Corporate
Nitelites se ha convertido en la primera empresa de su país en adquirir el sistema activo de refuerzo sonoro TTL55-A, buque insignia de RCF, invirtiendo en un sistema completo para estadio o festival.
Esto no solo permitirá a técnicos de luz y sonido proporcionar cobertura sonora en los espacios más amplios de festivales, sino que a la vez les ofrece una serie de opciones configurables para eventos más pequeños.
El pedido de 144 cajas acústicas RCF incluye 56 cajas de tres vías y alta potencia TTL55-A, 24 sub-bajos de 2 x 21” TTS56-A y 24 sub-bajos de 2 x18” TTS36-A. Además se usarán 24 TTL33-A, más pequeños, como sistemas complementarios downfill en la parte más baja de las formaciones y también en posiciones interiores, mientras que los 16 TTL36-AS proporcionarán una mayor extensión en los graves, mejorando el rango dinámico de las formaciones suspendidas.
El director de Nitelites Andy Magee confirma que la compra vino motivada, además de por los altavoces en sí, por la relación que la compañía ha mantenido tradicionalmente con el fabricante italiano y con su responsable técnico del norte de Inglaterra y especialista en giras Mick Butler, así como por la hoja de ruta que RCF ha diseñado para el futuro desarrollo de su avanzada plataforma electrónica.
«Creemos firmemente en el producto y en la compañía, y esta es la razón de que llevemos tanto tiempo involucrados con ellos», dijo.
Ya familiarizados con el TTL33-A, que forma parte de su flota de alquiler, Nitelites pudo evaluar por primera vez a su «hermano mayor» en una situación real en la primavera del 2013, cuando se les pidió que se hicieran cargo del refuerzo de producción de la estrella italiana, Luciano Ligabue, en el Royal Albert Hall. «Esto nos dio la oportunidad de comprobar la increíble calidad del sistema y la potencia que podía alcanzar con su DSP integrado».
«Empezamos a considerar seriamente nuestra propia infraestructura de alquiler, y sabíamos que esto nos abriría una nueva fuente de ingresos al permitirnos ofrecer en el mercado un sistema superior a un precio muy atractivo.
También pudimos comprobar los constantes desarrollos tecnológicos en su avanzada plataforma de control RDNet, y el potencial para un mayor refuerzo electrónico y desarrollo de software del equipo de I+D en RCF. Nos impresionó especialmente el tiempo que dedicaron los ingenieros de RCF a realizar ajustes en su configuración cardioide inversa, permitiéndonos reducir la energía que se irradia a la parte posterior del escenario y dirigirla mejor. Así que todo esto en realidad es una inversión de futuro».
La primera parada de Nitelites tras la inversión fue el Sage Gateshead, un centro para música y artes cerca de su base en Newcastle, donde ya tienen instalada la formación en línea HDL20-A de RCF, y donde aprovecharon para montar y probar el nuevo sistema.
Después se dispusieron a organizar un lanzamiento por todo lo alto para jefes de producción e ingenieros de salas en las instalaciones del nuevo Production Park en Wakefield donde previamente habían realizado, con clientes como Frank Turner o Ben Howard, la producción de ensayos para giras.
«Cuando descubrimos que estaban planeando una expansión similar, el momento no podía haber sido más oportuno», continua Andy Magee. «Entre ambos formamos una especie de centro neurálgico en el norte, y tenemos muchas ganas de organizar el evento de lanzamiento del sistema del 1 al 3 de marzo».
De hecho el proyecto de Production Park, de 2.5 millones de libras y actualmente en fase uno, incorpora un conjunto de instalaciones de producción repartidas en casi 28.000 m2 y cinco espacios de ensayo LS-Live, tres de ellos de enormes magnitudes. El nuevo TTL55-A se instalará en el Estudio 001.
Según Adam ‘Bullet’ Bettley, jefe de operaciones de alquiler y estudio en LS-Live, «cuando Nitelites nos contactó para albergar el evento de presentación de RCF enseguida me di cuenta de que era una oportunidad fantástica para ambos. Nuestro principal objetivo en Production Park es congregar a lo mejor de la industria de eventos, así que esto encaja perfectamente.
