With a previous installation at the Riverside Theatre, Sydney, a second Australian theatre has now embraced the remarkable audio qualities of Alcons loudspeakers. The Playhouse is a 618 seat venue in the Canberra Theatre Centre. A three-level theatre with proscenium arch, it is used for a wide variety of productions.
Alcons was specified for the job by one of Australia’s leading theatre sound design companies, Notsui Consulting. “A test system was then taken to Canberra to give the head of audio a listen, and we were awarded the contract straight away,” says David Betterridge of system installers Loud And Clear.
For this installation eight LR14 are flown as a centre cluster, with three LR14B flown above. Two pairs of VR12 and VR12M per side provide balcony and stalls sidefill, with two BF302 providing a full-bodied sub-bass. The system is powered by seven ALC2 and one ALC4 amplifiers with SDP speaker drive processor cards.
“I have to say that both installations were very straightforward,” David continues. “They are the sort of rooms that the Alcons LR series boxes were made for, they just shine as soon as you plug them in.”
“Both installations had tight budgets, but we were able to install systems that would deliver exactly what was required, with audio quality that has surprised even the most experience-hardened sound engineers!
“Given how remarkably flat and uncoloured Alcons equipment sounds out of the box, we only had to make minor adjustments for room response. All the reports we’ve had since installing the systems are very strongly positive.”
“Since installing the Alcons system, we have achieved a new, unsurpassed level of headroom and clarity in our Playhouse theatre,” adds Gregor Murray, head of audio at the Canberra Theatre Centre.
“All of our clients comment about the transparency, punch and warmth of the system. No longer do we have to bring in a system for larger live music events. In drama, where subtlety is critical, every word is heard and lapel microphones that were a nightmare to tune and control are no longer a problem.”
Located on the banks of the Parramatta River, the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, Sydney, is a three-level space with proscenium arch and a capacity of 760. A very adaptable space, it is used principally for drama, comedy and musical theatre. However, it can be called upon to host almost any kind of production from live rock music, jazz, world music and opera to dance productions.
Installed by Sydney-based Loud And Clear, the Alcons system was chosen after a full day shootout with several other systems in front of an advisory panel selected by the theatre management, which consisted of a number of experienced audio engineers and consultants.
The system comprises eight LR14 ultra-compact pro-ribbon line-array modules and three LR14B double 12” bandpass line-array bass systems flown in one central array with two BF302 Mk2 double 15” stacked subwoofers. The system is powered by ALC2 and ALC4 amplified loudspeaker controllers with DDP digital drive processors.
“The brief was to replace the centre cluster of the existing system with a full range, high quality system, with coverage to 98% of house,” says Loud And Clear’s David Betterridge. “With the wide horizontal dispersion of the Alcons LR14/120 pro ribbon loudspeakers, we nailed the coverage easily and their incredible fidelity caught the listening panel’s attention immediately.
He continues, “we felt Alcons had won the day, after the first track had been played through each system. We knew it was only going to get better when the panel started auditioning live sources and other content. Needless to say we’re proud to have been awarded the trust of the client: This installation is another proof of the growing presence of Alcons pro-ribbon systems in theatres in Australia”.
The final word is for Sean Clarke, Technical Co-Ordinator of Riverside Theatres: “Our new Alcons system gives you the feeling that the sound is coming directly from the performers on the stage. The throw and coverage is such that it makes every seat in the room seem intimate with the performers.” When listening to a recording recently, a touring engineer commented “you could tell he had just had a cigarette before recording that track”!