained the thinking: “What we really wanted to focus on, was making sure the true fundamentals of the system coverage were absolutely exemplary. In a room like the Concert Hall, it’s easier said than done to ensure we have speakers in all the positions they need to be.”
The design is based around L-C-R arrays of d&b KSL, a flown array of SL-Subs, all complemented by distributed fills. The flown arrays are on winches to respond to the automated scene changes. The three KSL arrays are permanently flown (lifted up and largely out of sight in the acoustic modes, and lowered for amplified performances) while the subs are rigged and flown when needed.
“The overriding factor behind the KSL choice was its pattern control, and in that regard it is exceptional,” continued Cressey. “We wanted to ensure we had a good line length of speakers [10 per hang] to give us that control, as well as give us all the headroom we could
possibly need. There are general benefits of flying the subs. A single source for coherence in this room is fantastic. And then having the distributed fills all around the room has been a significant improvement to the consistency of coverage across the auditorium.
“The amplifiers are a new generation as well. The old system was on D12 amps and we’ve now incorporated Array Processing, which is the icing on the cake. We don’t want to use Array Processing to fix any problems – such as improper speaker placement – but we want Array Processing to electronically make up that last 5% for the deficiencies in the mechanical deployment of a line array. Amplifiers are a mix of d&b 40D, D80 and 10Ds.
“d&b has been great through all of this,” said Cressey. “We’ve got a great working relationship and they’ve gone above and beyond. We had some unique requirements with the rigging and their engineering department was of great support in developing custom flying frames for the line arrays and subs. Gareth Kelbrick from d&b, Doug Pringle and Dave Jacques from NAS Solutions, d&b audiotechnik distributors in Australia, joined us for commissioning and product training and they’ve been of great assistance as well.” The Concert Hall is a very different venue to the one that debuted in 1973. The Sydney Opera House has opened it up to a whole host of different programming, but often they still had to say ‘no’. Now with the vastly expanded capability in the stage machinery and theatre systems that allow for streamlined resets, ‘no’ won’t be a word the Sydney Opera House will need to use very often in the future.
“We are now far more efficient, which gives our team more time to focus on the creative side,” reflected Cressey. “Tight timelines are a part of the job, by reducing our top of day set up and touring integrations, our in-house and touring engineers have more time in the day to get comfortable and focus on the art, and making the show the best it can be.”
* A version of this story was originally published on AV.Technology.
REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS |
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Theatre At The Mill
COMPANY: Martin Audio
LOCATION: Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland
Set in the restored Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey, north of Belfast (from which its name is derived) Theatre at The Mill is a multicultural arts and entertainment centre, covering myriad disciplines from cinema to corporate presentations. The construction of the 400-seat three-level theatre on the site was completed at the beginning of 2010. But with their original sound system a decade old, Rea Sound were recently brought in to provide an upgrade in the form of Martin Audio’s next generation Wavefront Precision Mini (WPM) technology.
However, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, which administers the building, first instigated a tender process and invited various vendors to submit prospective line array replacements. Rea Sound Project Manager, and system designer, Roger McMullan, recalled that both WPM and MLA Mini were fired up – alongside other brands.
“The client opted for WPM,” he confirmed. “It matched everything they wanted on the tender document. Two things in particular attracted them to it: the physical size, since it fitted the existing footprint without obscuring sightlines, and secondly the sound quality and even spread. None of the other systems could match that.”
He said that everything moved at breakneck speed once the tender documents had been distributed. Response was quickly followed by nomination of the successful contractor in November, with the understanding that work needed be completed within two weeks. Martin Audio cooperated
closely to enable the timeline – which equated to just three days’ site time – to be fulfilled. The new system design had to provide even coverage throughout the three levels. The solution was based around six WPM elements per side, run in optimum onebox resolution. Where LF extension is required, four Martin Audio SXC118 subwoofers can be wheeled into position. Another optional addition to the sound artillery, which is event dependent, is a CDD-LIVE 15 which provides a centre image, and can be introduced as required. “I was blown away by just how powerful it was,” McMullan admitted. Rea Sound have specified a further 14 CDD6 for under balcony and surround sound use, and six CDD5 for front stage infill. They have then dialled up the spec to four CDD10 – two for use in the upper balcony and two for the main space surround – where greater power is needed. The WPM is powered by three Martin Audio multi-channel iKON iK81 and an iK42, and elsewhere Martin Audio passive CDD systems are driven by a VIA 5004 and VIA 2502, which are also multi-channel solutions (four-channel and two-channel respectively).
“Since Martin Audio’s range of options is now so phenomenal it gave the venue confidence,” concluded McMullan. “The system works so well that the theatre has had a number of other venues look at it, which is good news for both Rea Sound and Martin Audio.” www.martin-audio.com
REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
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LOCATION: Bregenz, Austria
The Bregenz Festival (Bregenzer Festspiele) has been an icon on the European cultural landscape for over 75 years. Hosting a wide range of musical and theatrical events in the Austrian city of Bregenz, the jewel in the festival crown is undoubtedly the Seebühne in the spectacular setting of the waters of Lake Constance. The largest floating stage in the world, the Seebühne, with its 6,658-seat openair amphitheatre, is the star venue for the festival’s musical and operatic productions, often with sets as stunning as the backdrop. This year’s production was Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, staged on a vast 23m by 33m 300-tonne set, designed to represent a giant leaf of delicately creased Japanese paper. The technical challenges involved in a production of this nature are enormous, with sound among the most critical. This year, KV2 systems made up the core of the highly complex main system serving the Seebühne and its auditorium. Head of Sound for the festival, Clemens Wannemacher, takes up the story: “We have been using a point-source based system for many years now as we found it was the most efficient way to handle the various constraints of working on an outdoor production with a live orchestra and a complex set,” said the festival’s Head of Sound, Clemens Wannemacher.
“I’d had my eye on KV2 since 2019 when I was working on another lake stage in Mörbisch am See and was looking to upgrade the front fills and main PA.”
A shootout was organised with several brands and both Wannemacher and Deputy Head of Sound Alwin Bösch were impressed by KV2’s ESR212 and ESR215 loudspeakers.
“When I started with Bregenz in 2020 and was looking into upgrading our loudspeaker setup, both Alwin and I immediately settled on the ESR212,” said Wannemacher. “We loved the sound and the fact that you can rotate the horn in the 212. That comes in very handy as we have to hide the speakers in the set, and by rotating the horn we can use it horizontally which makes it very versatile.”
The setup is highly complex with over 40 loudspeakers from four different brands being hidden in the stage alone including VHD1.21 and VHD2.16 subs from KV2 and three horizontally orientated ESR212s. They join a mix of other loudspeakers from Kling & Freitag, Adamson and JBL.
“The stage has ‘holes’ with small platforms behind them that house the loudspeakers,” said Wannemacher. “The holes are covered with
a metal grid, that is (partially) covered with plaster and then painted. There are no dedicated monitor-loudspeakers for the singers. They are effectively standing in front of the PA, so they pretty much hear what the audience hears.”
As for the rest of the PA system, it is equally complex, with loudspeakers mounted on a series of poles surrounding the listening zone. Four large poles next to the set (two per side) house four levels of loudspeakers including two KV2 ESR212s in the middle – which are supplemented by Kling & Freitag Spectra 212s top and bottom. Smaller poles surround the rest of the listening area equipped with three levels of K&F Spectra 212 and CA1001CX (along each side) and two levels of Adamson P12 (across the rear). There are also several K&F LINUS loudspeakers placed beneath the seats in the middle of the audience zone as well as some JBL subs.
“There are a few reasons why we ended up with this loudspeaker mosaic,” explained Wannemacher. “Firstly, we try to use speakers that are fit for the different tasks we require. For example, the KV2 ESR212s on the poles and inside the set are primarily used for amplification of the orchestra. Here we need a powerful system with broad coverage, so we can reach a large audience area from the L-C-R positions. However, for the voices, we prefer loudspeakers with much narrower coverage to target specific areas of the audience where we can control the delay.”
To add a little more spice to the mix, since 2006, the orchestra has been housed in the nearby Festspielhall, rather than on an outdoor stage. This adds a further layer of complexity but gives Wannemacher and his team much more scope when it comes to creating an immersive experience for the audience.
“We’ve implemented a 3D sound system using different speakers at different heights, including under-seat speakers for middle stalls,” he commented. “I wanted to mirror this to capture room sound, so we set up microphones in a three-level arrangement to feed the three levels of loudspeakers. When combined with our 3D electronic acoustic room system we achieve a very realistic and pleasant-sounding room that benefits the entire audience. Thanks to an intricate setup of both microphones and loudspeakers, we’ve managed to create an immersive experience for the audience, even in an outdoor environment.”
REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
LOCATION: Jabulani, South Africa
The eye-catching Soweto Theatre stands at the centre of the fastdeveloping city of Jabulani, and for the past 10 years, the venue has been a buzzing performing arts hub and forum for creative expression which reaches into the heart of the local community.
Just recently, the lighting department, headed by Nkululeko Mazibuko, upgraded its inventory to add 12 new Robe ESPRITE moving lights as part of a technical upgrade which was co-ordinated by the venue’s Technical Manager, Lebugang Andrew Mnisi. The lights were delivered by Robe’s South African distributor, DWR, and join the original Robe LEDWash 300 and 600E Spot moving lights that have been working hard in the theatre since it opened in 2012, together with the LEDBeam 150s that were purchased in 2019. The ESPRITES, which are deployed in the Soweto Theatre’s largest closed performance space, the Gibson Kente Theatre, represent “a big leap forward,” according to Mazibuko.
The theatre hosts a diversity of theatrical and drama performances and is also regularly used for concerts, music-based TV programmes, gospel shows, musicals, and festival events, and the ESPRITES were chosen for their multipurpose nature. They are also bright enough to be rigged on the outside amphitheatre stage, which was Soweto’s original performance space, and can accommodate up to 10,000 people in its current format, complete with sweeping views of the hills and south part of the city. ESPRITE fitted all the criteria for a bright profile LED fixture that was versatile, with good gobos, robust, well-engineered and with good longevity. The LED light source was important to save power – which is a constant challenge in South Africa with daily load shedding.
The ESPRITE’s TE – TRANSFERABLE ENGINE – technology was another key point for the venue, as the concept and possibility of replacing or being able to swap out the LED engine makes perfect sense, and the ability to use them as a follow spot if needed was another bonus. “The ESPRITES
will allow us to broaden our imaginations with all their features so we can really push the boundaries of what is possible to evoke with lights and lighting,” said Mazibuko.
“Having these new fixtures on the rig will enhance the whole theatre and performance experience for those onstage and in the audience, and will help us make people’s work look great, and that’s what we enjoy making happen,” he added.
Soweto Theatre’s general manager, Vincent Motau, commented: “Soweto Theatre is constantly improving its technology to broaden the horizons of an artist’s creativity while also limiting the problems that they might encounter. As a result, our theatre practitioners now have more time to contemplate and expand their creativity.
DWR’s Kevin Stannett, who looks after the Soweto Theatre account, highlights that getting a luminaire like ESPRITE in house also makes sense from a cross rental perspective. “If they need to increase the quantity for a specific show, the stock can be augmented as there are already plenty of ESPRITES in circulation,” said Stannett.
Both Mazibuko and Andrew Mnisi had previously worked at Johannesburg’s famous Market Theatre – ground-breaking in welcoming people of all races onstage and in the audience during the country’s apartheid era – during the early parts of their careers, and they understand the importance of good tech support and having a great relationship with the supplier, in this case DWR, something that has been built up over the last decade.
“Our schedule is constantly busy with shows going in and out every week, so we have to keep going, and if anything needs swapping in and out or fixing, then that has to be done quickly,” noted Andrew Mnisi, to which Mazibuko added that: “consistency and reliability” is a given with DWR. www.robe.cz
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Soweto Theatre Technical Manager, Lebugang Andrew Mnisi with DWR’s Kevin Stannett (right).
Salzburg State Theatre
LOCATION: Salzburg, Austria
Designed by Viennese architects Fellner and Helmer, the Salzburg State Theatre was completed in 1893 and is today a leading venue for performing arts in the city. This 700seat theatre stages around 400 productions per season, encompassing drama, opera, ballet and youth theatre. For the project of renovating the stage facilities and installing new sound and lighting systems, the theatre turned to experienced stage technology solutions consultants BWKI of Bayreuth, Germany, with the very specific instruction that no loudspeakers should be visible in the historic hall.
BWKI System Planner Jürgen Meyer explained the process.
“To replace the existing line array, we worked with NEXO to design a system based around four ID84/84L cabinets coupled to create a single, four metre column that was just 150mm wide, so could be hidden in the narrow gold portal recesses on either side of the stage,” said Meyer. “Everyone was very impressed by how the cabinets couple perfectly to deliver coverage of the venue that would be more typical of a large and visually obtrusive line array system.”
The ID84s are complemented by two L15 subs per side,
also recessed into the walls, and two ID24s for upper near fills. A total of 41 of NEXO’s ultra-compact ID14s, almost all recessed into the walls, are deployed around the theatre as part of an Amadeus acoustic enhancement system, with a Dante network of 19 NEXO NXAMP4X1Mk2 powered controllers providing amplification and processing. Following a public tender, the system was supplied and installed by theatre technology specialists Zeiler-Technik of Neuötting-Eisenfelden, Germany. “The new system performs exceptionally well, meeting all the criteria of the brief. And it was a great pleasure to work with the teams at NEXO and BWKI on this project,” said Chief Audio Technician Franz Kalleder.
Speaking on behalf of the Salzburg State Theatre, Technical Manager Michael Haarer said: “In one step, the theatre now has a system that serves a wide range of productions from spoken word to musical, can deliver three-dimensional sound and acoustic enhancement, and is virtually invisible in the space. The NEXO ID Series delivers the perfect balance of high performance and low visual impact.” www.nexo-sa.com
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Photo by Martina Weiss
COMPANY: Robert Juliat
LOCATION: Stuttgart, Germany
Since 1985, the Theaterhaus Stuttgart has brought together various artistic genres, experimental and popular productions, internationally renowned artists and newly developed projects under one roof. The Theaterhaus maintains its own theatre and dance ensemble and raises almost 65% of its annual costs itself. The figures speak for themselves: the Theaterhaus has around 300,000 visitors every year, with an average of 900 events ranging from theatre and dance, to concerts, comedy and cabaret, readings, lectures, and exhibitions.
Recently, the Gauthier Dance production performed by the Theaterhaus Stuttgart’s dance ensemble has attracted the most attention. For this, the in-house lighting team used Robert Juliat Dalis 860 eight-colour mixing LED cyclights for the first time, as well as Dalis 862 tunable white LED footlights, all of which have recently become part of the venue’s permanent lighting inventory.
The decision to go with the Dalis fixtures was made after an extensive shootout at the theatre with several manufacturers’ products. Wanja Wenzel, the venue’s Deputy Technical Manager, was particularly impressed by the light quality and beam pattern of the asymmetrical 300W Dalis LED cyclights, which provide excellent illumination of the stage over its entire depth, with very little spill.
“For Gauthier Dance, the entire stage area is in play, for which we needed a horizontal luminaire that could illuminate a projection screen at a short distance in the best possible way,” said Wenzel. The stage at Gauthier Dance is sparse and empty – only the dancers inhabit the 240 sq m stage, which is bordered on three sides by simple configurable drapes.
Østre Gasværk Theatre
LOCATION: Copenhagen, Denmark
Aside from the dancers, only the Dalis 862 are present on stage, placed prominently yet barely perceptibly across the entire width at the stage’s downstage edge. “Although the Dalis units are aimed directly at the stage and dancers, they are not dazzled during their performance,” confirmed Lukas Dethier, Lighting Technician at the Theaterhaus.
Upstage of the curtains on the back wall is an Opera projection screen onto which a row of Dalis 860 is directed, providing flexible illumination of the stage backdrop. Thanks to the reflector geometry of the Dalis 860, no large distance between the fixtures and the opera screen is required to achieve a uniform, wide-area illumination.
Dethier is impressed by the luminous intensity of the Dalis luminaires. “A lot of light really comes out of the Dalis,” he said. “With the battens at the front of the stage edge, you can see a lot at just 7% intensity.” www.robertjuliat.com
Østre Gasværk Theatre in Copenhagen is a former gas works which was built in 1878. Coverted to a theatrical space in 1982, the building offers patrons a 180-degree view from the seats, making it unlike a traditional performance room. Known for its industrial setting, with exposed brickwork creating a unique backdrop, the venue’s Theatre Director, Søren Møller created a new concept called Theatre Max, transforming the gasworks into a huge, self-closing canvas, where sound, light, video and acoustics helped to transform the space into a 180-degree field of vision. Stouenborg were involved in the project from the conceptual beginnings to the complete installation of the entire projector system for TheatreMax. The system contains 25 projectors, which together deliver content in 11K format, which is more than twice as large as what cinemas show today. The finished installation can cover the entire walls and ceiling of the theatre with creative content. One of the challenges of the TheatreMax project was having to design the entire system off site, because it needed to be ready to be installed in a very short period of time. Therefore, an IFC model in BIM was used to find out where the project rods should be hung in a 3D room. This tool played an important role in the process as it helped calculate the locations of the complete installation, thus enabling the installers to integrate the system in only five days. Having delivered previous projects with projectionbased solutions, Stouenborg knew that it was impossible to set up 25 projectors without the audience being distracted by the noise from each unit’s cooling fans, and so to counter this they produced 25 customised projector noise boxes. The specially designed boxes make it possible to remove the noise from the projectors while allowing them to get air so they don’t overheat.
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Photo by Jeanette Bak
Photo by Nalle Magnusson
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Royal Opera House
LOCATION: London, UK
Home to the world-renowned Royal Ballet, Royal Opera and Royal Opera House Orchestra, the Royal Opera House venue – located in London’s famed Covent Garden – opened its doors in 1858, before being extensively rebuilt during the 1990s.
The Royal Opera House team approached TAIT to help them create a world-beating automation system that would be the envy of other venues around the globe. However, to upgrade the existing system there were two challenges to consider. Firstly, the Royal Opera House’s shows and rehearsals run seven days a week, with only a two-week summer hiatus to complete essential maintenance. That meant that any work would need to be sympathetic to the theatre’s unrelenting schedule and work around other departments’ maintenance. Secondly, since the work would need to be completed over a significant period of time, any new components would need to seamlessly integrate with the existing system until all work had been completed. TAIT was selected to fulfil the upgrade; work that would touch every part of the flying infrastructure during the daily production cycle. “To keep the full Royal Opera House schedule going, we needed to be flexible and able to change and update our plan at short notice. They don’t come bigger, more high profile, or more complex than this project and we proved we could deliver on time and even expand the scope while still staying within the original budget,” explained Kevin
“We set about upgrading 108 flybar winches, 18 lighting battens, multiple bars and storage bins on the rear stage, a host of point hoists, and the winches facilitating swag and vertical opening of the iconic house curtain. Almost 1,000 load cells were added to monitor the mass attached to each rope in the flying system.”
In addition, new safety features, such as brake check-back to confirm operation and crossed-groove detection to monitor the lay of ropes on each winch, were added, with these additional features enabling performer flying to modern safety standards.
“A key benefit for us was that the show operators didn’t notice a difference after overnight work. Productions which had been rehearsed on the old system could be operated with the new, or a hybrid of the two, the next day,” said Musa Halimeh, Renewal Programme Manager
at the Royal Opera House. New control cabinets provided better remote support, and new monitoring functions, but decommissioning meant removing power to all existing cabinets, so this had to be completed during 2019’s two-week shutdown. Welcoming Kinesys into the TAIT family that same year conveniently coincided with the decision to increase the project’s scope to include transitioning LX battens from winches to chain-hoist control. Kinesys’s Apex range of variable-speed hoists provided the ideal product.
“72 Apex hoists were installed which, given the capability of Apex, is not unique but it’s still quite a large system,” said Dave Weatherhead, President, TAIT Product. “It’s a testament to the new setup that the hoists could be added into the larger automation platform and immediately be accessible from the consoles with no issues whatsoever.”
Outside of the shutdown periods, TAIT operated a weekly schedule of overnight and weekend work to minimise disruption to the show’s relentless, near 24/7 programme. Unlike many projects, the enforced shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed TAIT to accelerate work as, with shows on pause, they were able to transition from nocturnal to daytime work. As part the company’s commitment to sustainability, parts removed from site – including brakes, cabinets, and redundant cabling – were all recycled.
The partnership between the Royal Opera House and TAIT also opened up the possibility for further enhancements, such as the integration of iQ platform to enable more sophisticated show control techniques and iQ’s new show-repository feature, and the opera house now boasts a reliable, cutting-edge automation system that’s capable of realising even the most complex automation vision.
“I think the way the teams worked together was extraordinary, with our team on-site and the TAIT team working with us,” said Heather Walker, Director of Operations, Royal Opera House. “There was a huge amount of collaboration; testing things and shifting them as we went… I think we’ve got some confidence now to say, ‘we can do these sorts of projects, stay open, stay performing, keep audiences with us, and continue to be the opera house we are both during and after.’” www.taittowers.com
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The view from the fly gallery during a production.
Royal Opera House
COMPANY: Admiral Staging LOCATION: London, UK
One of the world’s leading opera houses, the Royal Opera House in London has been the home for the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet for almost 300 years. Throughout the years it has hosted the best, biggest and most popular productions imaginable.
“The Royal Opera House is one of the world leaders in terms of ballet and opera and we stage roughly 30 different productions a year,” explained Nick Woolley, Lighting Systems Manager at the venue. “We work within a repertoire environment, bringing productions back that have been in part of our history for 30 to 40 years. Intertwined in this are new Royal Ballet and Royal Opera productions.”
