One of Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s most iconic buildings, The Palace of Arts, has been equipped with a premium RCF D-Line HDL20-A system by locally based technical providers, Nitelites, for its new occupants, the Wylam Brewery.
The Grand Hall at the Palace of Arts — the last building to survive from the North East Exhibition world fair of 1929 — was originally opened by the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) in the newly-redeveloped Exhibition Park.
Now Wylam Brewery has relocated its HQ and converted the Grade-II listed building into a fully operating, working brewery and events space after it had remained almost derelict for nearly a decade. Prior to that it had operated as a Science Museum and Military Vehicle Museum.
With the Grand Hall playing host to a wide range of functions, from brewers’ markets, live music (including #1 album seller, Michael Kiwanuka), pop-up food events, weddings and corporate events, accommodating up to 800 people standing, a state-of-the-art sound system was required.
Nitelites were introduced to the project by Events Director (and Brewery co-owner), Dave Stone, a well known promoter on the local music scene. “We trusted them to put in an installation commensurate with the wide range of events we would be staging,” he said. The director was also eager that the room be integrated within the brewery itself, giving it a unique feel by incorporating the barrel-ageing programme.
Stone was already well aware of the integrity of the RCF product having experienced it from the Nitelites rental stock at previous venues that he had operated. He also knew that it had good visibility with sound engineers and could be supported by any additional equipment where necessary.
Nitelites director, and sound system designer Andy Magee, immediately recognised the challenges of working in a listed, single-glazed dome roof structure, with the combined problems of sound escape externally, and high reverberance internally.
”Initially the noise study limited the SPL considerably but by being able to demonstrate the clarity of the HDL20-A, and our ability to focus the energy onto the dancefloor area, we have been able to increase the threshold to 100dB,” he said. The fact they were able to model the room in the industry standard EASE Focus 3 software was a further boost.
Magee added that in view of its reliability, the decision to specify this big-selling composite system — with hangs of six elements a side — had been a no-brainer, particularly with its 100* x 15° dispersion pattern. “The return on investment is unparalleled and it’s so easy and quick to deploy and operate,” he said.
Recessed behind the front of the stage apron are five powerful TTS36-A subs, housing two 18” neodymium woofers. In addition, six RCF NX15-SMA have been provided for stage monitoring while limiter and EQ structure is programmed into a BSS Soundweb DSP.
Andy Magee also highlighted other attributes of the system. “Since the brewery doesn’t have a full time engineer but relies on freelance engineers, who will mostly have experienced the system, the fact that the HDL20-A is equipped with several push button correction tools enables them to change the low frequency and midrange summation to suit.” He says the soft touch filter and EQ control are easy to understand.
Supplied as part of a sound and light package, the Nitelites man concludes, “There are a lot of dynamics in this system which enable the client to cater for a wide range of events. At the same time we have managed to keep reflections down to a minimum.” And Dave Stone agrees. “We were unable to acoustically treat the room but Nitelites have absolutely nailed it with the RCF system. We have received great feedback as the system has settled into the different scenarios.” Further information from:
‘Salle Olof Palme’ is a multi-purpose exhibition and event arena, with 1200-capacity, in the northern French city of Béthune.
Dedicated primarily to business exhibitions and conventions, local sound and lighting sales, rental and installation company OK SONO recently installed an RCF HDL10-A compact line array, having won a public administration tender by proposing this highly cost-effective line array solution.
The installation, which features four elements flown left and right of the stage, followed a complete renovation of the Arena, including new lighting and video screen.
For this large venue, the customer had wanted to avoid the traditional multi-diffusion cabinet design. Instead, Francesco Venturi, from RCF’s Engineering Support Group, made a preliminary acoustic simulation with EASE Focus software, and HDL10-A met the criteria in this configuration, producing excellent results, particularly in delivering speech intelligibility.
In order to gain better coverage for the first few rows, since the removable stage did not accept traditional front fills, OK SONO dipped further into the popular D-Line range to specify two compact RCF HDL10-A active two-way monitors for theispurpose.
