EM Acoustics R10 makes chilling debut
Wednesday, 18 March 2020
ghost-stories-caretakerGhost Stories returned to the Lyric in Hammersmith last April
UK - Celebrating a decade of terrifying people worldwide, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s cult horror phenomenon Ghost Stories returned to the Lyric in Hammersmith last April (see LSi March for more on the audio aspects of the production). On a nationwide tour following a triumphal return to the West End in October, the new production took advantage of advances in theatrical technology to increase the tension to almost unbearable levels. Sound designer, Nick Manning remained faithful to his original choice of EM Acoustics, but this time with the addition of EM’s newest product, the Reference Series R10.
“Sound is such a critical part of how stories are told,” reflects Manning. “The use of sound to create and build tension - or indeed dispel it - is important to the success of most theatrical productions, but for Ghost Stories it is absolutely fundamental. I never even thought about specifying anything other than EM Acoustics – it did a great job the first time around, and I had new toys to play with this time, so for me it could only get better.”
The main surround system is largely based on the EMS Series - as indeed it was on the first production - in particular the EMS-61s. “They sound amazing and are incredibly versatile,” explains Manning. We’re also using the incredible i-12 infra sub which is quite simply an amazing loudspeaker. Ed Kinsella at EM helped design what I needed to create the effect I was looking for - basically we ratchet-strapped two i-12s together and added a port “chimney” which effectively turns it into one big sub. We have two of these devices hidden under the stage, and the effect is absolutely electrifying. It’s sonic art at its best.”
However, the big change to the design this time was the deployment of EM Acoustics’ newest product, the Reference Series R10; although EM’s new, low-profile point source loudspeaker with interchangeable horns was only seen publicly for the first time at ISE in Amsterdam in February, Manning has been quietly putting it through its paces since the show moved to the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End in October.
“Actually, it’s anything but quiet,” confides Manning. “Used in anger, the R10 packs a punch that literally knocks the wind out of you, so it was perfect for this show. Ghost Stories is a fully immersive experience in that the audience has to feel fully connected to what’s going on, otherwise it just doesn’t work. That means you need a speaker that can push the sound right out to the farthest corners of the room so that audience members, wherever they are seated, feel included. We’ve used four R10s as the main proscenium system, and they just fill the space with sound completely. Even when we moved to the Alexandra in Birmingham in January, which at nearly 1400 seats is a bit of a barn compared to the Ambassadors, they still filled the room effortlessly.”
In addition to the way it sounds, Manning thinks that the concept of the R10 will appeal to a wide audience with its rotatable, interchangeable waveguides and attractive aesthetic. “I can see that for touring, it offers a lot of advantages – the ability to easily swap waveguides with different dispersion characteristics in and out of the same box gives us as designers a huge amount of flexibility. You can really tailor your system to the requirements of the venue at very little expense. Finally, it looks great – it’s very elegant, tidy and sits nicely on the proscenium where there isn’t a lot of room.”
(Jim Evans)

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