For Woolley and his colleagues, working with both old and new productions brings its own challenges. While they are constantly pushing forward with technology, for every new choice, they need to consider its possible impact on the decisions taken in the past 30 years. Woolley’s team is called Lighting Systems, part of the wider Lighting Department. They manage the equipment inventory, look after all set electrics used for shows and make sure the equipment is safe and available for use.
As the manager of this team, Woolley started in this role in February 2021, after COVID-19 and years of freelance work: “My job is to keep the operation running but also making sure that we push ourselves to come up with new and exciting ways of doing tasks, I’m very lucky that my team are very talented,” he said. During their work, the team Woolley is leading uses a lot of different products. Part of these are also the Admiral Staging products and in particular its wide range of transport solutions. Among these, Cable Carts and Meatracks are often used to make work easier and more efficient. In addition, they also use the Admiral truss carriers, hanging brackets and other rigging equipment, in the Linbury Theatre, one of the rooms within the Opera House.
Woolley notes that the Cable Carts have been a game changer in improving the workflow at the Royal Opera House. Before using these carts, the cables were stored in big boxes. This could quickly become a hassle, as people walked around with a handful of cables, misplacing or losing them. Thanks to the Cable Carts, staff can now store cables nicely and keep track of what they have available. It is also possible to bring the carts on stage, so they don’t need to carry heavy boxes anymore. An additional benefit is that with the cables being neatly stored on racks, it makes it much easier for the team to use all of them, instead of just picking the ones stored at the top of the storage boxes. So they rotate much more, which is better for the product lifespan.
“We used to use the crates to store the cables, but due to the smaller footprint of the cable racks we’ve gained a lot of space back in our stores,” confirmed Woolley.
“It was great to see Admiral develop a product before we knew we needed it,” he continued. “We’ve enjoyed working with the team to choose the correct accessories to use in the product line. Admirals’ UK distributors Stage Electrics helped us find a product that would work for our needs, and we were impressed with the modular nature of the system and the high-quality finish.”
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at Apollo Victoria Theatre
COMPANY: DPA Microphones
LOCATION: London, UK
For the past 15 years, Associate Sound Designer Hyder Khalil has been crafting the breathtaking audio that brings the long-running London stage musical ‘Wicked’ to life.
Working alongside Sound Designer Tony Meola, Khalil abides by Meola’s philosophy when miking shows: whether you’re working with instruments or cast members, get the mic in the correct place without being intrusive, and then get the sound as perfect as possible. With these goals in mind, microphones designed to provide authentic audio were the obvious choice when upgrading the theatre’s sound system.
DPA Microphones fits all the sound needs for ‘Wicked’, offering numerous clear, natural and versatile mics. After initially integrating the DPA 6061 Subminiature Lavalier Microphones, the theatre added the brand’s 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid, 4055 Kick Drum and 4099 Instrument Mics to its lineup.
“As a whole, DPA makes things easier,” Khalil explained. “You’re not fighting against the microphones – they have such a low noise floor. Compared to our old mics, the DPAs take the sound to another level; details are getting picked up where they weren’t before. Whether you want to hear those details or not is up to you, but at least instead of getting lost, we now have the option to keep them in.”
Khalil first introduced the team to the 6061s, which they slowly deployed on individual performers until the entire cast was covered. “I’ve been a fan of DPA for a long time, so I knew the sound quality side of the brand was a given,” he shares. “The main challenge we were looking to solve was aesthetics. The DPA 6061 capsules are small enough to blend into the show while also high-quality enough to bring out the details and nuances of the performers’ voices.”
The detail provided by the 6061s was crucial for Khalil, who has seen numerous casts of ‘Wicked’ and understands the importance of the miniscule differences between each actor’s performance. “It’s not that we had bad sound before, but with DPA it was an immediately noticeable difference,” he explains. “The 6061s sound as if you’re speaking to the actors face-to-face. This also helps improve the humour of the show
because you can hear the little comedic changes in the actors’ voices. These mics are just raising the bar another step that wasn’t there before.” In addition to being known for its comedic tone, the ‘Wicked’ soundtrack is also popular for its dramatic, sweeping ballads and energising pop/ rock hits. To account for this broad spectrum, the band and orchestra pit rely on the equally versatile microphone solutions from DPA. “We’ve had 4099s on the violin, cello and French horn for several years, and we most recently added them to the drum kit,” Khalil shares. “We’re now also using them for the toms and added 2011s on the snare top and bottom. It’s been a real improvement. The musicians love the DPAs because they’re so small and unobtrusive while playing. Plus, the sound stays consistent between performers.
“We were also lucky enough to get one of the new 4055 Kick Drum Mics, and it has been great,” continues Khalil. “With other kick drum mics, I always found that you’re essentially carving away at them to get usable sound – which becomes more of a compromise than an artistic choice. The 4055 is the first mic I’ve come across where you can actually bring out qualities in the kick drum. The mic is very versatile and acts more like a scalpel than a broad sword, allowing you to carve out little details and be selective in your sound. It’s more of a tool than just a means to an end.”
The ‘Wicked’ audio team is dedicated to continually modernising its sound system to enhance the actors’ performances. Beyond the DPA mics supplied by Sound Network, the sound department additionally relies on a DiGiCo SD7 console and a self-powered Meyer Sound PA designed by Meola and provided by Autograph Sound Recording.
A TC Electronics System 6000 handles the reverbs, and various Lexicon units provide special effects throughout the show. Backstage, Sennheiser transmitters and receivers work with the DPA mics to create an excellent sound. As DPA maintains that transparent, natural audio worthy of a global favourite like ‘Wicked,’ Khalil will continue to love and trust the brand’s solutions. He commented: “Given the choice, DPA would always be my go-to.”
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vari-lite_broadway_ad_Mondo_dr_hpl_0823.indd 1 14/08/2023 15:00:51
LOCATION: Gateshead, UK
Sage Gateshead’s multi-venue complex has long standardised on RCF systems throughout its venue in the north-east of England, but when room configurations suddenly change, often the PA needs to be sufficiently nimble to adapt with it. In the case of the concert hall’s premier auditorium, Sage One, it has required a complete overhaul in response to the removal of its stalls seating in certain settings. This has seen its trusty RCF HDL 20-A line array now replaced by a beefier HDL 30-A, along with a revision of its subwoofer design, which now comprises 10 SUB 9006-AS, with all inventory supplied by Ingram AV. However, it was never a given that this upgrade would remain within the RCF environment – in fact it attracted interest from several competitors. It was largely the long historic relationship enjoyed with the venue by RCF UK sales manager, Mick Butler, that won the day for the Italian manufacturer. “The original seating was never designed to be removed,” explained the venue’s Technical Manager, Graham Orchard.
“We’d only ever done a standing event once, for the BBC 6 Music Festival in 2015. It was a major job, and it damaged the inserts the seats were screwed into. The aim of the ‘capital project’ was to change the release mechanism so the seating could be easily removed and in less time.”
At the same time venue staff knew that if they wished to host standing events, they would need to address the PA system, as a standing gig would deliver a different type of audience experience, while increasing the capacity in the stalls. With long experience of both the venue and HDL characteristics through his previous company, Andy Magee, from RCF Engineering Support Group, had already recorded numerous measurements for different scenarios (such as with the stage extended). He had spent a week with 24 reference
mics scattered round the hall and consequently advised on the new set-up, which included fill speakers from RCF’s TT range – with the entire system now controlled and networked through RCF’s proprietary RDNet.
In the new set-up, L-R hangs of 12 active 10-inch HDL 30-A line array enclosures pick up the coverage from row F at stalls level, and extend up to balcony levels 2 and 3, while a ground stack of three further HDL 30-A and single RCF SUB 9004-AS per side provide audience coverage in the first four rows.
Four HDL26-A across the front of the stage provide lip fills, while two TT10-A provide outfill coverage at stalls level and a further four TT10-A perform the same task at the balcony levels. Explaining in more detail, Orchard said: “The group of two TT10 hangs cover the boxes on either side each of which hold eight seats. The other four, flown off the PA, are aimed at balcony level 2 and level 3.”
The need for the HDL 30-A to be compatible with classical concert hall requirements, was paramount – particularly since Sage Gateshead is home to its orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia. Hence, the venue worked with RCF to create a custom preset in RDNet that optimised the performance, ensuring the venue’s low existing noise floor wasn’t exceeded in any way.
The final pieces in the jigsaw were budget compliance and visual continuity. “Having something that didn’t completely change the visual representation of the boxes in the hall was a key factor.” Said Orchard. “Sage One is a shoebox configuration so with the footprint hanging in the air and on the stage, simply switching from HDL 20-A to HDL 30-A was a great benefit. As a result, we now have a system capable of a lot more output.”
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Photo by Richard Bryant
COMPANY: Theatre Projects
LOCATION: Orlando, USA
Steinmetz Hall, located in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, is a multiform venue that can be easily transformed into a symphony concert hall, proscenium theatre or an intimate recital hall by moving a 60ft-tall acoustical shell upstage to downstage along steel train tracks, and also features an automated rotating seating system to accommodate three different seating configurations at orchestra level.
The key to transforming the venue is the “cassette”, which, according to designers Theatre Projects, is ‘part architecture, part technology, all flexibility’.
“To create the back and side walls of the concert shell, we designed a unique rolling structure called the “cassette” which is really a building within a building, and it maximises the venue’s programming possibilities within one venue, while minimising downtime between events,” said Michael Nishball, Principal Equipment Designer, Theatre Projects. “Whatever the configuration, it looks and feels permanent and gives the venue the ability to transform quickly and effectively – and to reprogramme the venue for future events because it is a complete structure with all the auditorium’s finishes.”
The cassette moves up and down stage on railroad sized tracks efficiently and safely to create the different configurations within the room. When the cassette is stored upstage, the room works as a ballet/opera house with a large proscenium opening. In addition to the “cassette”, Theatre Projects designed the room to feature a rotating seat system, which lifts and rotates 22 rows of seats at orchestra level to store them upside down under the floor, which transforms the room from its traditional auditorium seating layout to cabaret format, flat floor, or a tiered auditorium floor. Equipped with a Gala Venue transformable seating system, the hall is one of very few theatres in the world that can transform automatically in both shape and seating, and engineering this flexibility into the venue while ensuring its safe and seamless execution demanded a partnership with the minds at Gala Systems inc. and Siemens. www.theatreprojects.com
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Birmingham Royal Ballet
COMPANY: Riedel LOCATION: Birmingham, UK
Based at the historic Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) is one of five major ballet companies in the United Kingdom. Known for its intensive touring schedule, the company required a reliable communication solution that could be easily deployed in a variety of venues.
As audiences continue to expect more from live performances, BRB company craft increasingly complex productions, requiring maximum precision and clear cross-department communications.
The solution came in the form of an innovative punQtum and Riedel solution, which has provided flexible and reliable communications for the BRB team since its adoption in October 2022.
Prior to the upgrade, the production team were using a two-stage system, composed of a one- or two-channel hard-wired system and a Motorola radio system.
Not only did this rely on third-party venues to maintain and update the system, but also posed problems of interference and missed communications for team members using the portable radios.
“Depending on the venue, we often found that their hard-wired systems were far from being able to accommodate the size and complexity of our productions,” says Johnny Westall-Eyre, Technical Manager of Lighting/AV at Birmingham Royal Ballet. “That meant we had an in-house system we couldn’t rely on and that wasn’t maintained by us and our own Motorola system which only allowed for one person to speak at a time. It wasn’t ideal.”
Having made the decision to upgrade, Andrew Wilson, Head of Lighting & AV, contacted Riedel Communications to learn about their solutions. “We were looking for a reliable, adaptable and flexible solution that would minimise risks of interference across channels,” he explained.
“It needed to be future-proof, multi-channel and easy to use, especially when the company is on tour across different venues. It was also important that it be completely self-sufficient so that we no longer have to rely on third-party systems.”
Riedel’s UK Sales manager, Nacho Lee, put Birmingham Royal Ballet in touch with their integration partner, Autograph, who offered Wilson a unique solution combining Riedel’s wireless Boleros and punQtum’s digital wired solution, catering for both team members in fixed positions and those who need to move around during production. The scalability of punQtum and Riedel Bolero together was appealing and ticked the box of a future-proof system that would adapt to a variety of venues. “Technology transitions can be difficult for users who are familiar with particular cables or set-ups, but with punQtum, the system works on any switch, making it quick and easy to set up,” explained Lee.
When it came to onboarding the new system, punQtum’s digital wired partyline was reserved for team members who maintain a stationary position throughout the production, including the Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager. On the other hand, hard-to-reach positions, such as Follow Spot Operators, were assigned wireless Riedel Boleros due to cabling limitations.
A scalable communication system is invaluable for big performances, such as those around the busy holiday season. The ability to add more belt packs and daisy-chain up to eight punQtum belt packs together means that no matter how much the BRB backstage team grows, everyone can stay in touch during production, whilst taking advantage of the multi-channel functionality to avoid interference. www.riedel.net
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LOCATION: Szolnok, Hungary
A TiMax SoundHub spatialisation system with TiMax TrackerD4 precision stagetracking has transformed Szigliget Theatre, located in Szolnok, one of Hungary’s central cities, with a dynamically enhanced audio experience for the audience at every seat in the house.
Hungarian TiMax specialists Votec Ltd. recommended the solution to achieve vocal clarity across the entire auditorium, where previously up to a third of the audience had struggled to hear clearly.
The versatile TiMax SoundHub spatialisation platform provides full saturation audio immersion through a small number of unobtrusive loudspeaker positions, as well as adding playback and 3D sound effects capabilities.
TiMax TrackerD4 actor tracking enables the individual voices on stage to be not only heard clearly, but perceived from exact positioning on the stage, which confers a deeper level of context to the audience.
The theatre opted for a package of twelve TTd4 Tags, so that groups of singers and soloists can be ‘tracked’ and spatialised by TiMax SoundHub to match the performance, along with static spatial imaging for the orchestra. Distributed above the stage and around the auditorium, a network of five TiMax TrackerD4 Sensors with inherent overlap redundancy provides reliable and responsive 3D tracking of the miniature TTd4 Tags easily concealed in the actors’ costumes.
The decision of the theatre’s board members to include TiMax spatialisation was a simple one, as they had previously witnessed a transformative sonic experience, via the auspices of TiMax SoundHub spatial reinforcement controlled by TiMax TrackerD4, at the Szegedi Szabadtéri Játékok Open Air Festival of Szeged.
The event’s audio is managed by Votec, and for a lavish production of AIDA, the company created, for the first time with the help of TiMax SoundHub and TiMax TrackerD4, a new level of vocal and orchestral immersion for the audience of 8,000 over two nights.
As part of a wider audio upgrade carried out by Votec, an Allen & Heath desk also triggers cues in TiMax which in turn outputs to a total of twelve Powersoft amplifiers controlling loudspeakers from Votec’s proprietary ESAudio range.
The traditional proscenium stage has speakers positioned L-C-R across the arch, and front fills positioned on the ground floor as well as delay positions on the theatre’s box seating areas and the dress circle balcony, all independently driven from TiMax for optimal spatial control.
Votec’s International Business Manager, Otari Tsereteli, confirmed: “TiMax renews the sound quality of any venue. In the Szigliget Theatre, it now feels as if there is no sound system – which is the highest compliment.” www.timaxspatial.com
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COMPANY: 1 SOUND
LOCATION: New Jersey, USA
The Levoy Theatre, situated in Millville, New Jersey, has recently upgraded its sound reinforcement system, replacing its ageing line array set-up with a 1 SOUND system which includes two CT28 Point Source speakers on each side of the proscenium and two more to cover the balcony seating.
Six Panorama MS34 are utilised as front fills while three more are mounted under the balcony for rear fills. Two Sub2112s are deployed on either side of the stage for comprehensive low end coverage. CT28 Wall Brackets were used for mounting the CT28 Point Source speakers to the proscenium, allowing for horizontal and vertical aiming of the speaker without having to remove it, in order to focus the loudspeakers easily for optimal coverage.
The front fills are used with an M+S Controller, running all the MS34s in mono and stereo mode so that the seats in their field hear stereo no matter what side of the audience they are in.
“Since the early 1900s, the Levoy Theatre has been an intersection of culture, education, and entertainment in the South Jersey area,” said Sean Pedrick, Technical Director for the Levoy.
“Through various trials and iterations, the Levoy has made a mark on the city and people of Millville as a vaudeville theatre, Warner Bros motion picture cinema, entertainment center, and more. Today, the Levoy hosts a variety of live musicals and plays, comedians and movies, tribute bands and national touring artists, children’s Theatre programming, educational classes, and more.”
When the search for an updated sound reinforcement system began in the summer of 2022, Pedrick realised that there could be no compromise in either audio quality or aesthetic beauty, and a solution was needed that would create an experience of even and impactful sound coverage, sonic intelligibility and clarity, and minimal visual impact on the ornate design of the theatre and stage – speakers that both sounded and looked like they were designed for the room from the start.
“With this in mind, Thomas Knauss, Principal of KMK Technologies, was enlisted as the audio consultant by the Levoy Theatre and he connected us with Lou Mannarino and the team at 1 SOUND,” confirmed Pedrick.
“My initial thoughts were those of doubt and suspicion as it was a company I hadn’t heard of, but boy I was wrong. After hearing a demo of 1 SOUND’s Contour CT28s, SUB2112s, and Panorama MS34s at our venue I was blown away. And after speaking with Lou Mannarino, CEO and primary audio designer for 1 SOUND, I was instantly a believer in this company. It is refreshing to speak to a CEO who cares more about developing great products than about selling you on existing products. “Throughout the installation process, Lou was personally available by cell phone and email to assist in any questions, advice, or assistance that was needed. He even made the time to visit our venue at the end of the installation and commission our sound system at no charge. www.1-sound.com
40 REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
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COMPANY: Pharos LOCATION: Melbourne, Australia
The Capitol in Melbourne is an iconic performance venue featuring an extravagant interior design created by renowned architects Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin. The ceiling is particularly notable, with intricate moulded plaster designed to conjure up images of a crystalline cave.
Having opened in 1924 and facing the threat of demolition in the early 1960s, the theatre remained open to the public until 2014. At this time, it fell into disrepair and was no longer a usable space.
RMIT University purchased The Capitol in 1999 for use as a lecture theatre, and in 2017 began an appeal to raise funds to revitalise the dilapidated, historic building. With a full refurbishment required, and lighting considered an important element of the project, a number of products from Pharos Architectural Controls were specified by solutions provider Lightmoves, a member of the wider project team. The ceiling was previously lit with coloured lightbulbs, so the colour was static. The refurbishment replaced these with energy efficient LED battens providing unlimited colour and dynamic effects. The control for this also supports the theatre’s aim of becoming a space for RMIT students to study and learn about theatre, lighting, films and event production. It is here that the Pharos solutions really come into their own, working in harmony with a range of LED luminaires to ensure the ceiling can be appreciated in all its glory.
A Pharos Designer LPC 1 (Lighting Playback Controller 1), and two Designer TPS (Touch Panel Station) interfaces are now being used to light The Capitol’s famous ceiling. The TPS gives easy control of playback selection and lighting levels, allowing users to seamlessly transition between scenes, timelines, effects and pixel-mapped media. It works in harmony with the LPC 1, which features 512 channels of DMX/eDMX, ideal for offering the fully customisable pre-programmed lighting effects that venues need to bring performances and experiences to life.
The lighting control solution was also intended to support the development of RMIT students’ technical abilities. RMIT’s students have been trained to use Pharos Designer software to programme new scenes and timelines for the roof lighting.
There is excellent integration between the various technologies at the venue. Triggers on the LPC synchronise the ceiling lighting with the audio and digital projection systems. An eDMX pass-through allows the LPC to pass lighting data directly from a theatrical lighting desk, and the LPC also interfaces with the venue’s AV systems and Dynalite controlled house lighting system.
“The Capitol has been through many reinventions, and it is wonderful to see it finally returned to its former glory,” said Braham Ciddor, Managing Director, Lightmoves. “We are delighted to have been an integral part of the most recent renovations. Pharos was the best partner for this project to illuminate the ceiling, offering high-tech yet easy to use controls that showcase the architecture while also being ideal for education purposes.”
Tony Symms, Regional Sales Manager for Asia Pacific, at Pharos
Architectural Controls said: “The ceiling at The Capitol is an impressive sight. It is incredibly positive that this historic venue has been saved from demolition and put back into good use. Our technologies are always an excellent choice for making the most of unique features such as the Capitol Theatre ceiling but it’s also great to know that our solutions are being used to train and educate future lighting designers, engineers, and other industry professionals of the future.”
42 REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
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COMPANY: Autograph Sound LOCATION: Chelmsford, UK
Located in the heart of Essex, Chelmsford Theatre is a perfect example of a busy regional performance venue. With their main house and studio spaces the venue hosts a wide variety of entertainment including drama, comedy, live pop and classical music, pantomime, family favourites, and community productions.
This diversity presents ongoing challenges to the technical team, and to the equipment infrastructures vital to meeting the expectations of contemporary audiences. That expectation is now particularly acute in terms of audio quality, and so the theatre has recently undertaken a complete refit of its installed sound systems. Having hired in various loudspeaker systems for certain acts, and also having had a number of demos, the tech team were budgeting for the cost of installing flying points for the line-array they expected to purchase. After approaching Autograph Sound to produce alternative ideas and appropriate costings, Autograph’s Adam Broom met with venue staff, and having seen the space suggested an alternative.
“While line-array designs certainly have their place, we’ve had a lot of success with distributed point-source systems, in both our projects and hire divisions,” said Broom. “In a space like Chelmsford Theatre, we’ve found that modern point-source loudspeakers correctly situated can comfortably cover the space with full intelligibility and plentiful SPL throughout.”
