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.
“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.
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.
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.”
RCF has appointed Freund Elektronik A/S to handle all their voice alarm products in Denmark.
The new partnership was confirmed, with immediate effect, by Jørgen Freund, director of the Danish company, and Phil Price, who has taken on a new role heading up Voice Evacuation, Commercial Audio and Installed Sound for RCF in Europe.
Founded in 1981 to supply the country’s wholesalers and electricians with high quality products, Freund Elektronik A/S has been specialising in the sale of Voice Alarm systems for the past ten years.
States Freund Elektronik technical consultant, Thomas Knoth, “We researched the market, and realising that RCF was the industry leader, we approached them at ISE 2015.
“With the new and high demands of voice evacuation equipment we were pleased to discover that RCF had EN54 compliance on all their VA products, combined with easy installation.”
He added that with the company’s heritage in supplying fire alarm and fire protection equipment the partnership with RCF was a natural fit. “With the RCF VA systems portfolio we will be able to offer customers product that fits perfectly within their field of specialisation,” he said.
In reply, Phil Price added, “RCF has been involved in PA/VA for over 15 years and this marries well with the our general pro audio heritage, stretching back 66 years.
“However, with the new EN54 legislation we decided to make a major investment in our in-house technology by mounting a strategic and ongoing R&D programme.
“In some instances this has required a channel to market that differs from our traditional routes, and in identifying suitable partners in the fire and voice alarm sector, I met Freund Elektronik. I was very impressed with the technical support they offer customers and their ethos of long-term after-sales support — and this made me realise that they were a partner we could work with.”
Pic (left to right): Jørgen Freund, Thomas Knoth, Phil Price and Kenneth Freund
Seven years after the grandeur of Harrogate’s iconic Royal Hall was restored following an £8m grant-assisted investment, the theatre has installed a digitally steerable RCF column PA system.
With its spectacular décor, the Grade II*-listed 1000 seat multipurpose theatre not only forms part of the large Harrogate International Conference Centre (HIC) but significantly is one of the few surviving Frank Matcham-designed theatres from the Edwardian era. Among its many technological breakthroughs, it remains the last surviving Kursaal, a genre which was particularly popular in spa towns, offering a 360° ambulatory for visitors.
Originally designed 115 years ago, the venue is focused on a wide range of performance, from the three-week International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival to a myriad of community activities. Therefore, the new sound system needed to be versatile and distribute sound evenly across the three tiers, while the heritage listing meant that the system needed to be free standing and easily demountable.
The house’s technical manager, Ross Simpson, and in-house sound engineer, James Burn, pointed out that a raked stage further compromised placement of the PA – and a flown system was not an option.
“Technology has evolved a lot over the past four or five years since we first went digital with our new mixing desk,” said Simpson.
When local rental and installation company AV Matrix hired in their lightweight and steerable active RCF TTL11A-H/TTL11A-B columns — mounted on TTS26 subs — to reinforce last year’s Tour de France opening dinner they believed they had found the solution.
And by the time the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival took place at Harrogate later that summer an identical system had been installed by Mark Parker’s company, along with a pair of NX L-24A active processed columns on each side of the balcony, to delay the sound firing into the upper tiers. The top speakers are inverted for improved acoustic coupling while a loudspeaker management system controls the delay times and preset parameters.
The sophisticated 96 Khz, 32-bit DSP-controlled column speaker array system, composed of two modules — one for the mid-high and one for the bass frequencies — is vertically steerable down to -10° (in 1° increments), either manually or via RCF’s proprietary RDNet software, and delivers 90° horizontal coverage. With the addition of the new TTS26-A subwoofer, the TTL11A system becomes a powerful, compact and high definition live sound system.
James Burn is in no doubt of the benefits the RCF solution has brought, although HIC Yorkshire auditioned several top-line systems before making their decision. “The TTL11-A is a small footprint system, visually unobtrusive, but sufficiently potent to encourage incoming productions to use the in-house set-up. And because we are able to steer the sound dispersion electronically we can achieve even distribution, with far greater intelligibility than what we had previously.