The entire system is controlled by RCF’s dedicated 2-in/6-out loudspeaker management device.
Emmanuel Obert, director of OK SONO, is delighted with the acoustic results, adding, “By the middle of the year we intend to add some [RCF] 8004-AS subwoofers, in order to improve bass response for live events with local bands. There is already a dedicated output from the DX processor for that purpose.”
When Nitelites installed a permanent RCF HDL20-A line array system in Sage Gateshead’s main 1700-capacity main room, setting a new benchmark in sound reinforcement, it seemed only a matter of time before they returned to upgrade the smaller Sage Two.
Nearly two and a half years later and they have done precisely that. But given that the venue’s second room is a flexible, ten-sided auditorium, split over three levels and accommodating 430 (theatre style) or 600 for a full standing gig, the installation was going to be anything but straightforward. Nitelites director and system designer, Andy Magee, opted for a pair of RCF’s TTL6-A as the centrepiece of the first phase upgrade, knowing that the subsequent arrival of the HDL6-A composite line array would then enable the two upper balconies to receive full 360° coverage.
“Sage Two’s sound system was falling short,” opined Magee. “The room stages many performance genres — from classical, world and jazz music to straight theatre — some of it unamplified. Therefore, the reason for specifying the TTL6-A is because it is not only compact but packs a considerable punch. The first time I heard it I was blown away by the SPL. It seemed the ideal one-box solution.” And that’s hardly a surprise, since the three-way active TTL6-A is equipped with 2 x 12” LF woofers, 4 x 6.5” midranges and a 3.0” voice coil compression driver. The integration of four channels of digital amplification and the advanced digital processing raise the bar for distortion, noise and thermal efficiency.
The Nitelites director’s enthusiasm resulted in a demo for Sage Gateshead’s technical manager, Neil Colebeck and lead audio technician Graham Orchard — not that it was really necessary as the trust built up has been based on the flawless performance of the RCF system next door. The TTL6-A’s are complemented by eight SUB8004-AS 18” subwoofers, set in a reverse cardioid pattern recessed under the stage apron. Three of the ultra-compact TT052-A act as lip fills, directing the audio beam to the front rows, while a pair of the equally discreet active TT08-A, set out wide, act as side outfills, and offer incredible maximum SPL of 128dB. The wisdom of this design was confirmed using the EASE Focus 3 software, which Andy Magee used to model the room. “Aside from the massive bandwidth, the TTL6-A has a 90° horizontal, 30° vertical dispersion pattern, with -25°/+5° which is perfect in that room,” he exclaims.
Neil Colebeck confirmed that a versatile system upgrade had always been in the planning. “The previous system did well for us but was starting to develop faults and was lacking in low frequencies and sidefill coverage. We reviewed the situation in September as we faced a heavy programme of gigs post summer.” Budget had been a concern, he said. “But we have received great support from Nitelites and have never experienced any problems with the RCF system in Room One, for which we have received excellent feedback. As for the TTL6-A Nitelites had already been doing a number of gigs with this box, so we were already familiar with it.” And knowing the room implicitly they had been totally aware of the challenges offered by the ten-sided room.
There was also a recognition that the rear SPL rejection now offered by the cardioid subs would improve the lot of the monitor engineer and at the same time work with a cross-section of product — all under the control of BSS Soundweb DSP and a Midas Pro 2 mixing desk with analogue drive rack.
Summing up, Neil Colebeck is convinced by the logic of the point source solution. “The TTL6-A offers a wide horizontal and controlled vertical pattern, which are ideal for this space,” he says.
And Graham Orchard adds, “Having now mixed shows through [the TTL6-A] you can hear the difference tenfold.”
Since this article was written, our dear friend Neil Colebeck unexpectedly passed away. He is greatly missed by his friends and colleagues.