Al mismo tiempo el Estudio 001 de LS-Live, con 1600m2 de espacio, es el lugar ideal para que los chicos de Nitelites puedan sacar a relucir todo lo que el increíble TTL55-A puede hacer en un estadio. De hecho, y dado que yo mismo estudié tecnología musical en la uni, espero que me dejen jugar un poco con él».
En resumen, dice Andy Magee, «tenemos un diálogo fantástico con RCF y siempre están abiertos a escuchar sugerencias. Hemos adquirido el TTL55-A pensando en giras nacionales en estadios, y estamos deseando afrontar el reto de ampliar nuestra marca en el sector de directos. En realidad casi no se me ocurren ejemplos concretos donde este sistema no esté a la altura».
Y Mick Butler añade: «Estamos encantados, no solo de que Nitelites haya adquirido este compromiso con nosotros, sino también de formar parte de su éxito los últimos años, en los que han crecido hasta convertirse en una compañía de alquiler de equipos de sonido e iluminación de primera línea".
Left to right: Andy Magee, Mick Butler (RCF), Jamie Moore. Photo credits: Alex Alevroyiannis
Event
https://www.facebook.com/events/1051514704911897/
RCF will be hosting some special events during NAMM 2016, in order to present the company’s recent achievements in pro audio R&D.
JOIN US for our product demo at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim on Friday night, and you’ll have the chance to hear RCF's HDL50-A ultra-powerful line array for large events, following the success of HDL20-A, and TTL6-A line source – the latest addition to RCF’s top-of-the-range Touring and Theatre Series.
Please e-mail RCFHDL50@gmail.com for invitation and additional information.
FRIDAY, 22 JANUARY 6 - 8 pm : HDL50-A presentation 8 - 11 pm : TTL6-A presentation @ Phoenix Club, 1340 S Sanderson Ave, Anaheim, CA
Let’s make it loud!
* * *
HDL50-A ACTIVE THREE-WAY LINE ARRAY MODULE The HDL50-A is an active three-way line array module for large events, indoors and outdoors. Equipped with 2x12” woofers, 4x symmetrical 6.5” midranges and two 2” drivers, it offers excellent playback quality and high sound pressure levels with a built in 4400W powerful digital amplifier. Using advanced neodymium magnets and a groundbreaking new housing constructed from lightweight plywood and polypropylene, it has a remarkably low weight.
TTL6-A ACTIVE THREE-WAY LINE ARRAY MODULE The TTL6-A is a high power, three-way, active line source engineered to deliver high fidelity output for use indoors and outdoors, for medium to large spaces. TTL 6-A provides all the advantages of line array technology, such as high direct sound, increased range and a uniform level distribution, with additional ease of use. It is the preferred sound set-up for stacked systems and when a wider dispersion is required. The 3-way TTL6-A line source is equipped with 2 x 12” low frequencies woofers, 4 x 6.5” midranges and a 3.0” voice coil compression driver with wave-guide for distinctive homogenous directivity. The integration of four channels of digital amplification and the advanced digital processing set a new standard for distortion, noise and thermal efficiency.
Installation
La mezquita Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, inaugurada recientemente en Fujairah (Emiratos Árabes Unidos), es uno de los lugares de culto más grandes y espectaculares del mundo.
Esta obra de arte arquitectónica puede albergar hasta 28.000 fieles y contiene 65 cúpulas, seis minaretes (de más de 80 m de altura), objetos laminados en oro de 24 quilates y hermosas alfombras tejidas a mano. La superficie del edificio es de 39.000 m2 (sin contar el majestuoso patio ni las zonas exteriores): es la segunda mezquita más grande de los EAU y en su construcción se utilizaron mármol y otros materiales preciosos de todo el mundo.
Dado su tamaño y sus elementos arquitectónicos -en concreto las altas cúpulas, típicas del estilo islámico- la mezquita es un espacio con una reverberación extrema. Como en otros lugares de culto de gran escala, el reto principal de los ingenieros de RCF consistía aquí en conseguir una buena inteligibilidad en toda la zona de escucha sin descuidar la necesidad de un mínimo impacto visual.