“There’s also better isolation on stage than the previous system. For performers wearing lapel mics the feedback rejection is so much better and we can avoid radio mic feedback when we bring the system forward, if the stage needs to be built out.”
He concluded, “The RCF system delivers even coverage for conference, speech, music, CD playback and awards ceremonies. The sound now gets to the back quite easily and by monitoring the consistent SPL in the control booth we also know it’s not deafening the front rows.”
A concert lasting more than three hours, and performed in front of more than 150.000 fans, was a fitting way for Luciano Ligabue, one of the Italy's best-known singers, to celebrate a career lasting 25 years. Several events industry professional lent their support to help realise effective and innovative solutions for the show, under the supervision of production director Franco Comanducci.
Once again, Ligabue and his management chose RCF for the sound reinforcement system. “The collaboration with RCF dates back to 2012,” the artist’s manager Claudio Maioli explains, recalling the concerts at Royal Albert Hall in 2012, at the Verona Arena in 2013 and the tour of sports arenas and stadia in 2014. For this 2015 celebration RCF designed a system of 2 MegaWatt of power, able to offer flawless audio coverage to the enormous listening area, measuring more than 120.000 square meters.
The impressive main system was composed of two clusters of 24 TTL55-A active three-way speakers in flown configuration, plus two clusters of 12 TTL36-AS subwoofers. Moreover 72 TTS56-A subwoofers (electronically curved, in cardioid configuration) were placed on the ground to reinforce low frequencies. On top of the, 20 units of TTL33-A II active three-way modules were used as front-fill. Two clusters of 20 TTL55-A were used as side-fill, and stage monitors were also from RCF (in the shape of TT45-SMA and TT25-SMA).
RCF engineers noted that, the main requirement of the project was to cover the large distance between the stage and public – the back rows being at a record distance of around 300 m. The listening area was divided into four zones in order to ensure a perfect output of the sound timbre and good SPL level. The first zone was covered directly by the main system, whereas the others were supported by purpose designed delay lines.
The first delay line comprised six clusters of 16 TTL55-A arrays in each. For the second delay line, located 120 metres from the stage, seven clusters of 12 TTL55-A and 4 TTS56-A subwoofers each were used. Finally the third delay, 170 metres back from the stage, was composed of six clusters of 12 TTL55-A, plus four TTS56-A each to reinforce low frequencies. The use of RCF's proprietary RDNet monitoring system during the show allowed RCF engineers to have a real-time remote control of the system’s state, and adjust the EQs through a tablet computer.
Alberto Butturini, FoH engineer of the show, was more than satisfied with the system. “The system delivered huge power and perfect timbre for a concert where guitars have a dominant role,” he commented. “I achieved excellent results on the frequencies of Ligabue’s voice, which stood out in the best possible way from a powerful mix, full of instruments.” Remembering his previous experiences during Ligabue’s tour, Butturini states: “RCF’s systems were highly effective even in the toughest venues, such as some sports arenas with acoustically challenging environments.”
Willy Gubellini, owner of rental company Nuovo Service with over 30 years of experience, highlighted an additional strength of RCF’s system: the compact size of the speakers with amplifiers on board, that helped reduce weight and footprint. Gubellini also praised the quality of RCF’s human resources and their important contribution to the huge event: “Another winning trait of this concert was the excellent relationship that we established with RCF’s team, whose competence and willingness to help supported us in setting up the installation in the best possible way,” he explained. A mix of high-level technical competence and passion for sound, were the ingredients that, led to another unqualified success for RCF with Ligabue.
N.48 TTL55-A main N.40 TTL55-A side-fill N.24 TTL36-AS subwoofer N. 72 TTS56-A subwoofer N. 20 TTL33-A II frontfill
1st DELAY: 6x16 TTL55-A, 2x4 TTS56-A 2nd DELAY: 7x12 TTL55-A, 7x4 TTS56-A 3rd DELAY: 6x12 TTL55-A, 6x4 TTS56-A
N. 6 TT45-SMA monitor N. 6 TT25-SMA monitor
The Italian music event of the year results from a 100% local collaboration: the artist, the location and an avant-garde sound system, for a total power of 2 million watt
The town of Reggio Emilia is getting ready for the big party on Saturday 19th September, when fans from the whole Italy will gather in the Capovolo concert area for Luciano Ligabue. The event is meant to be the longest concert he has ever made, and a spectacular celebration for his 25 years of career.
