One of London’s top rehearsal studios has upgraded its flagship Studio A with end-to-end RCF TT+ active loudspeakers.
Charlie Barrett, who has run Terminal Studios for the past 28 of its 33 years, has been heavily committed to providing leading edge PA systems for its premier clientele, since moving the business to Bermondsey in 1990. Last month he introduced line array technology, commissioning six RCF TTL33-A active enclosures — three elements a side — and two ground-stacked TTS28-A subs to maintain their competitive edge.
It was in the early 90’s that Barrett started to periodically renew the technical infrastructure but recognised recently that his trusty 12-year-old system had reached end of life.
“I have always been a bit of a gear nerd and having a good PA that would keep us ahead of the game has always been our USP.”
A couple of years ago he made his first investment in RCF in the form of 12 processor-controlled RCF TT22-A full range point source system and six TTS18-A subs as a dry hire rental system for Terminal’s corporate and small scale live work. At the same time he purchased six TT25SMA dedicated stage monitors.
“We liked the system a lot when we heard it,” he remarked. “It goes out regularly but has been absolutely reliable and not one component has ever broken down. On top of that a number of engineers have passed favourable comment.”
So when it came to upgrading the premier of Terminal’s five studios he was eager to revisit the brand — aware that although RCF has penetrated many market sectors it is still developing a touring pedigree. “This room is hugely influential and is used a lot for record company showcases. RCF may not have the brand visibility yet in the touring world but there were a number of positive reasons for choosing it,” he said.
The proven reliability of the earlier TT+ system had been a key driver. “We wanted to keep the amount of power we had from our previous system — but without the harshness.
“Because we had already tried the RCF TT+ range I knew it to be both powerful and sweet sounding and also that it had been built without compromise. The big turn on was that it is very tightly processor controlled — in fact it sounded so great straight out of the box we were able to run it flat. It also takes up less space because there is no amp rack and you don't need to put separate crossovers in.”
As for the stage, following their positive experience with the TTS25-SMA wedge monitors, Terminal Studios have added a further six — plus three of RCF’s TT45-SMA 2 x 12 biamped wedges and an RCF 4PRO 6001A and 4PRO 8003-AS 4-way active drum fill. Once again, he notes that self-powered floor wedges can be added and subtracted more easily.
The room has around a 50ft throw and so benefits from having more components operating at lower level, believes Barrett. “Although the TT+ system doesn't sound loud, the whole room is completely filled with sound, and the bottom end is also impressive. Using RCF’s proprietary flying frame we can rotate the speakers to point either at the listener or the band.”
In the short time since its installation The TT+ (Touring & Theatre) system has already proved itself with a wide variety of acts including Jessie J, Chase and Status, JLS, Ollie Murs, The Wanted, Dappy and Brian May.
The sight of the TTL33-A certainly brought back memories for Chase and Status’s experienced sound engineer, Rampton — prepping for the latest festival tour; he immediately recalled playing through the same system at Cologne Live Music Hall with the two men last year.
“The Cologne show was the last in the run and the tech advance had been a little sketchy. So when I walked into the venue and saw these small boxes flown left and right with just the four subs under the stage, I was a little intrigued as to what it was going to sound like. I was blown away immediately by the power and clarity this medium size array was producing. Furthermore, the four subs under stage were sending my kidneys through the back wall!! I was running the system flat at my end and was amazed to discover that there was no pre-EQ on the rig apart from a tiny little dip around 315 Hz and nothing else. I was amazed at the detail I was hearing and the two lads, Saul [Chase] and Will [Status] came out front and were knocked out by what they were hearing. It was awesome.
“I used the same show file that we had been using with more familiar PA systems, yet this was another level completely. The show was the best of the German run and I would certainly be more than happy to walk into any venue and find the TT+ hanging there.”
Pics: Charlie Barrett in Studio A at Terminal Studios, with the new RCF TT+ rig