Autograph duly supplied detailed quotes using equipment from two manufacturers and then set up a demo, using EM Acoustics R-Series loudspeakers arranged as closely as possible to the proposed design, which was used on two shows across a weekend. This proved successful and Autograph were invited to tender for the supply, and in due course it was awarded to them.
The new loudspeakers are all from EM Acoustics and include several models from their range. A L/R pair of R10s cover the stalls while a pair of R8s are mounted slightly further into the room and from the auditorium ceiling to handle the balcony. Four EMS-61s are mounted under the balcony as delays, while eight EMS-41s are built into the forestage for front fills.
The centre cluster comprises two more R8s, but due to limited rigging options they are flown in two positions line astern, one upstage and the other closer to the stage lip, as Broom explained: “This is unusual for a venue of this size, but it works extremely well once everything is time-aligned and properly trimmed.
“The downstage speaker covers mid-stalls to balcony and the other from mid-stalls to the front rows, so they easily fill the ‘delta’ between the main L/R speakers. This gives perfect coverage for theatre where it can be used as a predominantly vocal system in tandem with the front fills, but then for live music when content is louder it has enough headroom and reach to keep up with the main PA.”
Four S-18 subwoofers provide the low-frequency energy when required, although the rest of the system has enough low frequency extension to make the subs unnecessary for numerous productions.
The entire FOH system is powered by just three EM Acoustics amplifiers: a DQ20D for the R10s and the subs, plus a Di20D and a Di10D, from the installation range, for all the other FOH enclosures and stage monitors respectively. A new Yamaha CL5 digital mixing console with three Rio 1608-D2 stageboxes was also supplied, joining the venue’s existing Yamaha QL1.
Overall system control is via a QSC Q-SYS CORE processor, accessed from a tablet custom-configured by Autograph for the theatre’s crew. ”Using Q-SYS allowed us to create three system presets, one for each configuration, so whoever is on duty can easily select the loudspeaker setup that’s correct for whatever they’re doing, including the position of the subs and input sources,” said Broom. “What we’ve accomplished here is a true multi-purpose, installed audio system for a busy working venue hosting lots of different shows. In one configuration it is a correctly-imaged and time-aligned setup that is perfect for theatre productions, comedy and similar events – in another, it is a powerful and punchy rig that has more than enough horsepower for all sorts of live music, but neither application is compromised in any way.”
44 REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
Photo by Graham Chrimes.
The Lyric Theatre, Sydney
COMPANY: Broadweigh LOCATION: Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Lyric is one of Australia’s newest and most innovative theatres. Having recently undergone an $18 million renovation to the auditorium, foyers, bars, ticketing and merchandising facilities, it boasts state-of-the-art facilities throughout.
RISE Pacific was brought on board by Foundation Theatres to implement a rigging system to temporarily suspend the venue’s 7.5-tonne safety curtain so maintenance could be undertaken on the sheaves supporting and guiding the wire ropes that the door is typically suspended from. In turn, RISE Pacific chose to work with Broadweigh to help monitor the loads and assure work was carried out safely.
Clancy Simpson, director, RISE Pacific said: “As the safety curtain operates as a counterweight system, it was necessary to temporarily suspend the arbour containing roughly seven tonnes of steel counterweight for the curtain. Using the Broadweigh system allowed continual load monitoring of both the door and arboras it transferred to the temporary rigging, so that maintenance work could proceed.” For this project, RISE Pacific used eight 3.2-tonne Broadweigh shackles, with the data being transmitted to the Broadweigh Wireless USB Base Station. The team also utilised the Broadweigh wireless warning module for visual and audible threshold warnings.
With the door being supported from five points across its length, and the arbour being supported from three points, live load monitoring was also critical to ensure that as the load was transferred to the temporary rigging, proper distribution was maintained, which in turn protected the load, lifting equipment and structural steel supporting the temporary lift from overload or distortion.
Clancy added: “When it came time to return the door to suspension
from the counterweighted system, the real-time feedback from the Broadweigh monitoring allowed equilibrium to be maintained between the curtain and arbour, so load was returned to both sides of the system at the same rate.
“To attempt to complete a complex project like this without the use of live load monitoring introduces many unknowns that make it nearly impossible to guarantee the safety and success of the lift. Without a system like Broadweigh, loads maybe improperly distributed, lifting equipment could be overloaded and the structure could be loaded in excess of the parameters provided by consulting engineers.”
On site, the readings provided by Broadweigh were monitored by each individual member of the team from their personal mobile device. This allowed constant visibility as the lift of the curtain and arbour was completed. Being able to monitor the loads in real-time made it easy for the technicians to confirm the full transfer of the load and distribution of it between lifting points. Calculations run within the Log100 software, displayed this distribution by expressing each points load as a percentage of the total load.
Using the Broadweigh system allowed RISE Pacific to demonstrate to its client and other stakeholders including consulting engineers and other contractors, its commitment to safety and best practices.
Boulton concluded: “Broadweigh provides us with a transparent way for these stakeholders to get a better understanding of exactly what is taking place, and it is awesome when our clients view the data on the monitor and it prompts great discussions about the project, our process and the equipment being used.”
46 REPORT - THEATRES & CONCERT HALLS | WWW.MONDODR.COM
COMPANY: HH Electronics
LOCATION: Gloucestershire, UK
The Cidermill Theatre is a new performing arts theatre owned and run by Chipping Camden School in Gloucestershire, UK.
Built to serve both the school and the wider Cotswold community, the £4million venue was opened in October 2022 and while the venue is centred on the Rockspring Auditorium (capacity 292 seated, 450 standing), the complex also includes a dance studio, black box studio, lounge area, rehearsal spaces, classroom, café and bar.
The Theatre enjoys a full range of professional facilities and an essential component of any modern, flexible performing arts centre is its audio provision, and theatre staff consulted with specialist Michael Krompass at BASE Culture about a suitable system.
Krompass had no hesitation in recommending HH Electronics’ new TNA line array, having experienced a demonstration of the system when it was launched.
Perfect for small to medium sized venues, the TNA offers a compact, active package that is easy to set up and packs a powerful punch that belies its size.
The system is based around the TNA-2120SA, a multi-channel active subwoofer with integrated Class D amplifier which features two high power 12-inch low frequency woofers with exceptionally high output, and the TNA1800SA, a powerful single 18-inch active low frequency subwoofer.
With three channels of high performance amplification, the TNA2120SA houses six cutting edge built-in DSP presets and as part of a modular system can power up to six satellite TNA-2051 passive, twoway compact line array loudspeakers, offering an ideal solution that does away with the extra expense of rack amplifiers and processors.
The main Rockspring auditorium was equipped with a full system comprising one TNA2120SA, two TNA1800SA and six TNA2051 units per side. BASE Culture also supplied five HH Electronics TRM-1201 12-inch active stage monitors and a single TRM-1500 active sub for use as a drum fill.
“The HH TNA line array system was a superb fit for The Cidermill Theatre install,” said Krompass. “Its elegant look and sleek aesthetic complement the theatre design perfectly. The PA packs a punch, sounds outstanding and is easily comparable to systems many times its price range.”
To maximise the flexibility of the space, the system is ground-stacked, and is easy portability to enable quick setup and take down times.
“We definitely made the right choice by going with Michael’s recommendation,” said Cidermill Theatre Technician Laurence Iles. “The system is perfect for the space, sounds brilliant and has more than enough headroom to cater for everything we stage within the auditorium. It’s most definitely a high-quality system that comes in at a very competitive price.”
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“THE BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT BEING A NEW BRAND IS THAT WE ARE BUILDING THE BRAND AND PRODUCT MIX FROM THE GROUND UP. WE HAVE TAKEN AN EXTREMELY THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO THE PRODUCT ROADMAP AND INTEND TO MAINTAIN A SMALL CATEGORY OF VERY FLEXIBLE AND CAPABLE PRODUCTS.”
PAUL HALES, MARC BERTRAND & ERIN PHILLIPS
CEO, COO & Vice President
Theory Audio Design & Pro Audio Technology
48 INTERVIEW - THEORY PROFESSIONAL | WWW.MONDODR.COM
Shortly after the launch of Theory Professional at InfoComm, the three-person leadership team at Theory Audio Design & Pro Audio Technology sat down with MONDO-DR to discuss their move into the commercial loudspeaker market.
Despite being a relatively small operation, the team believes that they are well positioned to deliver major growth for the Theory Professional brand in the coming five to 10 years thanks to a mixture of extensive industry experience and expertise, with all three sharing full belief in themselves and the products.
“Our small but high-performing team is intentional,” said CEO Paul Hales. “As CEO, I have very high expectations for the brands, products, and people who work for Theory Professional, and would rather grow the company as a small team of rockstars, rather than a large team of average performers.
“As a small operation there isn’t much I don’t touch or am responsible for on a day-to-day basis,” he continued. “However, my passion is product design and engineering with a secondary focus on the financial and general management of the businesses.”
Hales made his first steps in the audio engineering world by building his own hi-fi speakers before joining QSC in the early 2000s to establish their loudspeaker R&D department where he further explored his passion for loudspeakers from the perspective of professional applications.
In 2004 he left QSC and stepped into the world of producing professional-style loudspeakers for residentially installed systems after being asked by a friend to create a custom speaker system for a private screening room belonging to a celebrity. He soon formed Pro Audio Technology (PRO), which continues to enjoy its share of success within its niche market.
“Both PRO and Theory products are the result of a marriage of the refined sound of hi-fi equipment with the added dynamics of professional gear,” said Hales. “At QSC I learned to appreciate the highresolution DSP and how to build rugged speakers that can play loudly, effortlessly, while retaining very high fidelity.
“Theory, quite simply, became my effort to bring this somewhat unique approach of marrying professional and consumer audio engineering techniques to products outside the dedicated home cinema – in both the residential and commercial market segments.”
With the goal of moving into the world of premium installations, encompassing restaurants, museums, retail, public spaces and more, Hales has assembled a dedicated team with the recent appointment of fellow industry veteran Marc Bertrand as COO, and the promotion of Erin Phillips to Vice President.
“Marc brings a breadth of knowledge and experience in audio manufacturing, logistics, and growing sales networks at a global level, and he has excellent industry connections,” continued Hales, “and while Erin’s role started with public relations, marketing, and event management for our brands, she very quickly became my right hand and her responsibilities have grown substantially since joining the company in 2021.
“We gel very well because in addition to aligning on the overall company goals and business strategy, we all bring different strengths, approaches, and personalities to the table.”
The latest addition to the team was Bertrand, who has amassed almost 30 years of experience in the loudspeaker and electronics industry, most recently at Adamson and formerly 22 years at Tannoy.
“I was quite fortunate to start my almost 30 years in loudspeakers and electronics on the front line and worked my way through multiple roles in many departments, management roles and executive teams,” said Bertrand. “Being an active participant in the various stages of growth across several different market segments helped me to develop strong relationships and skillsets – all of which have relevance and weave perfectly into my role now.
“There are many similarities that exist between my time at Tannoy and now, and the relationships forged during that time are really
50 INTERVIEW - THEORY PROFESSIONAL | WWW.MONDODR.COM
Above: The PRO & Theory Experience Centre at company HQ in Lake Forest, California.
A sub15 15-inch High Output Passive In-Room Subwoofer in situ at the Experience Centre.
important in further developing the Theory Professional and Pro Audio Technology brands,” he continued.
“The markets we participate in, for Theory Professional in particular, are also far more developed now than back then. We are different… and the fundamental differences in transducer design, industrial and mechanical design, packaging, (I could go on and on here), positions Theory very well in the current landscape.”
Bertrand notes it was a difficult decision to leave Adamson, where he was CEO, but states the opportunity to join Theory Audio Design & Pro Audio Technology was too good to pass on.
“Adamson is a great brand and there are some very exciting things coming, so it was difficult, but the chance to focus all my attention to the market segments I enjoy the most, and where I believe I can provide a significant impact made it clearly the right choice for me,” he said.
“Additionally, the opportunity to be a part of building and shaping the global organisation we are creating here – that’s the icing on the cake.
“What attracted me most was the people, the very clear brand identity, and the brand promise – and then I heard the products,” he continued.
“All this transpired prior to joining, so I was very aware, and now that I’m here, these important elements are reinforced on a daily basis. I’m extremely happy to be a part of it.”
Phillips is also happy to be part of the current set up, having been a team member for nearly three years, witnessing the progress made in that time prior to the Theory Professional brand launch in June. Having met Hales in her previous role at PR firm Caster Communications, the pair immediately clicked, realising that they see things the same way and have similar business outlooks and work ethics, and Phillips was hired initially to be Director of Marketing and Public Relations – a role that quickly evolved to a VP level by 2022.
“We are building these businesses together, and we all wear many hats to do so,” said Phillips, who began her career at Paradigm Electronics in her native Canada. “It seemed silly, and in some ways confusing to vendors and customers, to limit my role to marketing and PR, and so earlier this year Paul dropped the qualifiers and named me Vice President for both businesses.”
Phillips was working FOH during the Theory Professional launch at InfoComm which consisted of an introduction and demonstration of the product line in an audio room and a booth out on the main show floor, and she was delighted with how the week went.
“The Theory Professional launch was everything we hoped it would be –and more,” said Phillips. “We worked hard for years, before and through COVID-19, to ensure we came out all guns blazing, and the launch timing was perfect.
“Our booth on the show floor had every single Theory product on display with some active demonstrations, but in my eyes the audio demo room was our greatest success.”
For each 45-minute session, attendees were shown effective demonstrations that mimicked how the company sees the products being used in commercial spaces, and Phillips had a clear view of the reactions of those in the industry that stepped through the door.
“I got to see people’s jaws drop as they heard the very first note play from our 6-inch in-ceiling speakers,” she said. “And similarly, when they heard the capabilities of the sb25 multi-use loudspeakers, and iws12-9 architectural subwoofer. I also got a kick out of watching attendees walk around the room looking for dead spots when our pendant speakers were playing and seeing their head’s shake in disbelief when they couldn’t find any. The repeat reaction to each demo presentation was a combination of astonishment and high praise – it was absolute magic.” The trio were all hands-on throughout the demo sessions all week, and Phillips notes that it was important for the leadership team to be visible and approachable at the show.
“As a new brand we felt it was just as important to introduce the faces and personalities behind the brand as it was demonstrating our products,” she said. “Theory’s brand promise to provide the best audio
52 INTERVIEW - THEORY PROFESSIONAL | WWW.MONDODR.COM
“The Theory Professional launch was everything we hoped it would be – and more. We worked hard for years, before and through COVID-19, to ensure we came out all guns blazing, and the launch timing was perfect.”
Above: Theory Professional launched at InfoComm with a booth on the main floor and a busy demonstration room.
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performance in every product category we enter extends far beyond the products themselves. We, the faces behind the brand, hold ourselves and how we conduct business to a very high standard as well, and what better way to personalise the brand than to have the three of us take part in every single InfoComm presentation?”
With InfoComm in the books, Hales is keen to push on and he believes that the company is well placed to maintain the momentum that was gathered in Orlando.
“Commercial spaces are becoming increasingly more refined and highend, but the audio products that address those spaces, have not kept up,” he said. “Theory addresses this void head-on – not only in terms of performance, but also, design. It provides dealers, integrators, architects, specifiers, and designers with a premium audio option for virtually any installation and environment indoors and out.
“We launched Theory Professional with a robust product catalogue of soundbars, in-wall, in-ceiling, multi-use and pendant loudspeakers, in-room subwoofers, and amplified loudspeaker controllers – and these are all shipping worldwide.”
Products that were previewed at the show will be rolled out in Q4 of 2023, including the sb25aw all-weather multi-use loudspeaker, the iws12-6 in-wall subwoofer, and iws12-9 surface-mount subwoofer.
“Theory products are premium in quality and build, and Theory systems can be quite cost-effective when measured against competing systems of comparable coverage,” continued Hales. “For example, Theory pendant loudspeakers were recently selected to replace a third-party brand on a large install. With the other brand 77 pendants were required to achieve the coverage and SPL targets. When the system was redesigned using the Theory pendant loudspeakers, only 44 were required to achieve the same coverage and output. Not only was the system component cost dramatically lower, the install labour savings will also be huge.”
The current set up for the leadership team sees Hales residing in Southern California, where the Headquarters and Experience Centre is located, with Bertrand and Phillips both situated just outside Toronto in Canada, travelling to the HQ quarterly.
“Most of our communication is via video conferencing, and that also applies to the rest of the team members,” said Phillips. “As the company and team grows, we will see where the personnel lands geographically. We don’t want to restrict the candidate pool by location unless a position requires it.
“If we end up with clusters of personnel in specific locations where other offices or experience centres make sense to have, we will consider it, but for now video communication and traveling to be in the same place for meetings and events works very well for us.”
The major trade shows are also important to the company’s growth, and having presented at both InfoComm and CEDIA Expo in 2023, next on their calendar is participation in ISE in early 2024, with plans to exhibit in 2025. In addition to showcasing products and the brand at the expos and their Experience Centre, Hales believes the hiring of personnel is equally important, and highlights the hire of Bertrand as a key milestone for the company. “We have big plans for Theory Professional and bringing Marc on board is the first of many important moves we are taking to see that plan through,” said Hales. “Marc brings with him a breadth of knowledge and experience leading and growing premium commercial, professional, and residential audio brands.
“He has also had major success growing the global sales and distribution network at his previous companies, which of course is a major initiative to reach our growth goals. Marc’s long and successful track record makes him the ideal candidate to help us achieve our objectives.”
Phillips echoed this sentiment. “Marc is an obvious win for us and he couldn’t be a more perfect fit,” she said, while also highlighting another recent addition to the team. “We also have hired a new Office Manager, Jen Kavanagh, who like the rest of us has decades of experience in audio and is already adding tremendous value to the team. Now that Theory Professional has officially launched, we intend to continue growing at a good pace, and hope to keep MONDO-DR readers informed on our journey.”
54 INTERVIEW - THEORY PROFESSIONAL | WWW.MONDODR.COM
Above (top): Theory DLC-1500.4 1500W 4-channel Loudspeaker Controller.
Above: Theory ic6 Pendants and Theory ic6 in-ceiling speaker.
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The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) was one of Scotland’s most beloved venues since its opening in 1985. As well as being home to large exhibition and conference complexes, its arena played host to a multitude of artists throughout its history including Oasis, Kylie Minogue, AC/DC, and Rihanna.
However, after three decades, it was in desperate need of a refurbishment. This, combined with Aberdeen City Council’s desire to showcase the city’s cultural resurgence, prompted the creation of a whole new events complex – The Events Complex Aberdeen (TECA) – which boasts two on-site hotels including a four-star Hilton Hotel, 150-seater restaurant, and the vast entertainment complex, P&J Live.
As well as three state-of-the-art exhibition halls and four highly adaptable conference suites, P&J Live also holds the UK’s most Northern indoor arena with 15,000 standing capacity across 9,000 sq m of performance space. Operated and managed by ASM Global, the £333 million purpose-built development is the single largest UK investment of its kind complete with an on-site energy centre to provide 21st Century amenities. The majority of AECC’s
56 VENUE - EMEA | WWW.MONDODR.COM
ABERDEEN / UK EMEA
Innovative and highly adaptable AV design and integration helps vast entertainment complex bounce back to life following COVID-19 closure just six months after opening.
technical staff were transferred over to P&J Live, including Deputy Operations Technical Manager Steve Morrison and father-and-son team Alastair (AV Manager) and Pete Stott (Operations Technical Manager) to work on Aberdeen’s latest project. It was, therefore, essential to provide it with the most advanced technologies available.
Following a series of demos and discussions, A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) was awarded supply of venue-wide loose equipment and flexible house lighting for the spaces, which includes: 6,000 sq m of multipurpose exhibition area and event halls sub-divisible into three 2,000 sq m rooms – including banqueting capacity for 1,250 guests on round tables.
There are also four conference suites of over 1,500 sq m of sub-divisible space for lectures and seminars, classroom-based training sessions, board meetings, banquet and cabaret events with a side / end stage and dance floor; plus 33,000 sq m of 7.5m high subterranean car park space available for events if required.
The overall day-to-day management of this huge, months-long project was handled on AC-ET’s side by the
highly experienced Mike Docksey from the company’s external sales team, and on P&J Live’s side by the equally knowledgeable Morrison. Following an extensive scope for potential products at PLASA Show in 2018, the AC-ET team set to work reaching out to various AVL manufacturers around the globe. Docksey worked closely with AC-ET Managing Director, Jonathan Walters and its in-house lighting, rigging, audio, video and cable divisions’ product experts to quote on or assist with, the specification of thousands of individual product lines. The project also involved collaboration with the venue’s team of in-house production experts, who provided dedicated technical services and support. One of the largest single client orders received by AC-ET, the project took full advantage of the company’s position as a single-source supplier of entertainment lighting, rigging, video, audio, power and distro, cabling and consumables technologies – and its access to large stocks of the latest product lines from many industry-leading brands in a portfolio of over 200. Equipment from over 30 brands was supplied for the hall spaces, including Chroma-Q, PROLIGHTS, Tourflex Cabling,
SIXTY82, Green Hippo, Panasonic, Draper, Analog Way, Doughty, Avolites, Robe, Tourmate, Sony, Datapath, Shure, Columbus McKinnon, Gravity, and Wireless Solutions. With just three months to source and deliver 11,500 individual pieces of kit, AC-ET devised an efficient solution to make the process run as effectively as possible despite major logistical challenges. “Rather than do one massive order of the kit, we processed it as lots of small orders, which could be handled independently by various teams and loaded onto a number of trucks leaving from a multitude of locations.” he explained. “The procurement team said it will never operate in another way again because it was the smoothest transition it had ever known. Whilst we traditionally act as an equipment provider, AC-ET tries to do the hand-holding bit, especially for a project on this scale. We needed to be part of the process.” As well as having high-quality technical equipment that could withstand rigorous usage, the overall aim for P&J Live’s expansive design was that the fittings could be easily installed and removed allowing for total adaptability depending on the needs of the client. Along with an entirely modular series of truss grids featuring across P&J Live’s three main event spaces, the technical team experimented with a unique lighting system that would subsequently prove highly effective.
