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Wiltshire Music Centre
Located in the picturesque Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon, the Wiltshire Music Centre was founded in 1998 by a local group who recognised the area’s need for a professional performance and rehearsal space. One of the very first new builds funded by a National Lottery award via the Arts Council, the centre now enjoys a reputation as professional concert hall of exceptional quality rooted in community participation and involvement.
"We were immediately impressed with their attention to detail and thorough and clear proposals."
Now known throughout the country for the outstanding quality of its concert performances across classical, folk, jazz and world music, the purpose-built 300-seat concert hall has recently undergone a major upgrade to its audio systems in partnership with Autograph Sales & Installations. Designed and managed principally by Autograph's Euan Mackenzie, the project centred on the specification and installation of a new front-of-house loudspeaker system and included an upgrade to the existing mixing console, new equipment racks and mains power management systems.
Euan takes up the story:
‘The centre is a modern performance space that hosts a diverse range of music, from acoustic and orchestral works through to jazz, world music, opera and choral works, so it’s a good test for an installed sound system. Having assessed the space, the available budget and the intended use of the kit we realised that EM’s new Halo-C was just about perfect in every respect. Our design uses a compact left-right flown design where each side comprises five EM Acoustics Halo-C line-source elements and one Halo-C Sub. This arrangement provides ample full-frequency coverage for the entire auditorium without needing any delays or sidefills - in fact the only supplementary audience loudspeakers are five EMS-61s mounted along the front edge of the stage as near-field fills’.
Lab Gruppen IPD DSP amps
The entire system, including six EM Acoustics M10 monitors which are used for on-stage monitoring, runs off just eight power amplifiers. Autograph specified Lab Gruppen IPD-series amplifiers for their extraordinary combination of audio quality, reliability, reasonable pricing and onboard DSP. Euan continues, ‘The IPDs make this kind of installation so much easier, more versatile and cost-effective. No outboard controllers are needed because all the processing for the loudspeakers is done within the amplifiers, and because they also provide Ethernet-based networking we can tune and control the whole system remotely if necessary’.
‘The centre already owned an Allen & Heath GLD-80 digital mixing console, and to expand the system and deliver a whole new level of control we specified and supplied a new multi-media card for the console, plus two iDR Out digital expanders / audio breakout modules. Along with an iPad and a wi-fi access point, which we also supplied, this allows the desk and PA to be controlled via an app on the iPad from anywhere in the room, so the house engineer can move freely around the auditorium and tune the system to suit the circumstances and type of performance’.
Euan concludes, ‘The advances we’ve seen in modern audio technology over recent years has made a huge difference to projects like this. Being able to network discrete items of the system together so the whole thing can be effectively controlled from a mobile device is such an advantage for busy venues, while products like the new Halo-C deliver high-class audio performance in an unobtrusive and cost-effective package. It’s now possible for regional venues to deliver the kind of quality one would have previously expected only in the West End by working with fantastic products like these - and with the Autograph team of course!’.
Daniel Thomason, Centre Technician said, ‘We asked Autograph to tender for this project and we were immediately impressed with their attention to detail and thorough and clear proposals. From design to completion we were kept well informed and had all our requirements met. As a result the finished product has exceeded our expectations and enabled the Wiltshire Music Centre to continue to offer the very highest production values.’