Luciano Ligabue comes from Reggio Emilia, therefore the location chosen for the occasion has a special meaning. The sound system is also original from Reggio Emilia – the impressive audio system for the concert area of 240K square metres was produced by local company RCF. Two million watt of power will guarantee an excellent and homogeneous quality of sound to the public up to the very last row, as assured by the technical staff that has been working at Campovolo for days to make sure that the concert turns out a success.
The installed loudspeakers are RCF’s top quality Touring and Theatre (TT+) Series, that are innovative products created using avant-garde audio technologies to ensure high sound definition. RCF was founded in Reggio Emilia back in 1949 and today is a leader company in the international audio industry, thanks to a longstanding commitment to constant technology innovation.
The collaboration between the two “fellow citizens” RCF and Luciano Ligabue started a few years ago and has benefited from the important contribution of the CEO of rental company Nuova Service, Mr. Willy Gubellini, that ensures first-class production standards. In 2012 and 2013 RCF supported the singer at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where he held a few successful concerts. In 2013 Ligabue performed in the city of Verona during the unforgettable and inspiring Seven Nights at the Arena tour, with the support of TT+ Series loudspeakers. The star and the company worked together again in 2014 during the Mondovisione tour, that was amplified by RCF on all Italian dates. The management and the artist required a customized version of the loudspeakers, instead of the classical black color.
On Saturday 19th September the gates will open at 8 am, and the concert starts at 8.30 pm. The show is awaited with eagerness not only by thousands of fans, but also by all professionals who worked to make this big celebration possible. We wish everybody a lot of fun, and a happy 25th anniversary to Luciano Ligabue.
RCF’s digital audio system for the management and diffusion of background music, evacuation and emergency announcements in accordance with EN 54-16 norms were installed in around 10 pavilions at Expo Milan and in the common areas of the Children’s Park and Open Air Theatre, where the spectacular opening ceremony took place on May 1st.
The DXT 9000 system, consisting of a configurable digital matrix with 8 routed inputs towards any output chanel, is in place in the Belgian, Chilean, French and German pavilions. With 2500 W installed capacity, the German pavilion hosts the most important RCF installation at Expo 2015. The Open Air Theatre, the large space dedicated to concerts and open-air shows, with a capacity of around 11 thousand chose the DXT 9000 for the evacuation of common areas and dressing rooms.
The Swiss pavilion and the Children’s Park were equipped with the DXT 7000 system, that is particularly suitable for them thanks to its digital matrix with 8 amplifiers at 80 W each. The Children’s Park is a large outdoor space where kids can play and explore while familiarizing with the themes of Expo 2015. RCF HD 21EN horn loudspeakers were installed in the colourful and spectacular playground because they represent the most suitable solution for outdoor installations, as demonstrated by the IP 66 protection marking.
The DXT 3000 system – the most recent among RCF’s digital matrices for voice evacuation – was used in the pavilions of Azerbaijan, Moldova, Principality of Monaco, Austria and Vietnam. The system’s peculiarity lies in its suitability for wall-mounting, that makes it the ideal solution for small-and-medium-sized installations with 250 W rated audio power.
All matrices installed in the pavilions’ technical rooms allow to make either separate calls for independent areas or general voice announcements in the whole pavilion, in Italian and English. The evacuation messages compliant with the EN 54-16 norms are programmed to be automatically broadcasted in the whole area in case of need, triggered by the fire alarm system. The two power supply units compliant with EN 54-4 standards (models PS 4048 and PS 6048) ensure the smooth functioning of the DXT 9000 and DXT 7000 matrices even during power cuts, thus meeting the industry regulation’s requirements. DXT 3000, being a fully integrated solution, has the back-up EN 54-4 power supply facility integrated on-board.