As Docksey explained: “For the Chroma-Q Inspire houselights, normally, they’re supplied on a terminal strip which goes back to a central controller for standard fixed installations. However, as the venue is a multi-use space, we were asked to provide a house lighting system which could be adapted to suit the requirements of any event
layout. Therefore, we provided the Inspires as DMX fixtures with trigger clamps so that P&J Live’s technical team could configure them around any part of the venue they wanted.”
The impressive lighting infrastructure features over 900 lighting fixtures – the majority of which are energy-efficient LED sources. Over 140 Chroma-Q fixtures include Color Force II LED battens, and a DMX version of the Inspire RGBW LED house and theatrical lighting system.
Over 700 PROLIGHTS fixtures cover the majority of other lighting requirements. Pixie WashXB moving LED wash lights provide high-quality table and atmospheric lighting for large events alongside LumiPix16H battens. The list of other PROLIGHTS LED units includes moving profiles, ellipsoidals, Fresnels, PARs and battery uplighters.
In addition to the kit fitted within the hall spaces, the team selected one Avolites Tiger Touch II as well as two Avolites Quartz and two Titan Mobile Wing, coupled with the appropriate flight cases.
Calling the decision to install Avolites an “obvious choice,” Morrison added: “We’ve got a long history of using the Avolites desks in the local technician pool in Aberdeen. Theatre desks are also popular but there’s more of a ‘busking’ element with the Avolites desks. Our freelancers are also familiar with these desks so they’re ready to hit the ground running when they come to work at the venue.”
Light fixtures are mounted on over 300 pieces of SIXTY82 truss and corners permanently or temporarily installed in each space. AC-ET also supplied a quantity of Columbus McKinnon Lodestar D8 Model L chain hoists, plus Doughty equipment, trigger clamps, and safety bonds. The equally state-of-the-art video infrastructure across the
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facility features 15 Panasonic HD projectors ranging from three-chip laser to single chip models; Draper modular projector screens including a custom-made 11.5m wide by 4m high StageScreen and several sizes of FocalPoint 16:9 screens; a Green Hippo Hippotizer Karst+ Media Server; plus Analog Way, Blackmagic and Datapath signal switch, processing, converter, and splitter solutions. Meanwhile, the Tourflex Cabling service supplied nearly 5,000 custom assemblies using 24km of cable and nearly 13,000 connectors. The assemblies include Tourflex Datasafe DMX & Ethernet, Tourmate Powersafe & Tourmate Multilock mains power, and various other product lines for the venue’s lighting, rigging, video and audio infrastructure.
Every cable is colour-coded by length to enable easy stock management and is a custom item with its own product specification and manufacturing code for tracking purposes. The bespoke options included several custom distribution boxes as well.
AC-ET also supplied 26 custom power distribution racks for the ‘black box’ Arena, which is used to drive production rigs for touring shows. Many of these shows are also provided by some of AC-ET’s major UK rental customers.
The rigging throughout the Conference Suites and smaller Halls was installed by J&C Joel. UK Rigging was entrusted with the main arena space; designing and installing a safe and efficient way of working in the roof space for rigging operatives, service engineers from the rigging grid for event rigging staff and venue operatives.
Speaking about how the company endeavoured to make the task as
safe as possible for rigging operatives, UK Rigging Director Harry Box said: “We fitted a grated floor system within the roof space, covering the area of the entire arena floor. The benefit of the flooring system is that it greatly reduces the risks associated with working at height. By removing the need for Personal Fall Protection Systems (PFPS), the flooring system is inherently safer and far more efficient to work from compared to other systems.”
The team faced the difficult challenge of keeping such a large floor space clear during a particularly busy period for the arena. “The rigging grid installation was between the latter end of the initial construction work, and the beginning of much of the second fix work, and our need to keep the arena floor clear would naturally make things very difficult for other contractors,” Box explained. “To manage this, we came up with a series of moving platforms and a timetable of work at height so that other contractors could continue their work safely.” The venue worked with Theatre Projects London on the design and LSI Projects, led by Manager Bob Peill, was subsequently engaged to develop the TPC specification in conjunction with the team at P&J Live, and deliver the technical infrastructure for the Exhibition Halls and Conference Suites. This included the implementation of an entire technical electrical system with distribution boards, high-current temporary power panels for visiting productions, 50-plus combined facility boxes for AV and control system connectivity along with a comprehensive stage lighting and AV cable infrastructure incorporating over 1,750 lines of DMX, loudspeaker, fibre, video, ethernet, audio, and intercom lines. In addition, a custom
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Above: A performance by comedian Russell Howard in the main arena space.
power switching solution for the production lighting systems comprising over 432 32A circuits fed vis 18 custom Zero88 RigSwitch and controlled via a series of iLight Touch Panels.
A complete d&b audiotechnik PA system was installed by Aberdeenbased A-Line Audio Visual across Conference Suites 1 & 2 and the 2,000-seater Hall C.
The system includes loudspeakers from the E, Y, V series, subwoofers from the V and B series, M6 stage monitors and 10D and 30D amplifiers, with the audio manufacturer’s Commercial Manager UK and Ireland Richard McLean on hand to support the project.
Whilst the ‘black box’ style of the arena allows for touring artists to implement a vast amount of their own AV kit, the advanced audio technology implemented within the venue’s conference suites and exhibition halls also allows for high-quality sound. This includes, Dante DS10 controllers, Shure Axient and QLX-D radio mics, Shure MX418/S gooseneck mics, Gravity mic stands, GreenGo talkback system, and an Allen & Heath Dante stage box.
As with the choice of lighting fixtures, Morrison described how he wanted high-quality kit that could instantly resonate with technicians: “We needed something that was rider friendly,” he said. “It was a fine line between what was going to work for an entertainment show and what’s going to work for spoken voice for conferences. We ended up with the Y-series and it can do everything from a Political Party conference to ‘The Magic of Motown’. For the Dante network, because the stage is a long-hall configuration for one show and wide hall
configuration the next, the infrastructure made a lot of sense to have a Dante network installed so we can patch things anywhere.”
After a year-long installation, P&J Live finally opened its doors in September 2019 attracting sell-out crowds for the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Gerry Cinnamon, and Alice Cooper. However, the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown quickly brought events to a grinding halt a mere six months after its launch.
Yet, little did the team know the decision to make the venues spaces as flexible as possible to clients would provide the perfect solution to adapting to the pandemic and its subsequent social restrictions. The exhibition halls were consequently transformed into a fully functional vaccination centre, whereas the large space of the arena and conference suites, as well as the flexible AV design, allowed for innovative ways to implement social distancing regulations. As restrictions began to ease and audiences slowly started to fill seats again in winter 2022, there were some fears from both P&J Live and AC-ET as to how the kit would cope with suddenly being used rigorously again after lying dormant for 18 months.
Yet, according to Docksey, the kit has continued to work fluidly since reopening: “We’ve only had a handful of items that have needed to go back for repair and it is now over four years since the initial delivery of over 11,500 items,” he said.
Morrison echoed his comments, praising AC-ET’s work as well as the manufacturers involved with P&J Live who were quick to offer their assistance. “Every manufacturer extended its warranty and we
appreciated everything AC-ET and the manufacturers did for us,” he said. “Everybody played fair. Mike also introduced us to everyone who was producing the product so we could talk with them directly, AC-ET were great at that.”
In the months following its reopening, P&J Live has already played host to many large concerts including Michael Bublé and Elton John in the final leg of his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ world tour.
As well as helping to highlight Aberdeen’s cultural status, P&J Live is also working with the local community to provide young aspiring technicians in the area with a hands-on experience of working in the industry.
“We provide an industry link to the North East Scotland College (NESCol) and its sound production and music students. We reached out to them because the technology can be really complicated to use so we need to be encouraging a new pool of technicians to come and work for us with the necessary skills. They have now included training on the equipment used at P&J Live as part of the course.
“So, having the arrangement with the college allows us a fresh influx to our freelance pool and helping to nourish the home-grown talent we depend on,” he continued. “We have regular training days when the students come on site, set up the stage with band equipment in our large 2,000-seater hall. They can then learn how to configure our d&b PA line array and delays. It’s a relationship that really has been working well for us these past few years and demonstrates our commitment to being a sustainable venue. In fact, since opening in 2019, four out the five inhouse technician positions that have become available have been filled by NEScol graduates.”
8 x ETC S4 Jr 25-50°, 16 x Robe miniPointe, 12 x Robe MegaPointe, 2 x Robe RoboSpot BaseStation, 2 x BMFL FollowSpot+Camera, 1 x Robe RoboSpot MotionControl PTZ Camera
PROLIGHTS lighting comprising:
34 x EclFresnel TW 2kW Tuneable White, 24 x EclFresnel TW 1kW Tuneable White, 12 x StudioCob FC PLUS TW, 12 x StudioCob PLUS Barn Doors, White, 140 x Pixie WashXB, 54 x StudioCob FC, 40 x EclProfile HDTWC, 332 x LumiPix 16H, 10 x Smart BatHEX kit of 6 with charging case, 20 x Ra 2000Profile in cardboard
Chroma-Q lighting comprising: 120 x Inspire 65° RGBW in Black, 12 x Color Force II 48, 16 x Color Force II 12, 16 x Color Force II 12 Cyc lens 80 by 35°, 12 x Cyc Lens for Color Force 48
AUDIO: d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers E, Y, V series, V and B subs d&b audiotechnik M6 monitors d&b audiotechnik amps 10D and 30D, 20 x BSS AR 133 Active DI Box, 15 x Radial ProD2 passive DI Box, 36 x Shure MX418/S with A412B base, 4 x Shure SM58-LC, 12 x Shure SM57, 1 x Shure BETA 52A, Shure SM81 (4 off) Shure BETA 98 (4 off) including storage box, 4 x Shure SM81, 1 x Shure BETA 52A, 4 x Shure BETA98 D/S, 50 x Gravity MS 4322 HDB, 30 x Gravity MS 4222 B, 20 x Gravity MS 231 HB, 60 x Gravity MS T 01 B
4 x Panasonic PT RZ21K 3-chip DLP laser projector, 4 x Panasonic Single-chip PT RZ120, 7 x Panasonic Single-chip PT RZ970, 1 x Hippotizer
Karst+ Display Port, 1 x Analog Way Ascender 32, 2 x Analog Way Pulse 2, 1 x Blackmagic ATEM
Television Studio Pro HD, 5 x Decimator MD-Cross V2, 3 x Exterity avstr-e3750 AvediaStream e3750
encoder, 3 x Sony BRC-H800 HD Pan Tilt Zoom
Camera, 1 x Sony RM-IP500 PTZ Camera Remote Controller with Flightcase, 1 x Blackmagic Web
Presenter, 2 x Datapath Fx4 Video Wall Controller, 3 x AvediaStream c1101 chassis, 10 x Interspace Industries MicroCue3, 3 x Interspace Industries
MasterCue, 6 x Interspace Industries CountDown
Touch, 6 x Interspace Industries CountDown Mini Display, 6 x Interspace Industries CountDown Big Display, 2 x Interspace Industries CountDown Maxi Display, 6 x Interspace Industries CombiLamp
CONTROL, NETWORK & DATA MANAGEMENT
1 x Avolites Tiger Touch II, 2 x Avolites Quartz, 2 x Avolites Titan Mobile Wing, 5 x ELO 24-inch touchscreen monitor, 6 x Zero88 FLX S24 Console 2 Universe with Artnet, 6 x Chroma-Q 4Play, 15 x Showtec Single DP-1 16A connector retro-fitted, 1 x Wireless DMX ProBox F-2500 G5, 1 x PROLIGHTS
Upbox1, 1 x UPBOX2, 12 x PROLIGHTS Splitter4wrk
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Above left: The VIP View Bar overlooking the arena.
Left: Hall C at P&J Live played host to the Press & Journal Energy Ball in 2019.
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DUCK & WAFFLE
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KNEKTD installs professional audio and bespoke LED technology systems at the new Duck & Waffle restaurant.
A stone’s throw from the castle ramparts in the heart of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, a new culinary gem has emerged that promises a dining experience like no other in the city. Duck & Waffle, renowned for its signature dishes and unique locations – ranging from the heights of Shanghai to the breathtaking views from London’s Heron Tower, has partnered with leading audio-visual systems integrator KNEKTD to bring the magic of sound and video to its guests.
The installation of Sonance and Yamaha audio, along with custom circular LED video columns has transformed the restaurant’s main dining area, two private dining rooms, and terrace into immersive sensory spaces that captivate and delight diners.
Sound plays such an integral role in creating a memorable atmosphere in any dining establishment, and the Duck & Waffle Edinburgh is no exception. KNEKTD’s expert team meticulously designed and installed state-of-the-art audio and video systems to ensure exceptional sound quality throughout the restaurant.
“We were tasked with designing all the audio, networking and video for the brand’s new flagship Edinburgh restaurant,” said KNEKTD Director, Shaun Wilson. “We were brought in by the same project management team that we worked with at The Maine in Mayfair, who weren’t comfortable with anyone else doing it because we had delivered on that project, fortunately picking up a MONDO-DR Award along the way.”
The main 70 sq m dining area benefits from strategically placed Sonance PS-P63T pendant speakers, delivering crystal-clear audio across a wide frequency range, with bass and sub-bass frequencies provided by Sonance PS-S210SUBT bandpass subwoofers concealed within the banquette seating. The pendant design allows the speakers to be positioned precisely where needed and blend discreetly into the environment. Whether it’s soft, melodic background music or the vibrant beats of a DJ, the Sonance speakers envelop guests with accurate sound coverage, enhancing their culinary journey and creating an ambience that heightens the overall dining experience.
Power for the speaker systems is supplied by Yamaha XMV-8280 and XMV-4140 multi-channel power amplifiers for the mids and highs, with PX-5 and PX-10 amplifiers delivering plenty of headroom for the subwoofers. A Yamaha MTX5-D scalable audio matrix takes care of managing all signal inputs and audio distribution across multiple zones. Two huge cylindrical columns dominate the main dining space, wrapped in LED panels and essentially serving as 360° floor to ceiling video screens, capable of displaying practically any kind of content in high resolution. There’s a DJ facility using Resolume VJ software whose intuitive interface and extensive range of effects allow the DJ to seamlessly mix videos, images, and graphics, transforming the LED wall columns into dynamic visual canvases that engage the audience.
“It’s an incredible space,” remarked Wilson. “The Founder, Shimon Bokovza, is a visionary guy with a unique perception not only in gastronomy but also in design. The London restaurant is known for its fantastic views from the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, and he’s created something really special here in Edinburgh with the huge indoor dining space and the outdoor terrace, a vibrant hub of entertainment with its sweeping views of the city.”
Recognising the importance of intimate gatherings, within the main dining space are two private dining rooms that provide a unique setting
for special occasions. KNEKTD outfitted these exclusive spaces with further Sonance in-ceiling speakers and low-level subwoofers, discreetly integrated into the rooms’ architecture to produce rich and balanced sound without overpowering the conversation. From intimate family gatherings to corporate celebrations, the audio systems ensure that every moment is accompanied by the perfect soundtrack. The main private dining room also includes a Samsung TV which, though carefully hidden behind custom artwork so as not to intrude upon the room’s distinct aesthetic, when revealed makes use of Airplay technology to allow diners to show presentations, videos and photos for special events, and so on.
The success of KNEKTD’s installation at the Duck & Waffle lies not only in the cutting-edge technology but also in the seamless integration of the intuitive control system from Crestron. KNEKTD’s team of experts meticulously engineered the audio-visual infrastructure to ensure smooth operation and user-friendly control. Staff at the Duck & Waffle can manage and control the audio and video systems through a convenient Crestron user interface. This intuitive control panel is custom designed to allow for easy volume adjustments, playlist management, and content scheduling, enabling the restaurant to adapt the atmosphere to different times of the day, or cater to specific events. A fully managed wired and wireless network infrastructure has been installed in the restaurant, providing network and internet access where required for all connected devices. The network is professionally segregated for safety between guests, staff, management, technology, CCTV and POS systems. This allows certain traffic to be prioritised and
19 x Sonance PS-P63T 6.5-inch pendant loudspeaker
10 x Sonance PS-S210SUBT Dual 10-inch bandpass
4 x Sonance PS-63T surface mount speaker
4 x Sonance PS-P43RT 4-inch pendant loudspeaker
2 x Sonance PS-C43RT 4-inch In-Ceiling speaker
1 x Crestron CP4 Control system processor
1 x Yamaha MTX5-D Audio Matrix
1 x Yamaha XMV-8280 8x250w Multichannel amplifier
1 x Yamaha XMV-4140 4x140w Multichannel amplifier
1 x Yamaha PX-5 2x500w Power Amplifier
1 x Yamaha PX-10 2x1000w Power Amplifier
1 x Pioneer DJM-900NXS2 professional DJ mixer
2 x Pioneer CDJ-3000 CDJ multiplayer
LIGHTING AND VIDEO
1 x Samsung The Frame QLED Art Mode TV 55-inch
2 x Custom Cylindrical LED Video Displays
1 x Novastar MCTRL660 Processor
18 x Novastar Taurus TB-30
ensures that each subsystem, and every device connected to it, receives the necessary bandwidth to operate correctly.
Creating a satisfying audio experience for diners at the Duck & Waffle while ensuring the comfort and tranquillity of neighbouring hotel guests posed a unique challenge. Low-frequency sounds and sub-bass frequencies can easily penetrate building structures, causing unwanted vibrations and disturbance. Since the hotel is situated directly above the restaurant, the KNEKTD team recognised the need for effective sound isolation to prevent intrusive low-frequency sound transmission. With their expertise in acoustic design and meticulous attention to detail, the solution was to deploy suspended speakers without any solid connection to the fabric of the building, and to isolate surface mount speakers and subwoofers with acoustically damped fixings, ensuring a harmonious coexistence between the restaurant’s vibrant sound systems and the peaceful atmosphere of the hotel.
The KNEKTD team also worked closely with the project’s design team and the contractor to develop custom housing for the subwoofers within the restaurant’s furniture to ensure that the subs could be hidden away without compromising the necessary management of the bass and sub-bass frequencies.
With meticulous attention to detail and a focus on seamless integration, KNEKTD has successfully elevated the dining experience at Duck & Waffle Edinburgh. The marriage of exceptional sound quality and captivating visuals has turned the restaurant into a destination that tantalises the taste buds and transports guests on a multisensory journey they won’t soon forget.
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ALNWICK / UK EMEA
Southby Productions and Axiom Events enhance a delightful kids play experience with immersive audio and lighting solutions.
Having opened in May earlier this year, Lilidorei at The Alnwick Garden is a magical, mysterious village born out of the imagination of the Duchess of Northumberland and her quest to inspire children’s imaginations though play and adventure.
Operated by independent charity The Alnwick Garden Trust, Lilidorei encourages children of all ages and abilities to enjoy both physical and imaginary play while exploring an immersive world of strange sounds and storytelling. The village is home to nine clans who worship Christmas, and at the heart is Elfwin Drin, the largest play structure in the world, which is the home of Lord Elfwin. However, despite their presence within Lilidorei, the clans cannot be seen by the human eye, but one manner in which their presence is made is through sound, which was a key factor for the Duchess, who wanted to make a real impact with sound effects.
“Sound was massively important to the initial vision, and the technology is so important in delivering this,” she said. “I wanted to make something really immersive, and to make the children react and use their imagination, and we do this through sound, and also through light, and elements of the audio should be slightly unnerving and unsettling – to get the children to question things.”
Southby Productions won the contract to produce and provide the audio solutions, and, according to Project Manager Carys Thomas Steer, the early design and pitching stage consisted of Director Chris Jones and Technical Director Digby Shaw playing an array of sound effects for the Duchess.
Southby’s proposal centred around a d&b audiotechnik Soundscape system to be set up across the park, and the
demonstrations of the system proved crucial in winning the project.
“In early 2021 we gave a demo of how d&b Soundscape works to the Duchess and her lead team in one of the rooms inside Alnwick Castle, with the speakers set up in a circle,” recalled Shaw. “At that time, we as a company were in the early stages of putting together immersive projects, and it blew me away – and this was validated when the Duchess proclaimed that we had managed to do what we told her we could, which in my experience is quite rare!”
Southby drew up technical plans for the Soundscape system, which consisted of almost 300 d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers, powered by 82 5D amplifiers with signal distribution handled by 13 Q-SYS Core 8 Flex units and controlled by a Q-SYS TSC-80w touchscreen panel.
“Looking back at the original technical plans that were drawn up almost three years ago, they did change over the course of the project, but it did not lose its creative vision – which stayed steadfast,” said Thomas Steer. “We had to go through a few stages of rebidding and change submissions of designs as the project moved forward –and these were often designed without knowing the finer detail of the final structures, which speakers would be attached to.”
The d&b audiotechnik speakers in each clan zone are from the xS-Series, with 99 5S WR and 150 4S WR set up
as discreetly as possible, with many attached to poles situated next to Christmas trees, which will grow and eventually conceal the poles and the speakers from view. Others are set up on the perimeter walls, with 42 Bi8 WR subwoofers concealed from view at ground level, including one inside the large ‘Wishing Tree’ structure. Six QSC AD-C6T ceiling speakers are set up in large mushrooms structures located in the clan villages, while eight Dayton Audio HDN-8 transducers are deployed across the bottom of the play structure. There are also eight JBL Control 88M outdoor speakers placed around the mushrooms to add sound reinforcement as required. Each of the clan houses, which are surrounded by speakers, are fully dressed inside to represent the clan that lives there, with visitors encouraged to listen to the sounds that envelop them and look into the windows to see how they live. Every clan is distinctive, and each has its own audio zone and specific sound characteristic and story element.