Por todas estas razones la elección del sistema principal de audio recayó en las columnas orientables digitalmente y multi-amplificadas VSA 2050 de RCF. La función de control de directividad permite una reproducción clara y fidedigna en todo el área de escucha, a la vez que se minimiza la dispersión de energía hacia el techo y las concavidades de las paredes laterales, reduciendo así el campo reverberante. Los VSA 2050 en blanco son muy elegantes y garantizan un mínimo impacto visual, integrándose de forma natural en un edificio en el que el blanco y el oro son los colores predominantes.
Se utilizaron los altavoces de columna de tres vías de RCF L2406-T, también en blanco, como sistema de retardo y para refuerzo sonoro de espacios más pequeños en la mezquita. Gracias a su estrecho ángulo de cobertura vertical (30°) y a su excelente calidad de sonido estas columnas completan el sistema principal con resultados superlativos. También son muy sencillas de instalar, con un transformador integrado especialmente práctico para su instalación en pilares u otros espacios que presenten restricciones para el cableado.
El sistema de sonido incluye también altavoces de columna CS 6940, que se instalaron en pasillos y pequeñas habitaciones secundarias, y altavoces de exteriores P 4228, la elección idónea para el patio principal de la mezquita. En los minaretes se instalaron altavoces de bocina de RCF (HD 410 y H 6045), garantizando un tiro largo y un nivel de presión sonora (SPL) incomparable. El encargo y la instalación fueron llevados a cabo por la empresa Oasis Enterprises.
La mezquita Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan se inauguró oficialmente en septiembre del 2015 para la festividad islámica de Eid-al Adha. Más de 40.000 personas visitaron el edificio y pudieron admirar su riqueza y su inigualable ambiente de paz y devoción.
DETALLES DE LA INSTALACIÓN
Principal -12 x VSA 2050, altavoz de columna orientable digitalmente Líneas de retardo - 8 x L2406, altavoz de columna de tres vías Exteriores - 6 x P 4228, altavoz de dos vías resistentes al clima Pasillos y habitaciones secundarias - 16 x CS 6940, altavoz de columna de dos vías Minaretes - 18 x HD 410, altavoz de bocina Minaretes - 14 x HD 6045, altavoz de bocina
Installation
The newly-renovated Cathedral Museum in Florence was inaugurated on 29th October with a DXT 9000 evacuation system from RCF.
The Museum, located a few steps away from the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, is the largest permanent exposition of sculptures dating back to the Tuscan Middle Ages and Renaissance. A group of distinguished architects led the massive renovation project and this resulted in a doubling of the area where the artworks are shown, and is now around 6000 sqm.
The COO of the Museum’s special systems, Mr. Daniele Baccellini from GM Engineering studio, expressed his satisfaction with the system: “The DXT 9000 is compliant with the EN 54 standard, works very well and allows pre-recorderd evacuation announcements to be integrated with vocal messages that are broadcast to the public in specific situations.”
The system was designed by professor eng. Giancarlo Martarelli and can broadcast messages in both Italian and English as part of the fire alarm system. The package includes an MX 9504 amplified master unit, a UP 9504 four-channel amplifier and a BM 9804 multi-zone paging microphone, all manufactured by RCF. The evacuation system is completed by around 60 PL 70EN ceiling speakers, that blend into the Museum’s interiors in a subtle and discreet manner. As Mr. Baccellini explained: “This is an extraordinary exposition, so presentation is also really important. We chose the ceiling speakers not just because of their functional features, but also because of their look.”
Mr. Francesco Fallani, a representative from the company C.L. Impianti, which installed the Museum’s electrical systems, was no stranger to the DXT 9000: “We had already used this evacuation system in other projects in the past and we will keep on proposing it. Besides the functionality and efficiency of the products, we value RCF’s collaboration and technical support in all operation phases.”
High-quality products and a fruitful collaboration were the key elements for the evacuation project in the Cathedral Museum, where thousands of tourists have already enjoyed the artworks of Donatello, Michelangelo and other masterpieces of world sculpture.
Event
French rental company XCPH recently fielded its premium RCF HDL20-A composite line array for the Vibration radio tour headlining the young stars (and former TV talent show winners) Louane and Marina Kaye.