RCF will be at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, to present several extensions to its flagship Touring and Theatre Series, the professional line of subwoofers and the D Line Series of compact cabinets for the touring industry. The company's latest developments also include the brand new E Series of analog mixing desks.
Follow RCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don't miss the occasion to attend our product demos as shown below.
HDL6-A DEMOS Daily January 19-21 Hilton Anaheim California Ballroom ABC, second floor
Thursday 19th - 11:30 - 12:30 a.m.
Friday 20th - 12:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Saturday 21st - 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Like its counterparts, the HDL10-A and HDL20-A cabinets, the HDL6-A is a smaller version of the active two-way line arrays featuring two 6.5” midrange drivers with a 1” compression driver on a 100° x 10° waveguide, powered by an on-board 1400-watt dual channel amplifier.
Come and hear the system's incredible output power, low-frequency extension and vocal clarity dues to the extremely low frequency crossover point at 1 kHz!
DON'T MISS THE CHANCE TO VISIT US! BOOTH 6780 NAMM 2017 January 19-22, Anaheim, California
Situated in the heart of Newcastle University’s main campus, Northern Stage Theatre is one of the most progressive production houses in the UK. With its three performance spaces, including a 450 seat main house, 160 seat studio and small multi-purpose development room for up-and-coming theatre companies and events, once new production manager Chris Durant arrived nearly a year ago, one of the immediate priorities was to improve the technical infrastructure.
Operating as a charity, the Theatre had done little to upgrade its technology since 2006, when the facility metamorphosed from its previous guise as the Newcastle Playhouse into Northern Stage. Durant already had plenty of experience of RCF’s high value systems, having authorised the spend on a new RCF D-Line line array while at Sage Gateshead, and he was soon back in contact with his local supplier, Nitelites. Having authorised the purchase of an RCF HD32-A active two-way system with SUB705 subwoofers, along with two NX10-SMA stage monitors for the newly refurbished Stage 3, he duly set out his blueprint for the main space.
He discussed the situation with executive director Kate Denby and artistic director Lorne Campbell arguing that it would be a false economy to hire in systems if they wanted to operate as a leading production house. “It was clear we needed our own,” he insisted — and fortunately the request was rubber-stamped. The production manager’s focus was on the ‘epic’ Christmas season production of Roald Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach, in which both Stage 1 and Stage 2 would combine, with the 440 seats enveloping a giant, extended central stage. This helped define the sound system specification.
Nitelites director and system designer Andy Magee outlined the challenges. “While the theatre’s existing loudspeaker had been a premium system in its day it was over ten years old. Its coverage was too wide, it lacked projection and was unable to cover the rear of the room. I knew that with the HDL10-A there would be sufficient energy delivered to the back of the room while maintaining a consistent spectral balance throughout the listening area.”
Two main hangs of five HDL10-A per side are now suspended from a bridge truss while a further pair of HDL10-A, located behind the main array, fire down to cover the audience wrapped around the front of the giant stage. Low frequency is extended by two floor mounted SUB8004 subwoofers, while the system operates under BSS Soundweb control. Chris Durant is more than satisfied with this solution, believing that it has given the production house “a sonic signature”. He states, “For a space as wide as this you need projection, and compared with the point source we had previously, this delivers greater intelligibility with ample bandwidth and directivity, and a more even spread. There is now so much headroom it’s ridiculous.”
Equally delighted with the sonic makeover are fellow team specialists, head of sound Dave Burton, the Christmas show’s FOH engineer, Josep Bria and the show sound designer, Nick Williams. All expressed optimism for the future. Stated Williams: “The new HDL system at Northern Stage empowers the sound designer with such a high level of precision and consistency that it has transformed the space. I now know that every seat in the house can receive the same sonic experience. Mixing and creating in Northern Stage gives the same degree of precision and control that I have in my studio. It is a remarkable and enjoyable system to work with.” In conclusion, Chris Durant was unequivocal, noting the intimacy of the HDL10-A on the one hand combined with sheer power. He also confirmed that with its button presets, it was an easy system for house technicians to operate. “My aim is to produce three years of ‘epic’ Christmas shows so that it becomes a tradition for families. And with the RCF line array I have full confidence that we can deliver that.”