Shaw and Jones initially worked on the sound design for the clans, and brought in renowned Sound Designer Gareth Fry to deliver the full project.
“This project is interesting because the Duchess was very hands-on and directly involved, which isn’t always the case on other installations I’ve been involved in,” said Fry. “She was very detailed when it came to getting everything
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creatively matched to her overall vision.” Fry’s early meetings with the Duchess centred around her overall sonic vision for the project. “We were working with CAD drawings and pencil sketches of what the site would look like,” said Fry. “And it was a task to work out what the visitor experience is from an audio perspective, such as how verbal or nonverbal the creatures are, or how narrative the audio is.”
The end result, Fry revealed, is one of “walking around and being in a parallel reality, where you can see the structures where the creatures live, but you never see the creatures.”
After establishing this perspective, the prospect of turning into a reality was a complicated one.
The site is made up of multiple separate sound systems with speakers interlinking them. Each speaker is individually amplified, which makes the cable runs to each rack room – located anywhere from 10m – 100m away – complicated.
“Working in a building, you are used to working with a degree of precision when it comes to cabling and cable trays,” said Fry. “Out here, everything is subterranean and less precise, especially with hundreds of trees on site, which grow and evolve over time.”
There are five rack rooms in various buildings, with four concealed within the site and the largest one built off site, just outside the perimeter walls.
“We started off with the idea of having a rack room in each of the clan’s cabins,” said Thomas Steer, “but that soon became unfeasible because
the lighting and IT equipment also needed space, and it got to the point where these cabins – which were supposed to be the homes for fairies, pixies and dwarves – would be too big to be believable.” When it came to the choice of amplifiers, Shaw was particularly keen to get hold of the new 5D models. “Their ultra-compact design meant we could fit four in a space where normally one amp would fit in the rack,” said Shaw. “And they’re very efficient and absolutely perfect for using with the smaller speakers across the site. Southby are Install and Immersive partners with d&b audiotechnik, and they supplied the equipment directly to us. We needed over 80 of the amps, and they all came from their first batch.”
Shaw and Thomas Steer refer to the Q-SYS system as the venue’s ‘brain’ as both audio and lighting effects are controlled by it. “We needed the Q-SYS design to be bulletproof, and so brought in Roland Higham and Chris Blizzard from Gismosys to use their expert knowledge.” said Shaw. “However, it is tried-and-tested equipment, and there is a touchscreen panel with a simple interface for control and scheduling, and staff can start sessions easily and stop it should they need to.
Q-SYS really is a no-brainer when you have to use site-wide equipment which is all linked together.”
Fry also notes the user-friendliness of the Q-SYS system. “I made all the audio files in Logic Pro, and each zone’s audio was sent through the d&b Soundscape unit, which cleverly pans and maps everything,” he said. “Once I’m happy, I record it to a multi-track WAV file which is then
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simply uploaded into Q-SYS and labelled correctly for the playback.”
QSC’s UK distributors Audiologic supplied the equipment to the project, with Simon Jones, Business Manager at Audiologic adding: “Our Application Support Engineer, Anna Shahin, and I collaborated with Digby and Carys on initial Q-SYS designs for the project, with several Q-SYS central proposals. The Q-SYS platform offered so much flexibility with both control and audio management, including multitrack player capacity. We were delighted to be involved and supply the TSC 80 touch panel and 14 Q-SYS Core 8 Flex processors.”
The on-site conditions varied as the weather moved through the seasons, with Shaw and Thomas Steer spending weeks on site earlier this year getting the equipment installed, returning again to get the system commissioned and then preparing for the site to open. “We dealt with a range of different weather conditions, and the rain and snow meant the ground was muddy and slippery, which was difficult at first,” said Shaw. “Overall, it’s been an almost three year process, but it has been worth it, especially now the park is open and you can see the children interacting with everything.”
The installation of the speakers was aided by local contractors who were sourced by Lilidorei Project Co-ordinator Aidan Harrison, which adhered the to the project’s aims of supporting local jobs where possible. “We had various freelance installers from the region to help us physically get things set up,” said Thomas Steer. “It was cost efficient – they would knock the poles in the ground and we’d attach
the speakers at the correct heights. Also the site’s electrical contractors ran the cabling because they do that day-in, day-out, so we discussed running ours in alongside theirs, and that was nicely efficient. “Coming from a primarily theatrical background, we are used to working with teams who are familiar working in that setting and towards a common goal for that type of work. Here, the environment is far different, but everyone adapted to the project really well.”
When it came to designing and deploying a lighting design for the park, Axiom Events were brought into the project as lighting contractors having previously worked with the venue in delivering a light trail for The Garden at Alnwick Castle.
“We came on board in December last year, which was quite late on into the project,” confirmed Andy Jennings, Sales and Project Manager, Axiom Events. “We then got to work site around 9 January, and we had the creative brief on the story of Lilidorei, and from that we specified the lighting setup.”
Jennings and his colleague Robbie Baxter designed the park’s lighting with subtle ways of achieving colour washes, with extra focus on the lighting solutions within the cabins and the large structure, with Steve Holmes programming the system once it was approved and installed. A selection of Prolights fixtures were specified, including ECL Display, Solar 27Q and Studio Cob PFC2, with larger ECL CT+IP Profiles used
99 x d&b audiotechnik 5S WR
150 d&b audiotechnik 4S WR
42 x d&b audiotechnik Bi8-SUB WR
8 x Dayton Audio HDN-8
8 x JBL Control 88M
6 x QSC AD-C6T
2 x d&b audiotechnik DS100
82 x d&b audiotechnik 5D amplifiers
LIGHTING AND EFFECTS:
Prolights fixtures including ECL Display, ECL CT+IP Profile, Solar 27Q, Sudio Cob PFC2
Studio Due Terra plus/ss and Archibar fixtures
Traxon ProPoint Contour
Lucenti Pearl, Topaz, Ruby lamps and Vinci controllers
2 x Pharos LPC X
1 x Pharos TPS
Luminex Gigacore, Luminode, Lumisplit 2.10
1 x Pea Soup Dragon haze machine
13 x Q-SYS Core 8 Flex
1 x Q-SYS TSC-80
to light the play structure, which are custom RAL powder coated to blend in with the park surroundings. Prolights ECL were used inside the clan cabins to emphasise certain theatrical elements, while a variety of Lucenti Pearl, Topaz and Ruby lamps were also utilised, controlled by Lucenti Vinci controllers. Downlighting in the cabins was provided by Traxon Contour RGBW strips, whose versatility proved crucial, while a large number of architectural ground recess fixtures from Studio Due, including the Terra pluss/SS and Archibar fixtures, were implemented throughout.
Jennings worked with Pea Soup for the haze effects that were required, using their IP68-rated Dragon haze machines with a newly developed ducting section for the haze, which is sent out of the cabins.
“When it came to programming we had Steve learn all about Pharos Controls ahead of installing the Pharos LPC X playback controller,” said Jennings. “There are two of those and they are running signals over a Luminex network consisting of Gigacore, Luminode and Lumisplit 2.10. It’s a really impressive collection of equipment and controls, some of which is housed in some interesting looking cabins.
“Every window at the very top level of the play structure is lit up using eight strips of Traxon Contour, and we were also asked to put a light in every other window on the structure –and that was a fun few weeks,” recalled Jennings. “To achieve this we reverse engineered the lights that Monstrum, the Danish company who built the structure, had used, and we concealed the cabling with custom routed Siberian Larch timber to match the internal finish.”
The programming for the lighting in its regular mode allows for the park to be lit up, and there will be specific effects programmed in for Halloween and Christmas when both the audio and lighting will be changed to match the occasion.
“We work closely with AC Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) and one member of their staff, Ben Steppenbeck in particular,”
said Jennings. “We have purchased rental stock from them in the past, but recently we have completed more permanent install work, and Ben was really helpful to bounce ideas off and recommend products, especially the Prolights fixtures which are distributed in the UK by AC-ET.”
Other suppliers of the lighting equipment included ProLight Concepts, Festive Lights, Superlec Direct and Turnock. While dealing with the wet and miserable conditions in the early stages of the install process, Jennings admitted that the biggest challenge they faced was the time constraints having been brought to the project later than was ideal, and the fact that the electricity was delivered to the site later than anticipated – leaving them little time to test the lighting.
“It was a bit of a slog, and we had plenty of late nights –particularly towards the end when the electricity was delivered to the site and we could test the lighting after nightfall,” said Jennings. “We have such a good relationship with The Garden that everyone on site gelled well, and they helped us whenever we needed it. Also working with Southby Productions was great – they installed the Q-SYS core which is running the audio system, and we have integrated into that so that the time-clock sends commands to the lighting system to turn it on and off alongside the audio scheduling.”
With light and sound working hand in hand, the creative vision of the Duchess has been brought to life, and she is thrilled with the outcome.
“Lilidorei has been designed to make children put their mobile devices back into their pockets,” she said. “Sound is what matters here, especially if what you hear makes you stop in your tracks to wonder what’s going on. You will hear goblins running around, trolls rowing, fighting and belching, and fairies, pixies and sprites flying and crying. The Wishing Tree breathes and swallows the wishes posted through its mouth. I had been wanted to do something around ‘play’ for many years, and I hadn’t ever seen anything done to this scale.”
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LA MÔME, CAFÉ DE PARIS, LE NAUTIC BEACH
FRENCH RIVIERA / FRANCE
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APG sound systems are enhancing the listening experience in a variety of locations across the iconic French Riviera, with local integrators PM Production (PMP) working closely with the manufacturer to ensure smooth sounds and smooth delivery for a demanding client base.
Headquartered in Villeneuve-Loubet, south of Nice, and with a secondary office in Gassin which neighbours Saint-Tropez, PMP hs supplied and installed systems in the renowned La Môme restaurant in Cannes, Café de Paris facing the harbour in Saint-Tropez, and Le Nautic Beach restaurant on the seafront in La Croix-Valmer to name a few.
Headed by Alexandre Pirotte, who started the company in his final year of school in 2017, PMP met members of the APG team at a recent edition of JTSE in Paris and was impressed – not only by the company’s product range, but also by its approach to business.
Their relationship has grown in the intervening years, with Pirotte working closely with APG Sales Engineer Rodolphe Portet, who is based in the Pau region of the south of France.
“Working with APG, we have discovered many similarities in our philosophy, our business approach and our pride in the quality of the products and services we offer,” said Pirotte.
“All the projects we’ve done with APG so far have been successful because of these shared values, and the trust APG put in their partners.
“The close proximity, both personally and geographically, also makes for a smooth after-sales service,” continued Pirotte. “If there is a problem, a phone call is made and a solution can quickly be found.”
La Môme Group, which owns La Môme and has expanded from owning a single bar to becoming one of the major entertainment groups in Cannes, with several properties including a private beach, approached PMP to upgrade the sound system at La Môme ahead of the busy summer season. Initially, the owners had envisaged using a specific manufacturer’s product, before being swayed by a demonstration of APG loudspeakers by PMP.
“At first the clients wanted to go with a different brand, but for that there was a six-month wait,” said Pirotte. “We convinced them to do an A/B test at our facility with APG speakers and the ones they had in mind, and the APG model really impressed them. Six weeks later, they were being installed at La Môme.”
The restaurant is situated on rue de Florian in the heart of Cannes, a stone’s throw away from the Palais des Festivals where the biggest stars gather every year for
PM Production delivers crystal clear audio to prestigious Côte d’Azur venues with APG.
La Mome’s outside seating on rue de Florian, Cannes. Photo by Camille Dufosse.
the Cannes Film Festival, and after the first location opened in 2015 the owners have incrementally purchased more property on the cul-de-sac to add a Japanese restaurant, Mido, and more recently, La Môka. Most recently, a retail shop next door to the first La Môme location was purchased to expand the restaurant’s seating. This room is being used in a temporary way, and is decorated in keeping with the La Môme style, with APG speakers and subs installed by PMP. After the busy summer season, the owners plan on knocking through the partition wall to create a much larger indoor restaurant space, making the cul-de-sac an almost fully branded La Môme Group hot spot, and PMP will revisit the site after the building work to recalibrate the system.
“We currently have four iS115 compact subs and nine SPOT 2.6-i loudspeakers in that space, and they look discreet and deliver a really great sound – both at a lower level and when a DJ is pushing the volume later into the evening,” said Pirotte. “This project is ongoing, and we will pick it up again during the down season and look at how the system can be adapted and updated.”
Pirotte recalled the installation was completed at speed because the owners wanted a highquality system in their new room as soon as possible so they could start hosting diners.
“The calibration was quick,” he recalled. “I remember on the evening when the speakers were put up, I received a call at around 7:30pm from one of the directors – I looked at my phone and thought that there must be a problem, but he just wanted to say: ‘Alex, the sound is amazing!’ – and I told him that he could have waited the next day, phone calls at this time are usually for bad news!”
Two Powersoft Quattrocanali 8804 DSP+D amplifiers and a single 2404 power the system, which also includes speakers from APG’s iX-O range occupying one side of the outdoor seating area.
“There are five venues owned by La Môme Group on this one street, and the current speakers in all those rooms are interconnected via Dante,” confirmed Pirotte. “So there are still some speakers for PMP to install and integrate into the system, including in the outdoor space.”
While that work is yet to be completed, Mike Chekli, Artistic Director, La Môme Group is delighted with the audio systems supplied so far, and is looking forward to aligning all La Môme Group’s properties on the street with APG solutions.
“I don’t have much to say outside of praising our integrator PMP and Alexandre for their great professionalism,” he said. “He allowed me to discover a great alternative to a more
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Above: The five venues owned by La Môme Groupe on the cul-de-sac are inter-connected via Dante. Photo by Camille Dufosse.
Inset: Nine APG SPOT 2.6-i loudspeakers are set up in the current indoor dining area.
THE REDEFINITION OF PRE RIG TRUSS.
THE MLT SERIES. ENGINEERED IN GERMANY.
famous and recognised brand, and I am totally satisfied with the APG systems. It is also worth noting that having someone like Alexandre who is very competent, listening to our needs and most importantly available 24 hours a day is no mean feat in this region. It is the beginning of a beautiful and long relationship with great new projects to come.”
Portet is keen to emphasise that APG’s after-sales side of the business is often what maintains a steady flow of work, and that product demonstrations can often be the key to winning a project.
“If APG tried to copy the major brands and a keep large stock of product we would stand no chance,” he said. “But through demonstrations and close relationship we can prove the quality of the products, and over the years we have maintained clients that have full confidence in our products – and they carry stocks so they can demo them when required.
“Alexandre at PMP feels the same – they don’t want to sell a brand for the sake of it, they want to sell fit for purpose solutions, and APG is one part of that solution.
“We like to deal with our after-sales services directly, and so we will work with Alexandre going forward and if issues arise we are available for him. We care about the products and our clients – and also their clients, who are the end users.”
When it came to the new sound system in Café de Paris in Saint-Tropez, there were several customised elements to the project which were all happily accounted for by both APG and PMP.
A bespoke colour finish was placed on all the speaker cabinets to match the interior décor of the café, which is something which APG turned around in six weeks. A financial package was also worked out for the café’s owners, and a three year lease agreement was created for the products, to help the café in the long term after a difficult time during and coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This kind of financing agreement is not something we do all the time, but when you consider that smaller cafes or restaurants are not often in a position to spend a large sum of money in one transaction, it can help them to break down the payments over a long period of time,” commented Portet.
Opened in 1930 and with a stunning view of the port, Café de Paris is a traditional French brasserie known for its style (photos of global celebrities enjoying the establishment adorn the walls) and its prime location.
The café is open from 7am to 3am, and according to Pirotte the brief was ‘crystal clear sound at low levels but also a system that can accommodate the lively late-night atmosphere when a DJ takes over’. Inside the café, Pirotte set up 16 iX5 compact loudspeakers around the perimeter, above eye level, ably enhanced by two stacked iS115 subwoofers. Installing the speakers was a challenge as it was business as usual for the café.
“The café didn’t close while we were putting the speakers in,” said Pirotte. “But we did it in stages across two days, and the cabling was already in place which saved a lot of time.”
The iX5 is a miniature two-way, full-range loudspeaker that offers studio monitor-like compactness and sound quality with improved performance and power handling, and for this project they are finished in sun-reflecting cream-white (RAL 9001).
Outside, one iS112 sub complements two iX8-O speakers, from the iX-O series, the IP54-rated outdoor sister range to the iX series, with power
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Left: Sixteen APG iX5 compact loudspeakers are set up inside Café de Paris in Saint-Tropez, enhanced by two iS115 subwoofers.
DANCE. PLAY. PERFORM
High constant directivity (70°x50° horn)
2-way passive loudspeaker
France www.apg.audio +33(0) 240 466 664 firstname.lastname@example.org
APG is a brand of
for the whole system coming from Powersoft Quattrocanali amplifiers, while the zoning interface is provided by an Ecler MIMO1212 matrix paired with a dedicated touchscreen. Music can also be streamed via Spotify.
Portet noted the importance of pairing the speakers with high quality amplification. “For the past three years, APG has an agreement to sell Powersoft amps for installations with official pre-sets that can be found on the APG and Powersoft websites,” he said. “Powersoft is very reliable, and we sell the amps and speakers together as a solution.”
The same combination of APG and Powersoft is also found in Le Nautic Beach, a beach-fronted café and restaurant ten miles south of Saint-Tropez. Here, PMP have installed 10 iX6-O loudspeakers, with six erected at the top of two supporting poles for the canopy, and four placed on the exterior of the building, with single iS110 subwoofer placed at the base of each pole to add to the ambience.
“It’s not an aggressive sounding system by any means because the venue and space did not warrant that,” said Pirotte. “It’s a good, clean sounding system and after I discussed with Rodolphe the choice of speakers to use here we opted for the
9 x APG Spot 2.6-i
4 x APG iS115
2 x Powersoft Quattrocanali 8804 DSP+D
1 x Powersoft Quattrocanali 2404
Café de Paris
16 x APG iX5
2 x APG iX8-O
2 x APG iS115
1 x APG iS112
1 x Powersoft Quattrocanali 2404
3 x Powersoft Quattrocanali 4804
Le Nautic Beach
10 x APG iX6-O loudspeakers
4 x APG iS110 subwoofers
2 x Powersoft Quattrocanali 2404
6in coaxial speaker, which is more than enough for the space. Each speaker gives 120° of coverage, so across the venue each table receives a really clear sound.”
Two Powersoft Quattrocanali 2404 amps power the system, controlled by Powersoft WMP Touch controlling the DSP to the different audio zones. In a similar arrangement to that with La Môme Group, PMP will return to Le Nautic Beach after the summer season to replace the ageing speakers inside the restaurant with APG loudspeakers to match the audio quality currently enjoyed by the outside diners. For Portet, this type of installation represents a large part of APG’s turnover. “I would say that this is a very typical type of speaker installation for a beach bar and restaurant of this kind, with nothing installed at eye-level, and roughly 80% of our business is in hospitality venues such as this,” he stated. “It was around three years ago that APG changed our strategy, and as part of that I would make a point of revisiting projects as part of the after sales service to maintain a close relationship with those involved,” he continued. “This is very much an industry based on relationships, and I’m very happy with how our relationship with PMP is evolving.”
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Left: Ten APG iX6-O loudspeakers provide the coverage in the outdoor seating area at Le Nautic Beach.
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DUBAI, UAE EMEA
Em-Tec delivers stunning AV solutions to sky-scraping Dubai nightclub.
Having opened in 2021, Privilege quickly became one of Dubai’s hottest nightclubs thanks to its breath-taking location – 75 floors up at SLS Dubai Hotel and Residences – and received recognition in the Guinness World Records for having the world’s highest outdoor pool.
The owners wanted a ‘best in class club with an exceptional sound and visual experience’ and Em-Tec delivered on the brief with an eyecatching lighting system as well as a dynamic Funktion-One sound system that consisted of the first installation of the Evo X loudspeakers in the Middle East.
Initially consisting of a complex array of CHAUVET Professional fixtures and a stunning LED-lined chandelier, Em-Tec has since enhanced the club’s visuals with additional Prolights fixtures and by updating the chandelier to make its LED strips programmable.
Having traversed through the latter stages of the pandemic with various states of restrictions and opening phases, the Em-Tec team went back to the venue to iron out some minor issues that were concerning the owners, and took the opportunity to enhance the lighting design.
“The club had opened but never really gathered much momentum with the COVID restrictions coming and going,” explained Em-Tec General Manager Armand Bulder. “Eventually, after the restrictions were fully lifted and the club re-opened, we went back to the venue for some discussions with the club’s new General Manager to assess some issues of concern.
“The club is effectively a huge glass room, so it’s a challenging acoustic environment, and so we advised the addition of some curtains to soak up some of the sound and prevent too many reflections,” said Bulder.
“While we were doing that, we realised that we could utilise the skills of a new member of our team – Lighting Designer Alex Douglas – to look at the lighting system in there.”
When Privilege first opened the lighting set up consisted of a range of CHAUVET fixtures including the Rogue R1 BeamWash, Rogue R1 FX-B, Intimidator Hybrid 140DR and Strike 4 models. In addition, the custom chandelier was fitted above the dancefloor with static RGD LED strips. After Douglas analysed the set up, he specified an additional set of Prolights ArenaCob 4FC and Air 5Fan fixtures, and for the RGB LED strips on the chandelier to be replaced with programmable strips. A total of 60 RGB B6021-5SL programmable LED strips now adorn the chandelier, and Douglas went about connecting them to a 24 DMX512RDMR6 decoders and a Madrix Luna 8 network node, which is then programmed and controlled by Madrix software.