With support from production coordinator, Jean Louis Couleard, the opening concert at Le Mans was one of six, also including Orleans, Blois, Tours, Angers and Bourges. It saw 7,500 people arrive at the Place des Jacobins in the centre of the city for an event that almost didn't take place, as the tropical storm Henri had crossed the country on the day of the show.
By then the Orleans based production company had rigged the PA comprising two clusters of RCF’s HDL20-A, each with seven elements, and a further six HDL20-A enclosures as front fills. Nine 8006AS subs, in 3 x 3 stacks, provided cardioid pattern control.
“We were almost ready to cancel the concert,” admits XCPH’s sound engineer Nicolas Fournier. “Finally the rigging was made secure but we really appreciated the rain cover accessories provided with the HDL.
“In fact we appreciated everything about the system: it was very easy to set up and its modularity meant that when we were playing small to mid-sized venues we could use just a few speakers in a stack configuration. In addition to that, the mechanics are also pretty clever and that saved us a lot of time.”
Generally, XCPH deploy their HDL20-A in an indoor configuration along with their HDL18-AS single 18’ subwoofers in an array. But for the Vibration tour, they extended this, and beefed up the LF with the double 18” subs in cardio configuration.
Reviewing the attributes of the sound system, Nicolas Fournier notes the extreme power generated from a mid-sized PA that is powered by a 1400W (peak) 2 way digital amplifier, and controlled from a powerful DSP. “We are always impressed by the energy from the HDL20-A,” he said. At the concert in Blois, over 12,000 people attended, with special guest artist Shy’m added to the show. “Once again we kept perfect clarity thanks to a delay cluster of six HD20-A at 40 meters from the stage.
“The 8006AS subwoofers were also incredible, producing an extremely strong and deep bass response. Cardioid control is very easy — it only requires a preset button to be pushed and the internal DSP manages all the pattern behaviour.”
But the main advantage of HDL, he says, is the sweet and natural equalisation, which rarely requires much external processing.
Summing up the reasons why they prefer the HDL20-A, Nicolas Fournier concludes, “For rental companies like us, concerned with tight budgets and cost effective systems, RCF’s HDL20-A guarantees a similar performance to ‘premium’ systems that are two or three times more expensive.”
Event
Two of Europe’s biggest DJ/dance festivals, Splash! and Melt! have grown considerably over the 17 or so years they have been running, and today find themselves running on consecutive weekends at the Ferropolis disused colliery site at Gräfenhainichen, near Dessau.
This German venue is also known as the “City of Iron”, and with Splash! specialising in hip hop and reggae and Melt! one of the largest electronic open air music festivals in Germany, a premium sound system was required. Thus a top of the range RCF TTL line array system was specified, provided by TSE AG of Berlin, with Silvio König as technical director and Marcel Kuch as project manager.
In both cases, RCF’s TTL55-A line array system had to provide coverage for crowds of up to 25,000 people. The rental company fielded a total of 24 x TTL55-A (12 elements per side) and 18 x TTS56-A subs. These were arranged in three stacks on end in a straight line across the front oft he stage (rather than as a cardioid array).
A further eight RCF TTL33-A were also placed atop two of the TTS56-A to act as front fills while a further four RCF SUB8004-A and a pair of TTP5-A were deployed as stereo monitors for the DJs. The whole set up was driven and controlled by RDNet, RCF’s proprietary protocol.
The challenges facing the production company were due to the distance from the FOH position to the stage, which was approximately 50m. “For events of this nature the FOH technical team needs to rely on continuous, powerful and deep bass response — and this was delivered by the special set-up of the TTS56-A,“ a spokesman confirmed.
Event
The Live and Touring series gives voice voice reinforcement to Pope Francis as he addresses believers packed into the city squares
The Pontiff’s historic trip to Cuba last September was amplified by RCF audio systems.
Pope Francis landed in Cuba on Saturday 19 September in the afternoon. The next morning he celebrated Sunday Mass and the Angelus in Havana’s Revolution Square, in the presence of more than 40,000 people, who were divided into separate zones for security reasons.
