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Autograph Revamp Audio At Resurgent Northern Venue
The Preston Guild Hall And Charter Theatre complex is undergoing a huge development and refurbishment program thanks to its new owners, The Rigby Group. Threatened with demolition as recently as 2014, the current program of investment will include both the Charter Theatre and Grand Hall, plus a range of restaurants and other facilities making it one of the north’s premier entertainment and leisure locations.
Autograph Sales & Installations were asked to supply an unobtrusive but powerful multi-zone audio system for the latest part of the project, ‘Level’, a multi-entertainment area encompassing a bowling alley, crazy golf course, karaoke booths, End of Days Laser Tag, Daredevil Assault Course and a multi-screen sports bar/nightclub.
Autograph’s Ben Tredwell was the sales engineer in charge of the project and realised early in the proposal that the KV2 Audio range offered the ideal choice of loudspeakers to deal with the sheer scale of the area, plus the core requirement for the sound system to be able to handle everything from DJ / club nights through to background music. Following consultation with Technical Manager James Hubbard, Ben proposed KV2 ESD1.15 passive subwoofers plus KV2 ESD25 and KV2 ESD5 full range ultra-compact enclosures, driven by Powersoft 4804 four-channel, DSP-equipped amplifiers which would additionally facilitate a Dante network as the primary data transport.
The various different applications of the system according to circumstances meant that the central processing was key to not only defining how the system is used but also in terms of providing simple accessibility to the staff. James Hubbard explains his design and equipment choices:
“I have known Ben for many years and using Autograph when I needed fast turnaround, support and assurance was a no brainer, not only because of their proven history within the sector but also because of the existing connections we have to them as clients.”
“I transitioned from the analogue world to digital using the Yamaha desks and because Yamaha have kept their software similar throughout their ranges I have always tried to use their products both live and in fixed installations - their products are easy to understand, intuitive and have logical flow. My senior techs, Mitch Bailey and Michael Gill, who are an essential part of the install and design team here, have installed the MTX5-D and DCP controls elsewhere in the building with a perfect track record (including emergency cut off) and wanting the ability to link the systems via Dante it was a choice made by design and time constraints. We continue to use Yamaha front end to run other areas of the business not only because we know it all integrates well, but because we didn’t have the time or need to learn new software for other control. We like the flow and design of the MTX range so much we have also recently installed an MTX3 into another area of the building.”
“With Yamaha releasing the new ProVisionaire Touch software for remote control of zones, plus the new Dante-compatible paging mics, it made sense to use their MTX7-D which allows each zone to choose any input on the system. This includes two Sky boxes, two audio sources (streamed and local), two Bluetooth inputs (one behind the bar and another in the VIP area), local DJ input and a link to the cocktail bar, allowing a single DJ to play across two sites and three levels of the second site. The MTX7-D also allowed us to to re-sync and time align audio to the two large-format video walls and smaller satellite screens as well as to individually EQ and limit each output. The Yamaha software enables us to set maximums on the remotes for different parts of the building, a real must once an install is handed over to enthusiastic staff..”
James comments on his first use of the remarkable KV2 range: “As the system was designed primarily for inconspicuous background music, we built custom sub enclosures which double up as holders for menus, cutlery and cleaning supplies used by the catering team. Our brief from the outset was to make the whole area lively and knowing that sports fans can be loud we needed a system that could reproduce clear audio at a wide range of volumes. Ben recently asked me how it handles and I said “We just turn it up!”, something not many restaurants, bars and bowling alleys can do with one system. There is so much headroom, even with such small boxes, we have confidence walking away knowing there is no risk to components. This is especially good when an area of the bowling alley has inputs and volume controls used by the clients of the VIP suite themselves.”
James and his team are clearly impressed with the results of their new audio setup - when asked, James responded: “We didn’t have dedicated system presets for the KV2 loudspeakers but they sounded lovely straight out of the box anyway - a slight adjustment to the high mid was needed here and there but this was due to proximity effect in some locations as their design allows them to be tucked away. I am not too proud to say that the system sounds the way it does not just because of the time and effort on pre planning, selection of zones and speaker placement but proportionally because of the quality of the audio coming out of the physical boxes themselves. We were surprised at the efficiency of all of the KV2 products but the subs are unbelievable, we have six on site and none of them working anywhere near capacity even when the building is full of revellers and the system is turned up. I’ll definitely be using the combination of Yamaha front end, Powersoft amps and KV2 enclosures on all my future installs as the outcome has been amazing.”