RCF successfully launched the HDL50-A and TTL6-A active three-way line arrays onto the global market earlier this year, confirming the company’s constant effort towards innovation and new product development.
These products were introduced to the Middle Eastern area with a dedicated event this autumn, that was jointly organized by RCF and the Italian manufacturer’s partner in the UAE, VV & Sons.
The two companies’ combined effort led to a live product demo held at Dubai’s Meydan Hotel, with around 100 international participants from the main AV rental and event production companies in the region.
The demo was coordinated by RCF product specialists. A presentation – encompassing other successful products from the Italian manufacturer, such as TT25-A MK II, TT25-CXA, TT45-CXA, NXL 44-A, SUB8004-AS and EVOX 12 – was followed by a demo in the outdoor arena. This featured the HDL50-A and TTL6-A, along with the SUB9007-AS active high-power subwoofer, another new arrival in 2016.
“All products received enthusiastic feedback. Participants were particularly interested in the remote control and monitoring options provided by RDNet,” states Mr. Rebero, product manager of VV & Sons.
The event’s success was underlined by the prompt and positive feedback from the participants, several AV rental and events production companies placing their first order immediately after the demo.
“We are very satisfied with the outcome, and are now planning to conduct more product training and demos with an extended range of RCF products,” confirms Mr. Rebero.
The G20 Summit is undoubtedly one of the most important events in world political and economic calendar. Its latest edition, in September 2016, was held in Hangzhou, China, and was only the second G20 convention to be held in an Asian country. The Summit took place in the newly-built Hangzhou International Conference and Exhibition Centre, strategically located in a modern and well-served area of Hangzhou. The large and spectacular external area around the building was freely accessible during the days of the Summit and hosted breathtaking audio-visual projections that entertained a large public, arriving from the whole region of Zhejian and abroad.
The shows were reinforced with an RCF sound system that comprised 32 P Series loudspeakers, installed both on the ground and on the building’s external walls. The main features of RCF’s P Series are highly efficient coaxial designs, excellent intelligibility and a weatherproof design offering high-rating protection. States Mr. Jiang Chao, general manager of CD Stage company, RCF’s local partner: “We are very satisfied with the outcome of the project. RCF P Series is a powerful line of weatherproof loudspeakers that guarantees a reliable, high-quality performance. The sound of the audio-visual shows was heard clearly across the entire coverage area, ,and the public was delighted throughout the summit.”
CD Stage is a long-standing investor in RCF’s products, with several notable projects being completed every year in China, such as the recently equipped theatre of Zhaoqing University in Guangdong.
Vibration is one of the most important radio stations in France. Set up in 1982, it can be heard throughout most of the country.
The Live Vibration Tour is the main event promoted by the station, involving some of the most famous national artists – such as Soprano, Black M, and Fréro Delavega. This year’s edition included five concerts in the cities of Orléans, Le Mans, Tours, Bourges and Blois, which took place between September 14-24.
The rental company XCPH took care of most of the technical aspects of the tour and provided an RCF audio system for the second year in a row. Several HDL20-A had been used to cover a crowd of over 8000 people in 2015; however, this year Vibration anticipated higher attendance, therefore XCPH suggested the use of HDL50-A, the latest addition to the Italian manufacturer’s D Line.
The HDL50-A is an active three-way line array module with a built-in 2200W RMS digital amplifier, with 2x12’’ woofers, four symmetrical 6.5’’ midranges and two 2’’ drivers. For all five dates of the tour, the system comprised 8 + 8 HDL50-A cabinets (as a main PA), plus several HDL20-A as outfill. Eight SUB9007-AS subwoofers in endfire configuration provided reinforcement of the low frequencies. The SUB 9007-AS active high power subwoofer is powered by a 7200 W digital amplifier, and has been conceived as the perfect companion for the HDL50-A and HDL20-A line arrays. It is one of the most powerful 2x21’’ subwoofers in the field of live sound.