The closest area to the stage, set aside for VIPs, politicians and diplomats, was reinforced by eight TTL55-A three-way active line arrays (four per side), plus six TTS36-A high-power subwoofers, in cardioid configuration.
On Sunday afternoon the Pope celebrated Vespers inside the Havana Cathedral. An RCF system comprising eight HDL20-A active line arrays and two 8006-AS high-power subwoofers ensured good SPL and intelligibility to more than 2,000 people gathered in the Cathedral’s square.
On the morning of Monday 21 September the Pontiff flew to Holguín, the third-largest city in Cuba, where he celebrated Holy Mass in Revolution Square, which was filled with around 15,000 people, according to the authorities. The system used to amplify the Pope’s voice in Holguín consisted of 24 units of TTL55-A and TTS36-A, in cardioid configuration.
Back in 2012, during Pope Benedict’s trip to Cuba, the local government had chosen RCF’s TT+ Series to amplify the Mess in Havana’s Revolution Square. Even before that — back in 2010 — the Touring and Theatre products had ensured a homogeneous and powerful coverage to the immense crowd (more than 120,000 people) that had flocked to Brno, in Czech Republic, for the visite of Benedict XVI.
Event
“It was great. The system performed very well everywhere we went, both in open squares and indoors,” said Francesco Monti, known as Fré Monti, one of the most promising emerging musicians on the Italian scene. A finalist in the first edition of The Voice of Italy TV programme, he toured Tuscany, Sardinia and Latium in summer 2015 with an RCF audio system that comprised two EVOX 8 and several ART 712-A MK II, winners of the Red Dot award – a prestigious international prize for product design with more than 15'000 submissions per year.
Besides regularly performing outdoors in the most popular localities, such as the exclusive Costa Smeralda area, Fré Monti also played at the Cala di Volpe Hotel and Porto Cervo’s Yacht Club, in front of many members of the international jet set – including the business magnate Karīm al-Husaynī, main pioneer of Sardinia’s tourist boom.
EVOX 8 turned out to be the perfect companions for Fré Monti’s trio, thanks to their outstanding portability, high power and constant horizontal directivity of 180°. ART712-A was designed to offer strong resistance for an intensive usage, high sound definition and a complete range of frequencies.
“The products exceeded my expectations, and worked perfectly, both in mid-sized closed venues, as well as in open squares, where our music was heard from a great distance,” states Fré Monti. “It is a particularly agile audio system. This feature was essential during the tour, because we were assembling and dismantling almost every day.”
During the intense tour of around 70 concerts, the 28-year-old songwriter’s trio (voice and acoustic guitar; percussion; bass) performed original songs as well as covers on stage. Fré Monti will continue to play live shows in Italy and abroad, and is currently preparing an album of previously unreleased songs.
Installation
The Philharmonia Orchestra of New York along with the Concert Chorale of New York and several soloists performed at the Lincoln Center Festival in Manhattan’s world-class venue Avery Fisher Hall. The event, held from July 6-12, was a tribute to Danny Elfman, the phenomenal composer of Tim Burton’s movie soundtracks.
Elfman was present in person and sang the part of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas with his powerful baritone voice. The orchestra and chorus – led by Grammy-winner conductor John Mauceri – managed to offer a truly unforgettable show to a jubilant crowd, with a precise and portentous interpretation of Elfman’s inventive, creepy, yet hilarious compositions from Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attack, Corpse Bride, Beetlejuice, and several other Burton’s movies. The show was also supported by spectacular visuals.
The audio system installed at Avery Fisher Hall for the occasion was composed of 10 x 2 clusters of RCF TTL33-A II active three-way line array and four TTS56-A active high power subwoofers. Four TT052-A ultra compact high output speakers were used as lipfill, and two TT2-A active high-output two-way speakers as sidefill.
One of the reasons behind the choice of the TTL33-A II lies in the need to cover the whole concert hall, comprising three levels of balconies. With its 100° horizontal coverage angle, this line array was capable of ensuring perfect coverage to all seats, even those in the highest balcony. On the other hand, the TTS56-A subwoofers provided an excellent reproduction of very low frequencies through their two 21’’ neodymium woofers.
The whole system was monitored with RCF’s proprietary RDNet protocol, that allowed fine tuning of the system for a homogeneous coverage in the whole complex area.