Utilising the new setup, Douglas has designed and programmed a wide range of visibly impressive looks and created a more immersive environment for club goers.
“Alex came up with the concept of having each one of the chandelier’s rings individually controllable using Madrix control, and with that is able to make some super cool movements,” said Bulder. “Overall, we were able to use what was already in there, add some extra fixtures and a new dynamic element to the chandelier to enhance the space and give a really cool guest experience.”
Mapping the LED pixels was undertaken by Donnie de Dios, while
Douglas used the ChamSys MagicQ MQ70 to programme and control the lighting for precise control over every aspect of the show, integrating the two technologies to create visual displays that captivate the audiences.
By strategically positioning the Prolights ArenaCob 4FC fixtures around the videowall to mimic the colours displayed on the screens, Douglas achieved impressive visual effects.
The Prolights fixtures were supplied by PRO LAB, Prolights distributor in the UAE, and Rami Harber, CEO of PRO LAB, expressed great satisfaction with the outcome of the project, stating: “Our commitment to delivering excellence is reflected in our supply of top-of-the-line equipment, like Prolights fixtures, for the Em-Tec project at Privilege. “Through this collaboration, we have showcased the power of advanced technology and expertise in creating unforgettable experiences, and we are dedicated to providing our clients with the tools they need to achieve their vision.”
When it came to choosing an audio solution for the club, the Em-Tec team, led by Andrew Williams who drew up the sound system’s design and oversaw its installation, agreed that Funktion-One’s Evo X would be ideal. “We are Funktion-One distributors in the Middle East,” continued Bulder, “and we just knew that the new Evo X speakers would sound phenomenal in there.”
Williams had first heard the Evo X during a demonstration at the Funktion-One factory and was immediately impressed by what he heard. “I knew they would be a perfect fit for a venue the size of Privilege,” said Williams. “I loved the amazing high frequency, the mid range clarity, and its depth. The wide horizontal dispersion made it ideal for this application, and it can deliver the required high SPL from a relatively small box.”
However, the room wasn’t without its challenges as the hard surfaces and strange shape caused some initial head scratching.
“The shape of the room is a little odd,” said Bulder, “but we managed to counter that by setting up the Evo X speakers in a flown four point configuration and pointing inwards to cover the main dancefloor.”
Complementing the main club space, the VIP room is equipped with F81.2 and F101.2 loudspeakers, while an MB210LP low profile subwoofer, which is placed under the seating, adds extra warmth to the back of the room. “The whole system sounds phenomenal in there,” added Bulder, who promised more of the same in the future across venues in the city. “In Dubai, we have more Evo X installations in progress because Funktion-One is at the very core of our business.”
4 x Funktion-One Evo X
2 x Funktion-One F101.2
4 x Funktion-One F81.2
4 x Funktion-One BR218
1 x Funktion-One MB210LP
16 x CHAUVET Rogue R1 BeamWash
8 x CHAUVET Intimidator Hybrid 140SR 19
8 x CHAUVET Rogue R1 FX-B
8 x CHAUVET Rogue R1 BeamWash
10 x CHAUVET Strike 4
6 x CHAUVET ColorRado 2 Quad Tour
4 x CHAUVET Amhaze Whisper
7 x Prolights ArenaCob 4FC
5 x Prolights Air 5Fan
1 x ChamSys MagicQ MQ70
1 x Madrix Luna 8
60m RGB B6021-5SL programmable LED strip
Above and previous page: Photos by Fleystars.
Below: The ChamSys MagicQ MQ70 in Privilege, Photo by Drones by Nomad.
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CHARLOTTE, USA AMERICAS
New EDM nightclub dazzles attendees with powerful idesign lighting and trailblazing E11EVEN
Sound by DAS Audio.
Like many modern US cities, the downtown area of Charlotte, North Carolina, is undergoing something of a renaissance, with urban renewal bringing in a new and younger demographic eager to live and socialise in the vibe of city life.
None of this is lost on entrepreneur and club owner Eric Gussin, a world traveller whose Trio nightclub in Charleston, South Carolina was enjoying a reputation among locals and visitors as one of that city’s hot spots following its completion in 2019.
With the original site quickly proving to be one of the biggest nightclub draws in the Charleston area, Gussin soon turned his attention to expanding in the North.
“Charlotte is a great city with a thriving nightlife and dance music community, but they’ve really not had a place to dance until now,” said Gussin, who has brought the vibe of Trio Charleston to the much larger Charlotte venue. The multimillion-dollar EDM venue and lounge burst onto the city’s South End with a busy line-up of big-name DJs
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including Angelo the Kid, Rivas, Soto, Twinz, and OneLove throughout its opening weekend. This was combined with a premium video and lighting system lighting from Michael Meacham of idesign and powerful, earth-shaking sound courtesy of E11EVEN Sound by DAS Audio.
Designed by DAS Audio Hospitality and Nightclub National Sales Manager John Fiorito and installed by Guillermo “Willy” Rodriguez of Willy-Tech Services, the audio system includes 12 ES-158 three-way 15in full-range systems, augmented by eight DAS Audio ARTEC 326 two-way dual 6in systems and four ARTEC 310.96 two-way 10in systems. Powerful bottom end is amply handled by eight ES-221 dual 21in subwoofers and a pair of ES-212 compact dual 12in subs, while eight DECO-6-TB coaxial 6in ceiling speakers cover the peripheral areas. Power is handled by four EP-10K4 4-channel 2100W amps, six EP-14K4-blue two-channel 4400W amps, one P-2K4 four-channel 600W amp and one EP-6K4 four-channel 1,200W amp.
The system’s tuning was commissioned by Fiorito with Geovanni Ortiz using Rational Acoustic SMAART. Then once the room was filled with people, adjustments were made by ear and personal preferences.
As Gussin explained, the team’s previous experience with E11EVEN Sound by DAS Audio made the decision easy: “We were the first installation of E11EVEN Sound by DAS Audio in Charleston, and we love that system. The Charlotte club is a larger space, so it made sense to do the same thing and just get a bigger system.”
Charlotte’s Trio marks yet another collaboration between Meacham and Fiorito, who worked together on the original Charleston nightclub, one of many projects spanning their 25-year relationship. The duo’s previous projects include the Miami-based ‘superclub’ E11EVEN as well as its neighbour, the opulent restaurant Queen in the historic Paris Theater.
The custom-made sound installations behind the infamous E11EVEN ‘superclub’ proved to be such a game-
changer that they went on to feature in DAS Audio’s future nightclub projects along with the Trio sites in Charleston and Charlotte.
Born out of demands for audio systems that could withstand the extremes of nightclub AVL, Fiorito explained how E11EVEN Sound has become an increasingly popular feature in such venues:
“Engineers developing products do not always realise the abuse and stress DJs incur to the sound system. There is not a front of house engineer to properly mix the show, and ensure nobody is redlining the sound system, and monitoring a console to protect the system and ensure everything sounds perfect,” he said.
“So, I went back to the original products and basically added components, strengthened components, added boxes that put out more output with better sound quality – and that is how E11EVEN sound was developed.
“It was developed to meet the artist’s needs and to ensure it could take the extreme pounding of DJs redlining systems all night long, and still protect and perform and not have drivers or other components fail.”
However, for Charlotte’s Trio, the plan was to ‘step it up’ in comparison to its predecessor. “Eric wanted the best sound,” Fiorito added. “He wanted to ensure that we weren’t going to do anything twice, which is what happened in the first Trio because he was on a budget and he wound up upgrading it later.
“So, he wanted to have the best of everything, he wanted to run a system that never stopped at 60% of its capability to ensure no distortion and clarity in the sound system. He also wanted perfect coverage, so no matter where you stand on that dancefloor, every spot is evenly distributed.” In similar fashion, no expense was spared in giving Trio attendees an immersive “festival-like” experience through
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Custom P5 LED Video bars combine with Kvant Laser Projectors and Cameo lighting fixtures to enhance the venue’s visual appeal.
Cameo For Lumen Beings®
Design by iDesign
the lighting and video design. As Meacham described, with Trio’s speciality being in EDM, the desire was to create an atmosphere similar to that of festival halls seen at events such as EDC or Ultra Music Festival.
“I wanted to have some crossover from the first Trio, which I think we managed, but on a broader scale,” Meacham recounted. “We have some very powerful lasers and powerful custom-made P5 Video LED bars; we threw all our tricks and technology at it and it really shows when you’re there experiencing the venue.”
In addition to the 332 custom P5 LED Video bars in a wave pattern throughout the ceiling, six Kvant Laser Projectors
6.8W are set up alongside 58 Cameo EVOS W3 fixtures and 19 Cameo Q-Spots RGBWs all controlled by an MA Lighting grandMA3 console.
Referring to Cameo as ‘the perfect fit’ for nightclub installations, Meacham explained that designing the
E11EVEN Sound by DAS Audio comprising:
12 x ES-158 with flyware for array of 3, 8 x ES-221 dual 21-inch subs, 8 x ES-26 dual 6-inch with 80X80 horn, 4 x ES-10 ES10 10-inch with 110-degree horn, 2 x DES-212 subs, dual 12-inch
DJ MIXERS 4 x Pioneer CDJ3000, 1 x Pioneer A9, 4 x ES20A monitors, 2 x ES1521A 15-inch mid with 21-inch sub
1 x Furman PL plus CE, 3 x E11EVEN IO48 signal processors manufactured by NST Audio UK, 2 x DAS Audio EP-6K4, 4 x DAS Audio EP-10K4, 7 x DAS Audio EP-14K2
332 x custom P5 LED Video bars , 84 x P3.9 video cabinets, 58 x Cameo EVOS W3, 6 x Kvant Laser Projectors 6.8w, 16 x S400 RGBW LED strobes, 19 x Cameo Q-Spots RGBW
lighting for a nightclub such as Trio Charlotte, his signature look is to include high-contrast features among a negative space in order to provide attendees with a variety of experience levels.
“If you’re constantly going at 100% then you get to a point when there’s nowhere else to go,” he said. “I like enjoying adding a different shape – maybe adding a light in between the dark spaces, and that’s what we wanted to do with Trio. Again, something that is just different. And I also wanted it to be so over the top at the moments when you want to push people over.”
To help provide Gussin a detailed idea as to how the finished project would look, idesign used Depence by Syncronorm to create renders for Trio with a remarkable result using VR headsets to provide as much of a realistic image as possible.
Meacham said: “When you compare the renders and
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JUST AS BIG
System optimizationwithFIRﬁltersthroughDASaim TM
8-Channel,ClassD ampliﬁer,6000W RMS
1MeasuredMaximum SPLat1m usingburstnoise
System optimizationwithFIRﬁltersthroughDASaim TM
4-Channel,ClassD ampliﬁer3000W RMS
the final product they look identical. The VR renders are provided to our client’s in a VR headset. I really can’t stress enough using Depence by Syncronorm has been such a visual game changer in my career.”
With Vectorworks utilised to export the technology, this allowed the whole design to be pre-visualised by the time the idesign team arrived, leaving them with only a few minor tweaks left to complete.
Meacham added: “Without having that part of the technology it would have made demonstrating the proofs of the concept a lot more complicated. But my favourite thing in my toolbox is the realistic renders, the creative pre-viz programming, and providing your clients realistic renders as to what they’re going to get.”
Response from artists and guests alike has been overwhelmingly positive, reported Angelo Villaraut, the club’s head DJ. “The sound is amazing – you can feel it, but it’s not hurting you. You can still talk to the person next to you. It’s one of the best sound systems I’ve ever heard.”
Gussin agreed: “We’re able to bring high-profile artists in, and they’re always impressed to find such a high calibre of lighting and visual elements here. We wanted that wow factor, and we definitely got it.”
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“The sound is amazing – you can feel it, but it’s not hurting you. You can still talk to the person next to you. It’s one of the best sound systems I’ve ever heard.”
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Since 1999, Gilley’s has served up a rootin’-tootin’ mix of live music, food and drink and linedancing for visitors who regularly flock to the entertainment capital of the world.
In 2010, following a brief closure, the Westernthemed restaurant and dance hall relocated to Treasure Island Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip and has continued to attract large crowds at its current site, with its mechanical bull-riding ring proving a particular draw for brave visitors wanting to try their luck.
However, after 12 years, the Treasure Island team decided the AV installations that had been working relentlessly all that time were due for an upgrade. With a need for audio and lighting that could withstand consistent and rigorous use, the team turned to a new line of high-quality products by Blizzard Pro and K-array. Steve Gorski, President of SG Western, was brought on board to source and order the appropriate K-Array products after having previously sold Gilley’s its original audio system 13 years prior. Given his extensive knowledge of Blizzard Pro products, Gorski was also
tasked with choosing the appropriate lighting replacements. “Gilley’s wanted to keep the audio system very similar in terms of the wiring, infrastructure, and hanging points,” Gorski explained. “It would have added a lot more costs to redo everything. The AV just needed updating with better performance while still being as close as to the original tech as possible, so it was more of a retrofit – a refresh, if you will. And that was the same for the lights also.”
The Gilley’s team were instantly impressed not only with K-array’s wide range of products available, but also the assistance and vast knowledge of the manufacturer’s cohort, especially K-array USA President Rusty Waite.
As Cliff Lum, Manager of the Sound and Video Media at Treasure Island explained: “Rusty came in and established a great relationship with us, I truly value his extensive knowledge of audio and his in-depth details of all aspects of K-array products. “We didn’t have many options to explore due to supply issues with other manufactures, Lum continued. “As we explored our options, which are very good here in Las
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VEGAS / USA AMERICAS
Blizzard Pro and K-array come together to give popular honky-tonk venue a modern and animated refresh.
We’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Mondo judging panel for declaring us winners of the 2023 Mondo-DR Sustainability Award.
There’s never been a more important time for the AV world to reduce its environmental impact – so come and join us in putting sustainability at the very heart of our industry.
To find out more, visit www.genelec.com/sustainability
Image courtesy of Supercell, Helsinki.
AUDIO: K-array MUGELLO System consisting of:
2 x KH2 4 x KH2P 1 x KS3
1 x KS3P
1 x KS4 1 x KSP4
22 x Blizzard Lighting GMX 200, 14 x Blizzard Lighting Flurry Z, 25 x Blizzard Lighting Motif Atelier 8 FX, 2 x Blizzard Lighting Motif Atelier 16 FX
Vegas, we found the lead time for the other manufactures was too great – up to a year or even longer.”
This wasn’t the case for K-array as its equipment was available to demo with very quick turnaround, the results impressed Lum and the team.
“Rusty was very generous with us and let us take our time demoing the gear until we felt comfortable, and it was a no-brainer for us to go ahead and purchase the K-array package. “The demo was very worthwhile and the setup allowed for excellent headroom and clarity,” continued Lum. “The system could be tuned soft at low levels, or we could run it hotter for bigger, louder bands with great results. We are very pleased with it.”
Over the course of two months, the team installed a K-array MUGELLO System in a L-R line array configuration flown either side of the stage, with two Thunder KS4 subwoofers fitted underneath. Veteran live and studio engineer Rick Camp from RC1 Productions was brought in to help tune the system. “With his vast knowledge and many years of experience both on and off the road, it was fun working with him,” Lum added. “With Waite, Camp, and our in-house engineers the cabinets and their internal DSPs were tuned and set. The process was great and again Rusty Waite is a master at his craft.”
The lighting for Gilley’s, meanwhile, was replaced gradually over the course of a year. Gorski, Carlos Elorza of Convention AV at Treasure Island, and Frank Luppino, Director of Sales & Marketing at Blizzard Pro, worked together to completely renovate the existing installations. With Gilley’s having been previously fitted with a Blizzard lighting network, Luppino was delighted to be involved with the venue once again: “Obviously, Las Vegas is the Mecca of entertainment and to have fixtures in a predominant restaurant and nightclub in Vegas for us was very important. For us, it was quite wonderful to be brought in.” After multiple site surveys, the team initially
chose 22 of Blizzard’s GMAX200 LED Yoke fixtures, 20 Motif Atelier 8FX, before adding 14 Flurry Z installed above the venue’s open dance hall and staging area.
The team were still eager to keep the original look of Gilley’s whilst ensuring full coverage as well as providing the proper patterns which the team thought the Blizzard Pro Motif Atelier fixtures achieved perfectly, all the while ensuring the technology could run trustfully with intense usage.
“We decided we needed prisms in the moving yokes with gobos in them to give Gilley’s the fun vibe, all without breaking the bank, and really that’s where we looked at when picking the right fixtures,” Luppino explained. “But, also, this technology runs consistently for 16 hours a day, so you need longevity and that’s why we chose those fixtures.”
Although the whole process was “breezy” according to Lum, the Gilley’s team did have to spend time training themselves with the new K-array Kommander amplifier, which was different to their conventional amplifiers. However, with a helping hand from Waite as well as some tutorial videos online, the team were able to successfully setup the system after having demoed all passive components. “This was one of those projects when it was fun,” Luppino explained.
“I give a lot of credit to the Treasure Island AV team. They did the install, and I give them a lot of credit because they know what they’re doing which was very refreshing.”
Both Gorski and Lum similarly praised all the hard work of the AV team in helping to create a “smooth” process throughout the installation through great communication and the application of in-depth knowledge.
As Lum explained: “The break in has gone well and our in-house engineers are experiencing more success with the K-array system on a daily basis. They pay attention to details and are very passionate about their craft – and most importantly room sounds good, the bands and staff are happy in there.”
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JETWING LIGHTHOUSE HOTEL
GALLE / SRI LANKA APAC
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Hotel on high receives an audio elevation courtesy of a Void Acoustics system installed by Digital Ear.
Situated with an elevated vantage point overlooking the Indian Ocean, the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel in Galle, Sri Lanka has received a massive audio upgrade with the installation of a new Void Acoustics sound system after partnering with Digital Ear, the regional distributor of the speaker manufacturer. The beachfront property owners wanted to offer guests exclusive entertainment opportunities and an enhanced audio experience, so tasked Digital Ear with designing a high-class sound system that complemented the hotel’s surroundings. With a speciality in supplying high-end audio and luxury lifestyle products, the team at Digital Ear set about specifying and deploying an audio system which was both eye-catching and unobtrusive, and state-of-the-art while also withstanding the demands of the outdoor salty environment.
The hotel required its audio enhancements in two specific entertainment zones. The Anchor Bar on the ground floor is situated next to the outdoor pool, while the Coat of Arms Restaurant is on the first floor and features a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean.
After analysing what was needed for the different spaces, Digital Ear installed a pair of outdoor-friendly Void Acoustics Cyclone 8 speakers in the Anchor Bar, while in the Coat of Arms Restaurant four Inigo 6S loudspeakers were deployed. Both sets of speakers feature a customised finish in order to blend in with the venue’s décor.
“As the hotel previously didn’t have any audio system in place for the Anchor Bar or the Coat of Arms Restaurant, they required a complete sound system designed and installed in these high footfall locations for the guests,” said Haren Perera, Managing Director of Digital Ear. “The Cyclone 8 speakers feature a UV resilient cellulose finish and weather-protected IP55 rating, making them ideal for the hotel’s beachfront location. As the colour theme of the bar is orange, we were able to match it with orange coloured Cyclone 8 speakers, and due to the impressive SPL these speakers produce, we were able to cover the bar with just two speakers.
“The ability to colour-match the speakers with the hotel’s interior enabled us to seamlessly blend the speakers into the décor of the hotel, something which provides a ‘wow’ factor for our client and their guests,” continued Perera. “The colour matching was completed by Void in the manufacturing process. We obtained the specifications from the client which we then passed on to Void before we installed them.”
The décor in the Coat of Arms Restaurant is more rustic, and so a copper finish was chosen for the Inigo 6S units used in that area. “This space serves as the hotel’s primary bar with a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean, and given its decoration we decided to give the speakers a unique copper/ brown colour,” said Perera. “The music played here is of a low volume. So, we strategically placed four speakers to cover the whole area.”
Powering the system is one Void Acoustics Bias D1 energysaving amplifier for each room.
“We only required one Bias D1 amplifier for both the Anchor Bar and Coat of Arms Restaurant as this amplifier has its own presets which ensures that the correct power is delivered to all the speakers, thereby securing their quality and longevity,” explained Perera. “This amplifier also has a built in DSP which routes the audio channels accordingly.”
One challenge Perera met during installation was the prevention of sound leakage from the poolside area and pizza bar to the guest rooms overlooking the area. “To overcome this, we strategically placed the speakers in a position so that they maintain a constant SPL across the venue, ensuring even distribution of sound,” he said. “Having a good SPL level means the system is loud enough to be enjoyed by guests in the immediate vicinity, without causing a disturbance to the guest
Below: Four Void Acoustics Inigo 6S loudspeakers are deployed in the Coat of Arms restaurant at Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel.
rooms nearby.” In each space a Bluesound Professional B100S network music player is used for playback. The B100S is based on the established BluOS platform and is capable of playing and distributing content from local network storage, as well as from a large number of streaming services, including some specifically designed for commercial use. The successful deployment of the sound system has enabled the hotel to expand its entertainment offerings, including pool parties and larger DJ sets, none of which had been possible before.
“The Jetwing group was very impressed with the install and the system’s functional capabilities,” commented Perera. “We are sure this is just a start as there are more upcoming projects in their pipeline that can use Void Acoustics.”
Dmitri Cooray, Deputy Managing Director, Jetwing Hotels, said: “This marks the first time we have had a Void Acoustics system installed in one of our properties within the Jetwing Hotels Group and we really couldn’t be more delighted with the result. Void Acoustics ticks many of the boxes – colour customisation, sonic perfection and weatherproof capability. We will certainly be considering more Void Acoustics installations in some of our other Jetwing properties in the future.”