Before the first date in the city of Tours, the XCPH team had received a specialised two-day training session from the RCF staff, who demonstrated how to make the best use of the HDL50-A system. Everything was managed with the RCF proprietary RDNet networking board and the recently released CR 16-ND control rack, designed to handle the HDL50-A line array.
Mr. Nicolas Fournier, XCPH’s sound manager, stated, “We really appreciated this all-inclusive system with its easy wiring solution. The rack is very useful in live situations, with the whole power supply contained in one box. The configurable mechanics with 0.2° minimum angle is very convenient. Thanks to the advanced machanics, the set-up of the angles can be made before rigging, when the modules are still in their cart, thus reducing assembly times – it is extremely practical! Furthermore, thanks to the support of the RCF team we learned a lot about the wide range of possibilities provided by RDNet.” The CR 16-ND control rack with built-in DX 1616 matrix audio processor was also used to manage the processing, EQ and delay of the HDL20-A outfill cabinets.
The Vibration Tour was attended by a total of over 50,000 people, with a crowd of 22,000 for the last date of the tour in Orléans featuring Fréro Delavega. “We were very impressed by the system, that provided high performance with only a few cabinets and kept the intelligibility constant even at 65 metres from stage!” adds Mr. Fournier. “The HDL50-A is very cost effective among large-format line arrays and will be our target investment in 2017.”
St Gabriel’s is a Catholic School with a growing attendance thanks to the booming Austin, Texas economy. As they faced space limitations across the board, the school set out to build a new building that would extend an existing building and provide them with much more classroom space, a large lecture hall, a library, teacher meeting space, a remodeled gym and a new Chapel. After a 14-month construction cycle, the new building was opened in May of 2016.
Cedar Park, Texas-based Ridge AV ( was contacted by the school to come in and solve many challenges they had for integrating audio and video into a school environment. The expectations were high and rather complex, but the systems had to be extremely user friendly.
“Probably one the most challenging projects we have ever taken on was their Learning Stairs Lecture Hall and Chapel,” says Ridge President Mark Tarbet. “These were very ornate spaces where the AV system simply could not be visible or stand out. The speakers in both spaces could not be flown and could not be slightly. All we had to mount speakers on to were custom, hand painted stained-glass windows. To make it extra challenging and risky, both stained-glass walls were 100% custom built onsite by Italian craftsmen flown in for this project. No errors or replacements!”
The Learning Stairs is a lecture hall made up of large wood-stained stairs. Up to 175 students can be seated in this space. It is also used for large meetings. The Chapel is a small Chapel that seats 50 people and is used by the School for Mass.
To solve this challenge of sound in these two spaces, Ridge proposed to use RCF’s VSA Series speakers which are vertical steerable line arrays that are just 5” wide and can be programmed to direct the sound specifically to the listeners, avoiding unwanted reflections and reverberation that the glass and hard surfaces that cause sound systems to lose intelligibility.
As they looked at the VSA as a possible solution, Tarbet thought, “If perhaps we could possibly get them painted to somehow match the color of the window mullions and figure out how to re-enforce the mounting brackets on the mullions, we could potentially have a winner by mounting the speakers to the window mullions to hide them, and then use the steering capabilities of the VSA to direct sound coverage as needed.” After conceptual 3D drawings were presented, the School agreed to the solutions.
Ridge AV worked with RCF to try and get a good color match for an aluminum texture. After carefully picking colors and lots of sign-offs, the speakers were painted, and custom mounts were fabricated by Ridge AV. The end result exceeded all expectations. After installation, Ridge AV invited some of the school staff who were not involved in the specification to come in the spaces where the project owners and general contractor were waiting. The staff was asked to “find the speakers,” and no one could initially! It was exactly what the general contractor and owners were hoping for. The sound quality was great thanks to the configurable steering capability of the speakers. ‘We were able to mount the speakers rather high up (less noticeable) and span elevated stair seating to get sound cleanly where it needed to be,” noted Tarbet.
