Multi-channel sound reinforcement was a topic that generated a large amount of interest, with presentations from David Malham (University of York), Fred Ample (Technology Visions), Robin Whittaker (Out Board Electronics) and Steve Ellison (Level Control Systems). It was clear that the demand for higher-quality audio environments is growing rapidly.
Robin Whittaker explained the theory of source-oriented reinforcement and illustrated its applications from the wealth of theatre, industrial and music productions that Out Board has undertaken. Whittaker concluded by stating that the concept of source-oriented reinforcement has several key benefits; namely, the minimisation of room effects, even distribution of SPL and tonality and improving the direct-to-reverberant energy ratios to improve intelligibility.
Steve Ellison explained LCS’ drive towards improved multi-channel control of live audio. The Matrix3 system, with its CueConsole and Ethertracks add-ons, represents Ellison’s vision of the future of multi-channel systems; completely integrated playback, routing, processing, mixing and distribution. A further presentation from Ellison and Markl Poletti of Industrial Research in New Zealand, on the LCS Virtual Room Acoustic System, showed how such an integrated system could be expanded still further.
Two further developments were worthy of note: Duran Audio in the Netherlands has taken the line-array loudspeaker concept a quantum leap further by introducing steerable arrays. Using DSP techniques to design a specific coverage pattern into a loudspeaker system, the Intellivox system is less limited by architectural restrictions than conventional designs; loudspeakers can be positioned vertically and their ‘beams’ angled electronically to cover the audience area. John and Perrin Meyer presented Meyer Sound’s MAPP acoustic prediction program (still under development), showing how closely the theoretically-calculated behaviour of a loudspeaker matches the empirically-measured result. MAPP provides an accurate indication of interaction between loudspeakers, thus helping greatly with array and multi-driver system design.