2 X Bluesound Pro B100S
2 X Void Acoustics D1 Amplifier
2 X Void Acoustics Cyclone 8
4 X Void Acoustics Indigo 6S
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Above: Customised orange coloured Cyclone 8 speakers are set up in the Anchor Bar.
Right: The Inigo 6S loudspeakers in a customised finish to match the interior decor.
BUSINESS 103 BUSINESS | WWW.MONDODR.COM 104 SHOW REPORT PLASA Show, London, UK 108 COMPANY PROFILE Listen Technologies 110 INSIDE VIEW L-Acoustics 114 IN DISCUSSION Clair Global Integration 118 IN DETAIL Prolight Concepts 120 PRODUCT GUIDE Lasers & Special Effects
PLASA Show 2023
LONDON, UK / 3 - 5 SEPTEMBER EMEA
This year’s PLASA show saw over 200 eminent brands taking on the unexpected early September heatwave to showcase their wide range of AV products, with some exciting new additions to boot. Visitors, manufacturers, distributors from around the globe descended on Olympia London for the popular trade show to see the latest technological advancements from the worlds of audio, AV, lighting, rigging and staging.
Adam Hall Group presented the latest product highlights of two of its brands – Cameo and LD Systems. This year the main focus was on the lighting solutions from Cameo and its new PIXBAR G2 IP65 LED Bar series. In addition to the PIXBAR G2 series, visitors got to see the OTOS SP6 IP65 Spot Profile, the OPUS SP5+ Profile Moving Head with optimised LED engine, the compact AZOR S2 Spot Moving Head and the S2 IP65
LED Softlight Panel. Robert Juliat exhibited with Sound Technology, its exclusive distributor for the England, Scotland and Wales, and its stand featured Robert Juliat LED products, focusing on the Sully 4C profile and Fresnel fixtures and Tibo HE in the generic ranges, Dalis 862 variable white and Dalis 864 4-colour Footlights, and RJ Arthur LT 800W LED long-throw 4°-10° followspot. A presentation of Robert Juliat’s bespoke solution for followspot technology and intelligent lighting, SpotMe, was also held. SpotMe takes its lead simply and efficiently from the movements of a Robert Juliat followspot, and is able to produce tracking information in real-time, with no emitters or cameras on stage or the performers. Claypaky presented the world premiere of its Midi-B FX and ADB’s Actoris Profile FC during the show. 2023 also marked the first PLASA London appearance of the ultra-versatile and weather-resistant fixture Skylos, as well as the Arolla Aqua, Sharpy-X-Spot, Buddylight, Mini-B Aqua, Mini-B Spot, Tambora Linear 60, and the Volero Wave. Ayrton launched its new IP65-rated Argo 6 Wash and Argo 6 FX fixtures. Argo 6 presents a minimalist design incorporating features for total protection against harsh weather with easier internal access. A new composite alloy, reduction in thickness of the parts, an optimised cooling system, simplified lens guidance, and integration of low-density optical components, mean Ayrton has been able to reduce overall weight by 20%. EM Acoustics, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2023, unveiled the latest addition to the Reference Series, the ultra-compact
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6 7 9 11
R5 loudspeaker. The Reference Series is characterised by its low-profile design and exceptional quality, offering full-range point source loudspeakers that boast remarkably flat frequency and phase responses. DiGiCo took the opportunity to debut its Quantum852, the new flagship of the DiGiCo family, at the PLASA Show. The Quantum852 represents a significant leap forward in processing power and boasts a 1000-nit LCD screens that ensure visibility even in full daylight. As is customary at PLASA, Robe’s huge booth saw scheduled product demonstrations throughout the show as the company launched three new products; iFORTE LTX WB, FORTE Fresnel, and FORTE PC. The team also debuted a brand-new live performance concept with Robe’s partner companies Anolis and Artistic Licence being on adjacent stands. Three talented performers took to the stage with a story devised by Robe’s creative team to excite and enthral visitors with a mind-boggling lightshow utilising all Robe’s newest technologies. TechLED showcased its dazzling range of UK-manufactured lighting effects. Abstract’s key lighting effects units were demonstrated during the show, including the Abstract Candi Blox and Abstract Candi Bar, the Abstract X-Lite Pro freestanding lighting system and the Abstract X-Drive. The popular Abstract-supplied, Pixel Neon lighting system was also demonstrated. Wharfedale Pro presented a wide variety of its hardware, ranging from the flagship WLA-1 Hybrid Curvature Array to the reliable workhorse Delta-AXF series, and the DSP Controller v1.1.8, the release of the latest version of its DSP Controller Software. Outboard previewed the latest product innovations from the TiMax family of immersive audio and
The Highlite stand.
The CHAUVET Professional team.
Jeroen Woolderink of Beamz.
Luke Edwards of Vari-Lite.
Stephen Button and Marcus Blight of Sennheiser.
The MDG Fog stand.
Gareth Collyer of NEXO
Germain Simon, Mary Beth Henson and Jeff Woodford of L-Acoustics.
Jeroen Carette of Lucenti.
Kevin Arkins of GDS Pioneering Light.
Graham Hill and Koy Neminathan of Elation Professional.
Cat Shepherd and Opasna Randev of ETC.
Matthew Youngs of Broadweigh.
3 105 5
Simon Browne of Clear-Com.
4 8 12 1314
show control products. Following another of the company’s busiest years, both in sales and in product development, OutBoard showed new software enhancements to TiMax2 SoundHub, including audio and workflow previews of its new spatial production reverb addition. Visitors to the L-Acoustics stand experienced first-hand new products that were recently announced during the company’s Keynote held at the iconic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles –including the L2 from its new L Series – with its patented Progressive UltraDense Line Source (PULS) technology. Also present at the booth was the LA7.16 amplified controller as well as an interactive L-ISA Studio workstation and Soka, the smaller sibling of the powerful Syva. NEXO announced the expansion of its P+ Series during the show, with the new the P18 and L20 sub. Joining a range that already includes P8, P10, P12 and P15 models, the new P18 employs a long-excursion, Neodymium 18-inch LF /4-inch diaphragm HF coaxial driver in a curvilinear enclosure of custom birch and poplar plywood. Obsidian Control Systems presented a host of new innovations including the modular NX1 lighting console and latest ONYX software, as well as the world’s first IP65 data distribution range and other NETRON data distribution devices. A humid few days did little to dampen the spirits of attendees and exhibitors at PLASA 2023 with thousands flooding to get a glance at some of the new technologies on show. Not only were attendees treated to some of the latest product innovations within the industry, but also a series of innovative seminars in Visual Storytelling, Resilience, Safety and Health in Production, Sustainability, and much more. Some manufacturers went above and beyond too, with a variety of high-quality demonstrations for a fully immersive experience that gave just a small glimpse of what audiences can soon expect in a real-life setting.
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1 BlackTrax on the CAST Group stand.
2 The TAIT team on its stand.
3 Simon Barrett of GLP.
4 The Robert Juliat team.
5 Mary Bratton of TechLED.
6 The Peavey Commercial Audio team.
7 The Martin Audio team with The Bug Club.
GIS AG I swiss lifting solutions I CH-6247 Schötz I Phone +41 41 984 11 33 firstname.lastname@example.org I www.gis-ag.ch LONG-LASTING POWERFUL QUIET LIGHT ELECTRIC CHAIN HOIST LP RIG IT EASY WITH GIS 3 YEAR WARRANTY Every word Every note Everywhere After over 40 years, our loudspeaker engineers know how to craft the perfect sound solution for any space. www.renkus-heinz.com Subscribe to mondodr.com/subscriptions
AS RENOWNED ASSISTIVE LISTENING AND COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS MANUFACTURER LISTEN TECHNOLOGIES CELEBRATES ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR, CEO AND PRESIDENT MAILE KEONE EXPLAINS HOW THE COMPANY HAS ADAPTED TO THE DEMANDS OF AUDIENCES AND VENUES TO ENSURE ATTENDEES WITH HEARING DIFFICULTIES ARE CATERED FOR, EVEN IN THE MOST CHALLENGING LISTENING ENVIRONMENTS.
Back in 1998, Listen Technologies founder Russ Gentner wanted to create a product for people with hearing loss that would help them hear clearly in challenging listening environments. Now, 25 years later, as President and CEO Maile Keone described: “Listen Technologies designs and manufactures innovative solutions that not only serve those with hearing loss, but also enable inclusive experiences for all guests at venues where Listen Technologies solutions are available.”
As well as improving the audio clarity for venue attendees, “our solutions help people overcome the challenges of hearing loss, distance, language, acoustics, and noise so they can hear clearly and engage in challenging listening environments,” Keone added.
Throughout its history, Listen’s solutions have been installed in a wide variety of venues including houses of worship, higher education facilities, performing arts centres, courtrooms, on leisure tours, and in manufacturing plants.
With wireless listening solutions across four types of technology: Audio over Wi-Fi, infrared, radio frequency or FM, and two-way communication, Listen’s solutions are designed to adapt and provide quality sound to attendees for any event.
It all began with Listen Technologies jumping into the assistive listening market with two innovative products in the radio frequency product line family that were among the first to offer built-in displays, 57 channels, SmartCharge charging circuitry, and outstanding audio quality.
As Keone explained: “After the initial assistive listening products started to take off and gain a solid hold in the marketplace, Listen Technologies quickly added new products, including the successful LR-600 Wireless Speaker/Receiver and the LR-300 Digital Receiver. These products continued to be leaders in the assistive listening space for years to come. Listen Technologies allows venues in America to meet legislative requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for assistive listening, while providing an exceptional listening experience.”
Having joined Listen Technologies in November 2013 as the VP of Marketing, Keone’s current role as President and CEO sees her responsible for executing Listen Technologies’ business plan and overseeing day-to-day operations.
“My passion to find the best ways to position and market products drives me, and I believe I am instrumental in achieving sales growth year over year,” she added. “My strengths lie in strategic thinking and successfully translating that into execution.”
In June 2023, Listen celebrated its 25th anniversary, having continued to produce a variety of high-quality tech audio solutions to expand its name globally. “Through the years, we have brought several products to market that make it easier for people to hear clearly and engage,” Keone explained. “Our first product, ListenRF, transmits audio over radio frequency to personal receivers. In 2008, we introduced ListenIR, an innovative solution that uses infrared (IR) light to transmit audio. The unique casing on ListenIR receivers supports greater light reception for twice the infrared power and up to six times the coverage area of competing systems. It is also compatible with other manufacturers’ transmitters/radiators and can help extend the usefulness of systems that have ceased production.
“We pioneered audio-over-Wi-Fi technology so people can use their smartphones to access audio to hear more clearly.”
In 2017 the company introduced ListenTALK, a two-way communication system, and earlier this year it debuted ListenWIFI, the next generation of its audio over Wi-Fi solution, a product that will ship later this year.
“ListenWIFI is an easy-to-use assistive listening system that meets ADA and international compliance requirements,” continued Keone. “Listen Technologies has grown from a small group of entrepreneurial audio engineers to an established global network of distributors, integrators, and consultants. Our solutions have helped people hear clearly in challenging listening environments around the world, and we are proud that many of our customers are household names.”
Throughout its 25-year history, Listen Technologies has frequently adapted to the needs of audiences and venues “by being good listeners,” according to Keone. “We are always listening to our partners and customers and studying trends to understand what people need, and we anticipate what’s next so we can create solutions that make it easy to listen and engage,” she said. “Our audio over Wi-Fi system is a great example of this. When people asked how they could leverage their smartphones to access clear audio, we created a solution that lets them stream live and recorded venue audio over a wireless network to smartphones and listen with earbuds or headphones.”
However, the company has faced its fair share of challenges, with Keone noting the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be especially impactful. “We overcame many, many challenges during that time,” she said. “We endured supply chain issues, slowing sales, and many stresses on our manufacturing process. The biggest challenge we faced was helping our employees, partners, vendors, and friends in the industry navigate through such a difficult time. We came out stronger and learned many valuable lessons, and I hope we don’t have to navigate anything like that in the near future.”
The company has many exciting plans for the future, particularly with the recent debut of ListenWIFI. “We developed it in response to feedback and the system includes LWR-1050 receivers for venues to offer guests who do not want to use personal smartphones to stream audio,” said Keone. “The system also includes new servers and the new ListenWIFI LA-490 Beacons that provide location-based audio for a fully automated and seamless user experience.
“The system is easy to install and use, flexible, portable, discreet, and delivers exceptional audio clarity. ListenWIFI also is compliant with the ADA and international accessibility requirements. ListenWIFI makes it easy for people to access venue audio via their smartphone or a dedicated Wi-Fi receiver. It’s a simple, elegant solution that makes clear audio accessible to everyone because we believe everyone deserves exceptional listening experiences. We have many customers who are excited about the new product and eager to install it in their venues.”
Listen has also made a number of promotions within the team to help further expand its global status as well as certify its status as a trusted brand within the community. “We recently promoted Mikey Shaffer to the new role of Consultant Liaison to support the unique needs of Listen’s consultant community,” Keone stated.
“Shaffer is ideal for this role because she knows our business well and has worked with stakeholders throughout the AV industry. She likes to be of service, make connections, and foster inclusion. In this role, Shaffer ensures consultants are up to date on all ADA and global accessibility
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compliance requirements and informed about the latest Listen Technologies solutions for assistive listening and communication. Shaffer has worked at Listen for seven years and exemplifies our commitment to developing great relationships in our industry.
“This month, Listen Technologies named Brian Reilly regional sales manager for the Western region to lead a team selling Listen Technologies solutions to manufacturer representatives, integrators, consultants, and dealers throughout the western United States.” With ListenWIFI being debuted at InfoComm 2023, Keone highlighted the importance of trade shows in developing the Listen Technologies brand. “Trade shows are a great opportunity for us to reconnect with integrators, dealers, consultants, and other partners, as well as end users,” she said. “Hearing about the creative ways our partners are applying Listen Technologies solutions to meet the unique needs of its customers is always inspiring and a highlight. We also value feedback on our solutions. “Product upgrades and new solutions often have their genesis in the feedback from our partners. We’re proud to be part of the AV community and celebrate the great people and innovations across our industry at trade shows.”
1. Maile Keone, CEO and President, Listen Technologies.
2. The Listen Technologies product range.
1 2 5 3 4 6 109
3 – 6. Listen Technologies products provide assisted listening solutions across a variety of venues.
L-Acoustics Ambiance integrates loudspeakers, electronics, processing, and software, along with design, calibration, and voicing services, and the company has leveraged the skills and talents of many people to create and deploy this active acoustics solution. We hear from Julien Laval, Application Project Director, Acoustics Solutions, Sherif el Barbari, Director of Application Design, Immersive Audio & Creative Software, and Tim Boot, Business Development Director, Acoustics Solutions, to find out more.
Can you outline the concept of Ambiance, and what was its genesis?
Julien Laval: The genesis of Ambiance was rooted in the success of the L-ISA Room Engine which was initially developed to enhance distance coding of object-based mixes. It first started by addressing acoustic challenges from the fixed installation market. Acoustics consultants recognised the potential of the L-ISA Room Engine to extend our L-ISA technology into Electro-Acoustic Enhancement, or Active Acoustics. This was motivated by high quality proprietary multichannel reverberation coupled with a parametric approach, making it very flexible and userfriendly. L-Acoustics worked directly with leading sound designers and acoustical engineers to refine the technology and the application of that technology.
Sherif el Barbari: Because the L-ISA Room Engine is fully aware of the room extents, based on the physical loudspeaker deployment, the room size can be scaled to virtually larger room volumes. This approach is dynamically translated into corresponding room engine parameters, resulting in greatly natural perceived acoustic enhancement Signatures.
What was needed to turn the concept into a real-world solution?
JL: Ambiance became a real-world solution as soon it was deployed in real-world projects that needed a high grade active acoustics system as part of an object-based mix system solution at a reasonable price. The technology was first introduced to the world on the ABBA Voyage show at ABBA Arena in London, and at JK Tyl Theatre in Pilsen. The ABBA Voyage project required high engagement for the audience, while the JK Tyl Theatre needed a high level of flexibility to host shows from theatre, opera to orchestral music. But to turn a concept into a successful solution, real projects are not sufficient without designers, integrators and users sharing our passion about audio, room acoustics and what L-Acoustics represents in the industry. (Julien Laval)
SB: A proof of concept is tightly connected to the development platform constraints. In order to transition to a fully mature solution we applied the concept to many real-world applications and continuously incorporated the knowledge gained into our considerations. Inspired by the newly met challenges, new software and hardware tools were developed to complete the offering. As with every new technology, it is growing with challenges,
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Sherif el Barbari
and we continue to refine and optimise our solution, which also benefits our clients because they are invested in a future proof system.
How long did the R&D team take in developing Ambiance, and how and where was it tested along the way?
SB: The development of Ambiance extended over several years. It was a relatively new field of expertise for L-Acoustics, although we have been repeatedly exposed to unsuitable acoustics in our daily business over decades, and as such the idea wasn’t new. The completion of our renowned Room Engine for the L-ISA technology sparked the smouldering idea and led to a study from the ground up to develop our advanced acoustic enhancement solution.
What are the benefits for a venue to introduce Ambiance, and what kind of performances would it enhance (both for audience, and performers)?
Tim Boot: Ambiance can increase the range in a venue’s usage and function significantly. Ambiance is an additive acoustical solution; in that it adds acoustical early reflections and late energy (or reverberation). A function of the range is the physical architectural acoustics of the venue. The drier,
or less reverberant, the architectural acoustics, the greater range in usage. As an example, if the venue’s architectural acoustics are optimised for cinema, which is typically dry, or low reverberation; Ambiance will add acoustical capability to do theatre, amplified spoken word and music, acoustic jazz and even small to medium ensemble classical music.
A performing arts venue with moderately dry acoustics optimised for amplified productions would be able to increase reverberation to support the largest orchestral, opera, and choral performances, and everything in between – changing instantly, at the touch of a button. Ambiance also provides the ideal acoustic variability for the performers, with a baseline defined by the physical acoustics. A moderately dry stage with Ambiance would support everything from highly amplified music through theatre, stand-up comedy, to a full orchestra and choir.
What is required for a venue to upgrade its sound reinforcement system to one that can incorporate Ambiance?
TB: Venues will be evaluated by the Ambiance application team to see if Ambiance is a good fit for the venue. If the venue already owns an L-Acoustics sound system, those elements may be incorporated into the Ambiance System.
If a venue already has L-Acoustics L-ISA immersive technology with the L-ISA Processor II, the upgrade is very manageable. An upgrade will, per the evaluation, typically require more L-Acoustic loudspeakers and amplified controllers, the addition of microphones in the performer and audience areas, L-Acoustic microphone preamplifiers, and an Ambiance licence upgrade. If the venue does not already own the L-ISA Processor II, then one is needed with the Ambiance licence. Lastly, L-Acoustics Ambiance calibration and voicing services are required. Clients who are already designing a new L-Acoustic sound system will find upgrading their design to include Ambiance to be straightforward.
Ambiance was installed at the JK Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, Czech Republic – how do the capabilities of Ambiance stretch into other venues, beyond that of theatres and concert halls?
JL: The hybrid active acoustics solutions such as Ambiance are traditionally being considered for variable acoustics purposes in the context of non-amplified acoustics shows such as theatre, opera, and orchestral music. The new era of live immersive audio is bringing new perspectives to this technology. Experiential and hybrid projects are looking at Ambiance closely because an immersive experience is brought to another level when it becomes interactive. Ambiance brings audience and acoustic performers to become part of the sound experience, which is very
different from just a multi-channel rendered playback experience.
How user friendly is the Soundvision software – and what training is given by L-Acoustics to installers, for them to pass on to the end user?
TB: Ambiance is an integrated solution and is simple to operate by the end user. The standard interface for the end user is typically a third party control system from Crestron, QSC, or others. This control system, which requires no training or technical audio skills to operate, recalls presets created during the calibrations and voicing process. The design, configuration, and tuning of Ambiance utilise three existing software applications: Soundvision, LA Network Manager, and L-ISA Controller. These software solutions have been in the marketplace for many years and are understood and used by installers around the world. The software is easy to use and there are established training modules for all of them at www.l-acoustics.com.
JL: Ambiance is another level of L-Acoustics’ turnkey solutions that benefit from a long-term renowned product design experience and innovation. From microphone processors to high grade loudspeaker system solutions, on which the L-ISA team added the secret sauce with the development of the L-ISA Room Engine. It has extended the usages of L-ISA Processor beyond expectations to respond to the passion of L-Acoustics partners.
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Ambiance has been deployed at the JK Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, Czech Republic, making both the audience and acoustic performers part of the sound experience.
Pharos Architectural Controls is an award-winning British manufacturer of dynamic lighting control solutions for architecture, themed entertainment, and other specialist industries. Our products are designed and built in-house, backed by a 5-year warranty, and supported by an experienced technical team. Visit our website to find out more. DYNAMIC LIGHTING CONTROL Old Royal Naval College, London, UK 272 Gunnersbury Avenue London, W4 5QB United Kingdom +44 (0)20 7471 9449 email@example.com pharoscontrols.com @pharoscontrols
INTEGRATING ASPIRATIONAL PROJECTS
Eddie Thomas, Director, Clair Global Integration Europe, discusses the key objectives behind Integrating Aspirational Projects.
As a global leader in the entertainment technology marketplace, Clair Global Integration (CGI) has decades of experience in the design, implementation, and support of many aspirational and large-scale projects. While our headquarters is in North America, we also have 10 major hubs across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Japan, and work collaboratively on a worldwide scale. We consider ourselves an extension of your organisation when we conceptualise, design, engineer and install audio, video and control systems in the performance, sports and experiential venues sectors.