Newcastle-based Nitelites have reported record activity this summer with their RCF hire fleet of flagship TT+ (Touring & Theatre) line array systems and highly cost effective D Line HDL composite series line arrays. “We have hardly had a box sitting in the warehouse all summer,” reports director Andy Magee.
In addition to the high profile Great North Run, where they fielded over 280 RCF enclosures, Nitelites also had to run a mile of standard multicore cable to span the coverage area for the Tall Ships North Sea Regatta, This featured 48 x TTL55-A, 24 x TTS56-A and some TTL33-A, all controllable via RCF’s proprietary onboard RDNet networking platform as the fleet said farewell to Blyth, Northumberland with a sunlit parade seen by thousands of onlookers lining the quayside, wishing the fleet well in the race to Gothenburg, Sweden.
Meanwhile, down in Teesside, Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF16), featuring street theatre, circus performances, dynamic dance and music also saw a full RCF deployment, as the event approaches its third decade.. The main band stage (with finale show) was covered by 24 x TTL55-A and 12 x TTS56-A while all other areas featured HDL20-A, HDL10-A and TT22-A.
Also in the Tyne and Wear area, South Tyneside Festival took place over three months throughout the summer, with open-air concerts, family fun days and live music, including Alexandra Burke and UB40, in the town’s Bents Park. Providing the sound reinforcement for the season were 32 x TTL55-A and 18 x TTS56-A.
Earlier in the summer Nitelites were down in London for the first-ever Esports Championship Series - Counter Strike Finals at London's SSE Arena, Wembley. For this they fielded 32 x TTL55-A; 10 x TTL33-A; 12 x TTL36-AS and 12 x TTS56-A.
Up in Scotland, Midstock Festival is now in its third year at Dalkeith Country Park, and having already hosted such acts as The View, The Fratellis, The Hoosiers, Fish and dozens of great acts, bands this year included The Pigeon Detectives, Reverend & The Makers plus overseas acts such as Vengaboys (although headliners Scouting For Girls failed to appear). Ensuring optimum coverage were 24 x TTL33-A and 12 x TTS56-A subs.
Nitelites were also on duty at the Great North 10K. The popular running event which attracted 5,000 runners, finished inside the iconic Gateshead International Stadium where Nitelites had 24 x TTL33-A and 12 x TTS36-A to help build the atmosphere.
The company also provided sound reinforcement at another major music festival, Urban Field Events’ Corbridge Festival featuring The Coral, Neville Staple Band, Too Many T's, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Mark Morris, Bessie & The Zinc Buckets, Grandmaster Flash, Cortney Dixon and more. Set up in the Tynedale Park venue for the occasion, were 20 x TTL33-A and 10 x TTS36-A.
Finally, the annual Sunderland International Airshow is held near Roker and Seaburn seafronts. The biggest free show in Europe, and first held in 1988, the location provides a perfect amphitheatre for the likes of the world famous Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. For this spectacular event, Nitelites deployed 24 x TTL33-A and 12 x TTS56-A subs for the main stage, plus over 3 miles of 100v line coverage.
Summing up, Nitelites director Andy Magee said, “We have had great feedback to our RCF systems at all these diverse events throughout the summer, and the performances have been exactly what people have wanted.
“In the case of the smaller festivals, many are still growing but are still working on small budgets — and this is where RCF scores, as it hits the perfect price point.
And In terms of staying within sound thresholds on noise sensitive sites he notes that one thing RCF is great at is LF control. “The TTL36-AS flown sub has a vertical steering algorithm so it doesn't radiate in areas you don't want it to go.
“The LF cardioid tuning is highly effective and to my knowledge we’ve never received any complaints about noise pollution.”
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