Paul Bevan, FOH engineer for the show, explains that one of the principal challenges was to maintain a very natural “orchestral” sound at a slightly elevated level than a purely acoustic presentation. With a wide range of dynamics, incorporating a male and female chorus, vocal soloists, electronic sounds from keyboards and some pre-lay tracks from the original scores, the concert required a system that was capable of great clarity.
“When designing a suitable system for this project, RCF TT+ line arrays were recommended to me by several people whose opinions I respect,” Bevan says. “We had very little time for set-up and tuning the system. The cabinets went up quickly and easily. The RDNet software gave an extremely even and natural sound throughout the venue, even before the small amount of tweaking that would be necessary in any venue and with any system. The clarity and separation that I was able to achieve, given the many different textures, made mixing the show in an extremely reverberant hall much easier than I expected. The system integrated these various elements beautifully.”
The concert was filmed for a TV show, and a further validation of the system came during the mixing of the recorded tracks. In the words of Paul Bevan: “The cleanliness of the recorded tracks is astonishing, with no sign of the PA spilling back into the microphones. Considering that there were approximately 90 microphones in use throughout the orchestra and chorus, this is a testimony to the control that I was able to achieve, while maintaining a full and dynamic mix in the hall. I look forward to the next opportunity to use this system.”
RCF TT+ systems had already been used in the same venue in 2012, when the Philip Glass Ensemble, along with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Collegiate Choir, had performed Philip Glass’s soundtracks. The two-and-a-half-hour event of 2015 was a huge success, largely praised by the critics and public, that offered an impressively long ovation to the performers.
Installation
Sound Advice carries out complete audio upgrade as mediaeval meets post-modern
Back in 2010, when the medieval Tewkesbury Abbey was considering the installation of a new LED environmental lighting system it simultaneously saw the opportunity to rectify the problems it had been having with its sound system — which was becoming unreliable and lacking in intelligibility — and at the same time take advantage of the new cabling infrastructure.
The contract went out to tender, and from the five companies originally approached, Jon Hunnisett’s Sound Advice PA Installation, specialists in houses of worship, provided the successful bid. He based his proposal around an RCF VSA (Vertical Steerable Array) solution, having seen it successfully deployed in other famous heritage buildings such as St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
VSA would need to be sensitively installed in Tewkesbury’s Grade I-listed visitor attraction under the watchful eye of the DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee) since it dates back to Norman times. In fact The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin (to use its correct name), is the second largest parish church in the country and a former Benedictine monastery. Founded in 1087 by nobleman Robert FitzHamon, building of the present Abbey did not start until 1102 and was eventually consecrated in 1121.
Jon Hunnisett’s company has worked on many projects with RCF — aside from installing column speakers in houses of worship they have fitted many of their conference systems in commercial meeting rooms and chambers. “They are a great company to deal with — we always get excellent support, including the technical expertise in Italy to back us up,” he said.
In this case the back-up came from the project manager from RCF’s in-house division, who provided the measurements and analyses. This gave the project team the acoustic background in which to design their series of VSA2050, VSA1250 and VSA850 columns in a six zone system incorporating the main Nave, Quire and Lady Chapel.
In another zone — the Ambulatory walkway which runs around the perimeter behind the altar — these were supplemented by eight passive CS6940, powered by a pair of RCF UP8504 quad channel power amps, a column speaker the installer has used on many occasions in the past (and which features in Westminster Abbey).
Hunnisett continues, “This time around I didn't want a large number of distributed speakers with separate delays so much as minimal equipment that would provide a lot of options with more versatile delay and EQ options. I had heard VSA and knew it would tick all the boxes while still hitting the price points.”
And so in addition to the high directivity CS6940, he specified a total of six of RCF’s flagship VSA2050 powered and steerable vertical array columns (four for the nave and two for the high altar), five VSA1250 (for the Choir, the Font and Lady Chapel) and a pair of VSA850, which sit under a pair of the larger VSA’s either side of the aisle at the front of the nave. While the VSA2050s handle the long throw focus over a 20-metre distance, the VSA850’s cover the near-field. The two VSA1250, installed on pillars facing the Font, provide independent local coverage for specific services.