The RCF team supplied the service of customized activation of the matrices, with the possibility to include additional specific requirements such as background music or creation of independent areas, always in compliance with UNI ISO 7240-19 system norm.
For more than 100 years the family-run Tennants Auctioneers have been hosting international sales from three dedicated rooms at Leyburn in Yorkshire.
But several years ago company chairman, Rodney Tennant, the third generation of the family, decided to expand the operation into a world class events centre by adding a wing that would give the building, set in spacious grounds in the Yorkshire Dales, three times the capacity (and cost £9m to realise).
In addition to the multipurpose 550-capacity Garden Rooms that could serve as a banqueting, concert and theatre space, the new wing would also incorporate new restaurants, lecture and seminar rooms and exhibition space.
He contacted Mark Parker of AV Matrix, based at nearby Wetherby, who knows the building implicitly after fitting out the original building when with his previous company. As on that occasion, he managed to source most of his loudspeaker requirements from the catalogue of RCF, one of his preferred long-term suppliers.
“I was conscious of budget, and the price to performance ratio had to be exactly right, and the speakers unobtrusive,” he said. Ticking those particular boxes he was able to specify RCF’s powerful C-series Acustica for the main ballroom/function room and between 70-80 PL 8X 8” + 1” flush mount coaxial ceiling speakers on a distributed system through many of the 16 zones into which the venue is divided.
While the sweeping staircase leads upstairs to viewing areas, a mezzanine gallery and three first floor meeting/seminar rooms, a roof terrace, private dining room and viewing gallery, downstairs are a dedicated restaurant, café and original sale rooms. However, the piéce de rèsistance is The Garden Rooms. With the partitions removed, this can open out into the adjoining Fountain and Versailles Rooms when the space can function in full concert mode.
In specifying a full sound, stage lighting and video package, with a contract value of £130K, Mark Parker knew that each of the many rooms had to communicate with any other, and that any signal source had to be routable via the processor to any destination.
“We worked with the M&E consultants and put a full cable spec together, including coax, SDI, 4-way audio and two CAT5 to every room and every TV position,” he explained.
To serve the many functions scheduled for The Garden Rooms are two pairs of RCF Acustica Compact C5212-64 (60° x 40°) and eight C3110-96 wall mounted distributed delay speakers and two S8018 MkII single 18in Acustica subs — part of an industry standard concert spec. Driving this system are RCF HPS 1500 (2 x 750W) and HPS 2500 (2 x 1400W) amplifiers.
Meanwhile, two RCF L-Pad 12CX 12-channel portable mixers (with effects) have been built into portable racks for manual mic mixing around the facility.
Up on the new outside terrace AV Matrix have installed eight of RCF’s IP55-rated indoor/outdoor MQ80P Indoor/Outdoor 2-way horn loaded speakers for background music and public address.
Explaining his choice of RCF products, Mark Parker states, “We’ve used Acustica many times over the years and installed them successfully in nightclubs and cabaret clubs. It’s a small footprint product for the sound it produces and it’s important that in addition to their excellent active speakers, RCF still offers a good quality passive solution — and one that is significantly less expensive than comparable models.
“The ceiling speakers offer extremely good value and the exterior speakers are simple and unobtrusive.”
The entire installation operates under Philips Control 4 with individual room touch control via iPod Touch — which enabled the installer to simply reconfigure the room settings as required.
Summing up, RCF’s Northern Sales Manager, Mick Butler says, “The quality of AV Matrix’s work is exemplary, and the profile this gives to RCF cannot be overstated.”
Adding his own endorsement, Rodney Tennant stated, “We never had any doubt that Mark and his team from AV Matrix would provide us with sound and light systems of the highest standard.
“The space we designed had all the potential to be a top venue but this only became a reality with AV’s input throughout the design and build process. The sound and lighting systems that they have installed are so complex that they have taken the space from a ‘good’, to a top class venue suitable for international musical and stage productions.
“AV Matrix have been an integral part of making The Garden Rooms at Tennants what it is today and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
Going forward, the new-look facility will now be administered by the fourth generation of the family, as Rodney Tennant has passed the operation down to this three daughters, Caroline, Alison and Jane.
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