Aspirational projects present both exciting opportunities and unique technical challenges for our people and our business, so how do we navigate the landscape effectively? Working with the client or our client’s consultants, it is important that we have a clear vision and strategy to define both the overall goals and the client-led objectives of a project to achieve those objectives in commercial and technical terms. We take and embrace a holistic overview of the project, client vision and the complex technical aspects, but also the business processes, user experience and long-term sustainability factors.
When it comes to the design of a project system, there are many differing levels of technology available in the marketplace and we must evaluate and choose those technologies carefully. We need to look at the longer-term development plan for manufacturers’ equipment; will it be sustainable for a minimum 10-year life-cycle?
We avoid using technologies just for the current buzz they may carry, and instead focus on the technically compliant and commercially viable solution. CGI focuses on the use of manufacturers that can prove innovative and scalable solutions, and those that offer flexibility and capability when it comes to supporting future technologies.
Good project design isn’t just copy and paste, every venue / project has its own unique vision, and as integrators, we should connect with that vision to ensure that the client’s expectations and operational requirements are being met. Working on new build construction can be challenging due to the nature of the works. Design change is always a symptom of the design concept and we must engage with
114 IN DISCUSSION | WWW.MONDODR.COM
HERE at Outernet London. Photo by Larry Jordan.
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the stakeholders, remain agile, break the project scope into manageable parts and collaborate with knowledgeable teams from within the business.
At CGI we encourage cross departmental discussion for project delivery; expert product knowledge is gained with teamwork and practical, handson experience. During the implementation and delivery of a project, the fundamental and perhaps most important tool is communication. While meetings and daily updates can seem never ending, they are key to progress and manage both the project delivery and the businesses commercial requirements.
At the stage where the project is being commissioned, delivered and accepted, this is where the real work begins. Large-scale systems will go through a series of rigorous testing and certification prior to the acceptance by the primary stakeholder.
Post acceptance, there is operative training on the use of the installed system, maintenance and support packages in place, technical system monitoring to ensure that everything is working as required to specification, and the allocation of appropriate support resources based upon the level of site expertise and location of staff, so that we can provide exemplary support, both on-site and remotely.
With seemingly endless technical possibilities to navigate these days, businesses that can effectively integrate aspirational projects may gain a competitive edge, drive innovation, and create solutions that make real and lasting impact on a global scale.
Project success is measured by the abilities of a genuinely innovative integrator. An integrator which looks at a project holistically, is knowledgeable and experienced enough to work through all elements from design to construction and production.
An industry-recognised installer must possess a strong ethic to succeed and a balanced approach that considers the cost of ownership, the technical and strategic aspects of the project integration and the delivery of a solution that fulfils the client’s vision and aspirations. www.clairglobal.com
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Clair Global Integration have delivered major projects for music venues in London, including work at the O2 Arena (above, photo by Luke Dyson) and HERE at Outernet (below, photo by Khris Cowley).
ELUMEN8 EVORA SERIES
In 2017, Prolight Concepts introduced the Evora 500, the first Evora fixture from Elumen8. From that day forward, the distributor knew it wanted to engineer a range of reliable, powerful, feature-packed moving heads, specially curated to transform any event into an unforgettable experience. Development and innovation over the years has allowed the expansion of the series to include CMY profiles, hybrids, zoom washes and spots. Whether for an event organiser, rental company, or lighting enthusiast, Prolight Concept’s cutting-edge range of moving heads is designed to meet every need.
The Evoras are crafted using precision engineering, ensuring seamless movement and accurate positioning. Experience vibrant colours and gobos with prism and beam effects, allowing users to create mesmerising lighting displays that captivate audiences. The Evoras pack a powerful punch, delivering an impressive light output that fills any venue, no matter how large or small. With user-friendly interfaces, programming is a breeze. Adaptability is at the core of the product range, Prolight Concepts believes that top-quality lighting should be accessible to all. Its competitive pricing ensures the best value for investment without compromising on excellence. In the ever-evolving world of lighting technology, the hybrid moving headlight represents a significant advancement, fusing the best attributes of multiple lighting fixtures into a single, versatile unit. Through a combination of spot, wash, and beam functionalities, these lights offer unparalleled versatility, cost-efficiency, and energy savings.
The Evora CMY470 Hybrid is a feature-packed three-in-one moving head boasting an intense Osram SIRIUS HRI 471W discharge lamp. Crystal clear optics paired with an adjustable zoom from 1.8° to 42° allows for super tight beams through to wide washes. The CMY470 offers both static and rotating gobo wheels, eight rotating prisms, two variable frost filters, animation wheel and motorised focus. Endless colours can be achieved with CMY colour mixing, along with its colour wheel and CTO filter.
The Evora CMY600 Profile is a powerful tour-grade moving head which features a comprehensive array of effects. The impressive 600W LED provides an immense output, whilst the 4-blade, rotatable framing system, 9°- 46° motorised zoom, focus and iris allows for precise output adjustment. It features both replaceable static and rotating gobos, five facet linear and circular prisms and a variable frost filter, whilst endless colours can be achieved with CMY colour mixing, along with a colour wheel and CTO filter. Meanwhile, the ever-popular Evora CMY300 Zoom Spot boasts an immensely bright 300W LED with crystal clear optics and an adjustable beam angle from 4.5° to 38°. This feature-packed head offers both static and rotating gobo wheels, linear and circular prisms, variable frost filter, high CRI filter along with motorised zoom, focus and iris.
The Evora 740ZP Zoom Wash features seven 40W LEDs delivering incredibly high output from a super compact and durable chassis, making it both versatile and space-saving. Its bigger brother, the Evora 1940ZP Zoom Wash with its 19 40W LEDs is suited to larger events and productions. Both offer first-class optical systems and a high-intensity adjustable zoom; their narrow 4° beam angle creates sharp mid-air effects, whilst the wider angles produce uniform colour mixing, bathing concerts and events in rich colours. Full pixel control over the Osram Ostar quad-colour LEDs gives lighting designers a further level of creativity, whilst colour calibration ensures colours match from batch to batch.
The compact yet versatile Evora 200 Hybrid is also coming soon – the journey continues as Prolight Concepts develops the series and releases new cutting-edge fixtures for the events and rental industry. www.prolight.co.uk
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PRODUCT GUIDE: LASERS & SPECIAL EFFECTS
Martin Barraclough CMIOSH Health & Safety Director, ER Productions
Display Lasers & Stage SFX has been somewhat of a cottage industry, with its fair share of risks and unreliability in times gone by.
After all, flames are hot (my favourite safety advice), and lasers, we’ve all seen the movies - how could we be pointing lasers toward our audiences and also flinch at the thought of Sean Connery being sliced in two? (‘I mean to kill you, Mr Bond!’)
Like the rest of the entertainment industry, times have moved on. The trend towards creating different moments and looks throughout a live show has driven the popularity of all effects, from confetti, CO2 plumes, flames, laser beams, and all the weird and wonderful in between. Importantly, it has also driven the safety and usability of these machines. This has meant generational improvement in engineering controls such as interlocks, secondary controls and solenoids. Advanced features and the best components available have also increased the roadworthiness of the equipment, as they are used on almost every big tour in the modern age.
Machines get lighter, use electricity and fuels in a much safer way. They become more integrated to the wider ecosystem of show control with controllers using the latest technology, communication protocols, and timecoding. In addition, maximising compatibility with design software platforms has only improved things further. This has reduced the burden on operators and technicians
to keep machines safe, compared with the ‘good ol’ days’ where one had to either be a chemist, physicist or nutty professor to keep things going through the show. Who remembers water-cooled 3-phase lasers?
At the same time, we are increasing the level of competency as the sector grows and training programs professionalise those operators. It is now becoming a post-education choice of profession for young people, more in line with other departments such as lighting, sound and video.
Over the years, regulatory authorities have responded too, and we have specific and proportionate standards and guidance to guide industry in many countries, which helps to continually define what constitutes a ‘professional’ machine, from one you may find on large online shopping websites, sold by opaque and often unscrupulous vendors. For £500 or less and one-day delivery, you too can blind, asphyxiate or burn yourself in the comfort of your home with a completely unregulated machine!
A laser or SFX machine type has to evolve with maximum safety in order to remain relevant and usable in a wide range of environments. And, like in most technology sectors in entertainment, these amazing product developers are also increasing the programmability, creativity and scale of the effects to record breaking levels. It’s a great time to be here.
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Smoke Factory The Fog Blaster
The Fog Blaster is a new and innovative way to create impressive effects at events. Unlike conventional CO2 shooters, the Fog Blaster creates CO2-like effects without the use of CO2. This not only creates fascinating effects, but also saves costs and avoids logistical challenges.
The unit can be operated in all positions, and the optionally available suspension device also allows it to be hung upside down on the crosshead. This results in versatile application possibilities, which can be adapted to the individual needs of the user. The Fog Blaster is controlled via DMX and Ethernet using ArtNet or sACN protocol. This allows the device to be easily integrated into existing lighting infrastructures. In addition, various parameters of the device can be checked or adjusted from the console via RDM. Fog times can be set in 100 ms increments directly on the unit or from the console. It is also possible to adjust the fog time individually, in order to adapt the effects even better to the respective event.
The Fog Blaster has up to four channels that allow comprehensive control of the device. The channels can be used to trigger the device, adjust the fog time and fountain height. The last channel serves as a control channel to turn off the device, or pause it.
Another plus point of the Fog Blaster is its ease of use. Thanks to its robust design and compact construction, the device is quickly and easily ready for use. In addition, the unobtrusive design of the Fog Blaster makes it possible to place the device directly at the edge of the stage at concerts.
By not using CO2, considerable costs can be saved as there is no need to store large CO2 cylinders and refill them regularly. It also eliminates the need to install CO2 detectors indoors. The Fog Blaster operates CO2-free and allows for safe indoor use.
The Fog Blaster – Made in Germany – is the ideal choice to make concerts, theatre performances, club events and company parties an unforgettable experience.
Clubmax 24W and 40W FB4
The new 24W and 40W small-format but rugged, high-power-output laser projectors are factory-fitted with modern features, allowing you to deliver world-class laser displays - effectively and efficiently. Both Clubmax 24 and 40 FB4 are suited for large-scale indoor and outdoor aerial displays at concerts, festivals and tours. These models are factory-fitted with Motorised Dichroic Filters for quick and easy beam alignment. The default features include the following:
Excellent beam quality
Secondary Special Effects aperture
Motorised beam alignment
Automated colour balancing
Native control from any professional lighting desk
BeamBrush (7000, 10 & 40)
The BeamBrush projector is a professional full-colour RGB laser display system that, apart from all conventional laser effects, can also change the size of the projected beam in real time. This unique feature makes it capable of projecting laser graphics, animations and abstracts at a whole new level. Furthermore, this enables replicating the effects of moving heads and wash lights - making the BeamBrush laser projector suitable and effective for a much larger variety of lighting applications and with unlimited gobos, as those can be programmed in the software.
Finally, the ability to change the size of the projected beam (which also changes the beam’s intensity) offers a sophisticated tool for much more efficient laser safety measures during audience scanning shows.
The BeamBrush is available in 7W, 10W, and 40W versions. In addition, it comes with all the advanced features of our other KVANT projectors and is compatible with all the standard accessories.
Epic (100, 170, 270
KVANT Epic systems are new laser projectors with super-charged power output. The three projectors in the range offer 100W, 170W and 270W full-colour output. The Epics are about simplicity, raw power and toughness. The beam coming out of Epic is a fascinating and punchy line of very bright light. The 20Kpps Juno scanners offer solid performance with plenty of speed for all the atmospheric effects suitable for large-scale outdoor shows at stadiums and arenas, such as beams, waves, tunnels and sheets.
Epics are an excellent kit for touring, manufactured to IP65 certified housing that is thoroughly waterproof and dustproof and factory fitted with Motorised Dichroic Filters for quick and easy internal colour alignment. As well as other KVANT lasers, Epics come with a built-in Pangolin FB4 control interface and the latest QuickShow software.
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ADJ Fog Fury Jett
The ADJ Fog Fury Jett is a high velocity vertical Fog Machine that mixes colour into the fog from 12 3W RGBA LEDs. With new advancements in heater technology, the Fog Fury Jett produces a dry even blast of fog over 25ft (7m) in the air. It has a special heating element design that uses an oil type transmission throughout the pipeline to prevent clogging, and is equipped with a high-performance Italian pump system for optimum output. ADJ’s Electronic Thermo Sensing (ETS) technology is on-board to maintain optimum heat levels with short warm-up time between fog blasts. The Fog Fury Jett may be use vertically or horizontally. The reservoir tank may be mounted in the front or rear of the unit, so the machine may be pointed up or down. The ADJ FFJWR wireless remote comes included with the Fog Fury Jett. www.adj.com
CHAUVET DJ Hurricane Bubble Haze X2 Q6
Thrill special event guests with Hurricane Bubble Haze X2 Q6, a multi-purpose atmospheric machine that adds new levels of visual excitement and fun to any gathering, presentation or production. The unit features six quadcoloured (RGB + UV) LEDs that illuminate bubbles, haze or haze-filled bubbles that billow from twin blowers to double the effect. Two variable-speed loft fans push bubbles up into the air and ‘Always-Ready’ technology means the effect can run continuously to keep the party going. Hurricane Bubble Haze X2 Q6 has a gravity-fed bubble reservoir that recirculates unused bubble fluid, reducing fluid consumption. A built-in cleaning function increases machine longevity and reduces clogs. With a three-minute warm up time and a 50,000-hour life expectancy for its six LEDs, the unit measures at 429 by 317 by 459mm.
Antari S-600 Snow Machine
Elevate events and experiences to extraordinary heights with the Antari S-600 Snow Machine. With its blizzard effect, this machine brings the magic of a winter wonderland into any setting. The Antari S-600 is the ticket to creating unforgettable memories. Whether it is used for a special occasion, a theatrical performance, or curating a unique visual experience, this snow machine transforms any space into a realm of wonder. Crafted to deliver not just an effect, but an emotion, it lets you create a snow-covered landscape. Prepare to mesmerise your audience, infusing your occasions with an unparalleled sense of enchantment and beauty. Experience the Antari S-600 Snow Machine and let its blizzard effect help you craft moments that are truly unforgettable.
X-Laser The Skywriter Series
The Skywriter Series from X-Laser has brought lighting designers the creative tools and onstage reliability to let lasers become part of more performances than ever before. Much of this is thanks to X-Laser’s proprietary Mercury laser control system, which is integrated into all Skywriter fixtures. Mercury allows lighting designers to program lasers in line with traditional lights, straight from their preferred console. And now that the Skywriter Series has seen its fair share of touring duty, X-Laser recently refreshed the model with upgrades to bolster its reputation as an approachable, dependable midrange touring laser.
Taking feedback from touring lighting designers who have first hand experience with the Skywriter Series on the road, X-Laser has reengineered the yoke mechanism for faster, more secure rigging Designers can program with abandon and make every laser cue memorable with a new scanner set that X-Laser verified for reliability and robustness. On the topic of programming, the new Skywriters also boast the latest version of the Mercury laser control system. Designers now have more builders (up to eight, from six), preset and DMX test modes and the power of a refactored core engine, among other minor improvements.
For further flexibility in the field, X-Laser emphasised that current Skywriter owners can upgrade to the latest version of Mercury via firmware patch at no charge; while the updated fixture retains ILDA input and output for users who prefer traditional laser control methods. As an added touch that is less common in the laser industry, X-Laser backs all variations of its new Skywriter systems with a twoyear warranty on the entire laser.
As the firm continues to grow, X-Laser leans on what it has learned from manufacturing custom laser systems for global headline tours such as Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres Tour. That knowledge manifests itself in fixture improvements such as this Skywriter update.
“We’ve greatly advanced our in-house manufacturing and engineering processes over the last couple of years. That makes our bespoke systems better while also empowering us to improve the rest of our lineup, and that includes the Skywriter,” said Adam Raugh, X-Laser President.
Long gone are the days of lasers used solely at psychedelic rock or EDM shows. Lighting designers are incorporating lasers into shows across genres and borders, mainly thanks to how approachable and user-friendly today’s lasers – such as the X-Laser Skywriter – have become.
“We want LDs to think of lasers as just another lighting fixture,” Raugh added, “And we’re confident these newest Skywriters will help us move that needle even further.”
Designers interested in seeing the refreshed Skywriter systems for themselves can see them at the LDI Show in Las Vegas from 3-5 December 2023 at booth 1415. www.x-laser.com
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Magma Fog 1500 IP
The Magma Fog 1500 IP is a durable, water-based fog machine with advanced technology and IP65 rating that provides an exceptionally high output fog for professional applications of all types. A thermally protected 1500W heat exchanger produces an impressive output of 60,000 CFM (cu ft/min) and when operating at 100%, the unit can shoot a 40-second burst of all-enveloping dense fog.
The unit features an onboard LCD touchscreen control panel with manual and timer control options, intuitive DMX-512 and RDM control, and optional wired and wireless remote-control options. The Magma Fog 1500 IP comes with IP65 locking power in and IP65 locking 5pin XLR connectors (DMX In/Out) for safe and reliable operation outdoors. Built to withstand travel and repeated use, the Magma Fog 1500 IP features a durable aluminium housing and robust design. Two convenient carrying handles make handling easy and a hanging bracket for truss mounting is included. Housing a five-litre tank, the Magma Fog 1500 IP has a fluid consumption rate of 200ml per minute. www.elationlighting.com
The Galaxis flame projector G-Flame is a new type of flame projector, which is extremely versatile in indoor, outdoor, and special effects applications and is equipped with numerous features. All components are housed in a very stable, powder-coated aluminium housing. A large rechargeable battery ensures a long, mains-independent operation time of up to 60 hours, and large power reserves for the reliable supply of the powerful high-voltage ignition and the solenoid valves. Various battery test functions are integrated. All necessary settings can be made very conveniently via an illuminated text display with menu guidance. Autarkic operation means that no control or power cables, no additional control devices connected via cables, no gas hoses and no gas cylinders are required. This means that the unit can be set up extremely fast and can also be used on moving objects. The G-Flame becomes completely self-sufficient when cans are used and the device is controlled either by radio using the advanced radio module or wireless DMX receivers. Outdoor operation is possible even in heavy rain. The device has a fine filter which largely prevents dust, sand, or other foreign material from reaching the solenoid valve. Leaks in the solenoid valve can thus be prevented. Two solenoid valves connected in series additionally increase safety.
LaserAnimation Sollinger PHAENON accurate 10
The PHAENON accurate 10 laser projector is designed for all laser applications, but without the need for complex installation in advance. All components are integrated in a compact, ultra-light carbon fiber housing. Studio equipment such as a mixing console can be connected directly via the LAN AVB interface on the projector. Even video can be connected directly, and signal sources with an ILDA compliant output can also be connected. The PHAENON accurate 10 is based on a high value laser module consisting of red, green, and blue laser diodes. Very fast CT 6210 scanners with proven TurboscanXD driver electronics guarantee clear and smooth laser projections. The intelligent
LaserAnimation Sollinger Mainboard is integrated into the laser projector, which provides the laser operator with a variety of control and setting options. Monitoring of important functions and adjusting of operating parameters are easily possible using the included intuitive LA.toolbox software available for PC or Mac. The PHAENON accurate 10 is extremely compact with dimensions of 33.1 by 15.4 by 10.5cm, and it is designed for all types of indoor usage.
The the LPS-BaX SixSCAN is special laser scanner bar designed for all kinds of professional staging and is available with 12K RGB and 18K RGB laser power. It is fitted with six laser scanners and six RGB (whitelight) laser modules, each individually controllable. Thus, each scanner emits either the same animation or, if desired, a different one. The LPS-BaX SixSCAN is controllable via DMX 512 (27, 121 up to 157 channels), ArtNET and ILDA. Modified by LPS it convinces with a smart design for rough use on stage, festivals, in theatres and other kind of events. It is fitted with PowerCon True1, 5-pin DMX, LCD-Display, key switch, interlock, safety by an XLR e-stop. Because of its bracket, the bar can be attached to trusses, whether horizontally, vertically, diagonally or individually. With brackets, the fixture measures from 100cm by 20 cm by 28cm with a weight of 24.5kg. www.lps-laser.com
Laserworld CS-24.000RGB FX
The CS-24.000RGB FX is an analogue modulated laser that can create hundreds of different colour shades, including white. It is capable of doing basic graphics due to the fast scanners, but its main fields of application are large nightclubs, smaller festivals, and small concerts. The Laserworld CS-24.000RGB FX can be operated in stand-alone mode, sound-to-light or via DMX. It also has an ILDA input for using professional computer control. The built-in effects grating can either be switched with DMX, also in addition to ILDA control, or it can be set to switch automatically. There are three effects gratings included – radial, line, and burst –which multiply the projection and spread the projection over a wide angle, and the CS-24.000RGB can be used as a normal laser system without the effects gratings being switched.
The mounting bracket is designed in a way that it can be rotated 360° to allow for hanging, as well as standing operation of the laser. www.laserworld.com
The Pea Soup Micro Rocket Smoke Machine is a bijou fogette designed by Pea Soup for air flow tracing / visualisation, LEV (local exhaust ventilation) tests, small scale leak detection and also to simulate smouldering fires for training. It is also perfect for theatrical and cinematic special effect applications. The Micro Rocket produces a quick dispersing fog which makes it ideal for air flow visualisation studies. In terms of reliability, it is Pea Soup’s number one battery powered smoke system. The battery will last for approx. 10 - 12 minutes of continuous use at high output, 15 - 20 minutes of continuous use at low output, or unlimited when connected to the optional mains power adaptor. A full internal tank of fluid will produce a total of approx. 55 minutes smoke at high, 1 hour 50 mins at low output. The unit has a switch for selecting high or low output and a switch for momentary (‘puffs’) or continuous fog production. It can be operated from the button on the handle or via the optional wireless remote control.
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Soup Micro Rocket - 12v DC Portable Smoke Machine
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