The Diocesan Committee were already aware of the power and flexibility of the preset beam patterns, as the Sound Advice team had earlier provided a VSA demonstration to the entire Abbey church committee. “We put one speaker up and they were enormously impressed,” Jon Hunnisett remembers. “As a result, the Faculty immediately approved [the investment].
“The trick was to use the loudspeakers in conjunction with the excellent natural acoustics of the space to amplify the sound, rather than try to overpower the reverberation.”
So what attributes make this multi-amplified RCF series, in which each VSA2050 contains 20 x 3.5in RCF neodymium full range transducers and 20 x Class D 50W digital amps, so impressive? The principle is based on the power of the DSP’s which process the audio signal sent to each speaker for controlling its vertical acoustic dispersion. This enables it to address the audio signal to the listening area, rather than scattering acoustic energy to ceilings and empty floors, creating unwanted reflections that would affect speech intelligibility in buildings with high reverberation time, such as churches. This speaker offers vertical coverage selectable within 10°-30°, with steering angle selectable within 0°-40°, and frequency response 100Hz-18KHz with best steerable directivity control between 150Hz-6kHz.
The values measured at the end of commissioning by the RCF team, using the latest analysis software, make interesting reading. STI average values were recorded at: 0.57 (Nave), 0.59 (Choir), 0.56 (Lady Chapel, Ambulatory), with a 40dB background noise correction factor enabled. At the same time, the RT60 average value over different measurements on octave bands revealed 4.85 secs (125Hz), 4.63 secs (250Hz), 4.44 secs (500Hz), 4.18 secs (1KHz), 3.36 secs (2KHz), 2.08 secs (4KHz) and 0.94 secs (8KHz).
The decision had already been taken to leave the speakers in factory finish white, rather than apply a custom stone finish that would see them disappear into the stone columns on which they were mounted, but the same was not true of the cable runs — on 12-metre drops from the Triforium above — as these have been painted to blend invisibly into the background.
Yet these physical demands were nothing compared to the challenges of providing highly sophisticated control that could nevertheless be managed intuitively from a remote Crestron interactive touch tablet. Even clergy in a mediaeval abbey are still expected to sign up to the iPad/remote tablet generation.
With all the control housed in a remote 32U rack, the architecture is based around three Symetrix DSP Radius digital 12 x 8 matrix devices, giving 36 input channels (including CD player and recorder) feeding 24 output channels; it is this that issues relay commands via the processor.
Jon Hunnisett explains the rationale. “There was not a manual slider available which would meet the requirement and so we spent ten days programming each of the zones so that the matrix could be controlled over wi-fi, with individual input control and volume control for the outputs.”
For the speaker coverage it could scarcely be simpler as graphic representations of each zone appear on the tablet, clearly showing masked areas that can be selected for sound coverage, depending on the service rota. “For example,” says Hunnisett, “for the Lady Chapel the remote touch screen would tell the DSP to access certain outputs as required. Behind the scenes a lot of programming has taken place to achieve this.”
The iPad also contains an app for the radio mics so that the control panel will show whether any of the five lapel mics are muted or not, as well as the status of the rechargeable batteries. These radios are joined by two condenser microphones for the lectern and pulpit, hardwired to the equipment rack.
An audio feed is also sent to the new induction loop system, but as RCF’s Phil Price notes: “Some people may be reluctant to use aids, even though they may be hard of hearing — but now they can hear every word of the sermon. Another interesting fact about the new sound reinforcement system is that if there is choral music at low level the sound appears to come from the choir itself rather than from the speakers.”
At the end of it all, mediaeval abbeys were never built to host music — such as CD’s for weddings and baptisms — and were hardly built with slide rule precision. At the survey stage Jon Hunnisett realised that the pillars down the nave tilted slightly, and he had to decide whether to follow the line of the pillars with the steerable columns or take a true vertical approach (which he eventually opted for, with the aid of a laser leveller).
He could scarcely be happier with the implementation. “The new set-up offers two-way interactivity and with all the DSP pre-programmed, and the beam steering computer optimised by the RCF specialists, anyone who can tap a button can now use this.”
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