RCF upgrade enhances Hamilton College hall
Monday, 19 April 2021
hamiltonThe 700-seat hall serves as the central hub of music education and concerts for the college
USA - The town of Clinton, NY is the home of Hamilton College. Precision Audio Services has provided audio engineering services to the college’s Music and Theatre Department for several years, and this spring the company heads up a sound system upgrade in Wellin Hall.
The 700-seat hall has served as the central hub of music education and concerts for the college since its construction in the 1980s. The bare concrete and polished wood walls combined with flown wooden acoustic panels above the audience creates a highly reverberant environment.
However, these properties that make the environment desirable for acoustic performances, also make sound-reinforced events a significant challenge. "With an RT60 of almost 2.5 seconds, achieving a clear mix and vocal delivery is typically a major source of frustration for visiting mix engineers,” says Michael Lawrence from Precision Audio Services. “Although to a large extent, this is simply the reality of working in such an environment, one of the goals for the new design was to increase the consistency over the space and minimize excess energy splashing onto the walls and other non-audience surfaces, both areas where the current installed system struggled."
The system design is far from the traditional install-patch approach. “Sometimes I have to adapt to things very quickly, on the fly, and in the past that’s been a challenge where we couldn’t get physical access to a loudspeaker, or all the signal flow was happening in the back of a rack somewhere with no easy way to get signals in or out of the rig at various points in the chain,” the venue’s technical coordinator, Bill Di Paolo notes. “For larger events, we typically have a dedicated sound engineer but often it’s just me trying to handle multiple things at once, or we have a student operator, and so we need to be able to get to things easily.
“I knew of several DSPs that would have been an appropriate fit for this project, but settled on an Allen & Heath AHM-64, which I felt offered the “best of both worlds” between a typical install-type free-wire DSP and a more live-oriented fixed-structure DSP.”
An A&H IP6 controller sits next to the mixing console, configured for quick access to mute/unmute the entire PA plus dedicated mute and level controls for the ADA assistive listening system, the backstage 70-volt system, and the press send. These feeds are derived from the console mix and accessible via the patch bay, so providing a press send is as simple as plugging in a cable and turning a knob to adjust for the mic or line level requirement of the press equipment.
"We knew we needed a main array product that would be powerful enough for the space but also lightweight and compact enough to allay sightline considerations. After reviewing the project requirements with Tarik Solangi, national sales manager at RCF USA, we settled on seven elements per side of the RCF HDL 6-A, a “small but mighty” line array that I’ve used in the past and been quite impressed with." Lawrence states.”
In addition to the main left and right hangs, a single HDL 36-AS subwoofer was chosen to fly in the existing centre-hang location above the proscenium, providing LF extension for the main arrays. Typically, the sub is tasked with music playback and light reinforcement, so the HDL 36-AS gave more than enough power in a small and flyable package. Ground-based subwoofers are deployed for the occasional event that requires more extensive LF reinforcement.
Since the venue geometry and logistics prevented permanently installed front fills, the remaining front rows are covered via a pair of RCF TT 08-A II loudspeakers flown from a batten pipe above the edge of the apron. A further pair of TT-08-A II’s would serve as delays for the upper corners of the seating area, where the direct sound from the arrays is impeded by the wall geometry.

Latest Issue. . .

Tweets from our Friends