Leading pro audio retailer The M Corporation has recently supplied equipment for a new studio for U-Nite, a group based in the Nottingham and Derbyshire area, which aims to offer local people access to opportunities and facilities that they may find difficult to attain otherwise. U-Nite found the premises for the studio in Princes Trust rooms in a recently-converted textile mill in a village outside Mansfield. With the site settled, U-Nite turned to the M Corporation's Nottingham branch. Chosen equipment includes an Allen & Heath 32-channel GS3000 mixing desk with meter bridge, Lexicon, Digitech and Behringer effects units, Alesis ADATs and a variety of microphones. Initial projects are underway and U-Nite are involved in negotiations with a local radio station to provide programming that will focus on music in the local area.
BioAcoustics Ltd has recently installed a new audio description system at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, based around the latest dedicated Sennheiser equipment. The theatre, which was the first in Europe to introduce audio-described performances for the blind and partially-sighted (Bill Kenwright's Stepping Out, in 1988), has also been instrumental in assisting other venues with introducing similar systems. The replacement of the ageing, original Sennheiser system includes six Sennheiser SZI 1025 'radiators' and SI 1015 'modulator' that transmit the sound to the Sennheiser HDI-302 two-channel headsets, as well as a dedicated room for the describers to work in. The £12,000 upgrade was funded with support from local business, with additional funding from bodies including the ADAPT Trust and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Transtechnik has installed an automated lighting control system in two Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation) television studios in Munich. The company used three Voyager systems to control the overhead equipment in the studios, two Focus lighting control systems, around 180 lighting hoists and 40 scenery hoists. In a studio where two production control rooms are shared between four television studios, the new system allows complex cues to be reset at the touch of a button. The network has been designed for redundancy and utilises Ethernet hubs and fibre optic cables, but the conventional method of DMX patching by switching over DMX connections also has its place, making unintentional access to one of the remotely-controlled studios practically impossible.
Cinema specialist Sound Associates has, for the first time, specified an EAW cinema system for installation in a new Odeon multiplex. Asked to specify a system for Odeon's latest £4.5 million 'millennium' eight-screen cinema in Epsom, the Surrey-based company decided to break with tradition and audition EAW's CB series. As a result, Sound Associates has installed three CB523 bi-amplified three way speaker systems into the four large screen cinemas, and CB259 bi-amplified two-way systems into the others - each stacked with SX184C subs. This combination has been found to offer clear left, centre and right sound distribution across the whole room. All the components were supplied by Sound Dept, EAW's exclusive UK distributor. Boasting a capacity of 2,176, the all-format cinema offers Dolby digital and DTS digital sound throughout with two auditoria designated as feature cinemas.
Following a major refurbishment programme in 1998/9, the Grand Theatre, Blackpool, has recently upgraded its technical systems to include over 90 Selecon luminaires. The theatre has taken possession of new lighting equipment for the main house and foyer areas. Lighting Technology Group (Manchester) supplied the Selecon kit comprising 24 special front-of-house profiles in a gold and cream finish to match the decor in the foyer, 30 high performance Fresnels, six 2.5k Arena fresnels, five 4-way cyc lights and 30 Aurora units. In addition to the Selecon kit, Lighting Technology supplied 15 James Thomas Engineering lighting bars, each with six Thomas Par 64 lanterns and an additional 40 colour-changer Par cans. All luminaires were supplied with the new Trigger Clamp from Doughty Engineering. The theatre also purchased an Avolites console and dimming for the venue.
Six of BSS Audio's new FDS-366 Omnidrive Compact Plus system controllers are running the new Thunder Ridge sound system at The End in London. The five-way X2000 - a custom-designed replacement for the original system installed four years ago - required precision tuning to cater for the venue's acoustics. The four units will each control one five-way stack in the main Vaults system, while active monitor systems will be run from the remaining channels. All will be data linked via RS 485 multi-drop, allowing BSS Soundbench set-up and monitoring anywhere within the venue. The Lounge system, which will again be run five-way, will be controlled by two more Compact Plus units (one per stack), plus active monitoring on spare channels. This system, along with the adjoining AKA rig, will be linked via RS 485.
Northern Ireland-based Moonlighting Sound and Lighting has installed a Cerwin Vega! system into the Dundonald International Ice Bowl in readiness for the UK Figure-skating Championships, to be televised by BBC's Grandstand. The company supplied 16 Cerwin Vega! PS-15s to create a two-tiered central cluster above the ice-rink to augment the PA in the 2000-capacity venue. The cabinets were initially installed on a trial basis but following the positive feedback from the BBC, the UK Figure-skating committee and the competitors themselves, a decision was taken to keep the cluster as a permanent fixture.
Racing Channel broadcaster, Satellite Information Services, has upgraded its studio equipment to include Trantec radio systems. The installation included a Trantec S5000IEM transmitter with two receivers and two Trantec S5000L systems, under the supervision of SIS's installation engineer, Julian Stevens. The lapel mics give the two presenters greater freedom of mobility than they have previously enjoyed and they will be receiving information via the IEM in-ear receivers.
2000 has begun well for the Oxford Sound Company, with contracts being confirmed with a cumulative value of over £1.5m for design and installation work. Included in the record-breaking month for the company are two voice-captioning suites for BBC Television in London, a fully digital re-build and re-location of all of BBC Aberdeen, sound and communications for all of RADA's three new theatres, as well as the new Soho Theatre in London, and the Derry Theatre in Londonderry, and a sound system for the Regents Park Theatre.
The recently-opened Royal Opera House isn't experiencing much luck since its £214 million redevelopment. Following technical problems and cancellations on a run of recent productions, the Opera House was beset by further problems during a recent performance of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain. The production was brought to a halt part-way through a performance when one of the lift mechanisms intended to transport a performer into position failed to operate effectively. The production was temporarily halted and later resumed - by the time the curtain came down it had fallen 40 minutes behind schedule.
Total Audio Solutions has just completed a full radio production studio installation for South Birmingham College. The College runs several courses from its Sparkbrook Media Centre, including HNC in Radio Broadcasting and NVQ and ONC in Radio Production. The studio, which was fitted out as a turnkey installation by the company, incorporates presenter and guest facilities, allowing students to polish their interview technique. Playback sources range from traditional turntables through to MiniDisc and DAT, while the college's Sadie production system is also integrated into the production suite.
Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt has a sophisticated new conference system from Brahler ICS. The bank's auditorium, round hall and mirror hall were the three areas which were equipped with microphones and language transmission systems via Brahler's latest digital wired - and wireless infra red - technology. In the auditorium, 168 delegate units were installed, all fitted with new hand-held microphones with luminant ring indicator. These mics switch off automatically and the cable recoils itself, when they are replaced in the holder. Software control is 32-bit. Three CCTV cameras in the auditorium are computer-linked to the microphones, so that delegates can be viewed by the interpreters inside the booths, whilst they are speaking.
In a bid to attract top name DJs to his club Infinity, on the island of Jersey, owner Gary Dobson, already the owner of three clubs on the island, recently invested in a new sound system. He awarded the contract to London-based installation company, Tarsin Ltd. Dobson visited a number of Tarsin's previous installations on mainland UK, including the recently re-opened Hammersmith Palais with its Nexo Alpha E system, supplied by UK distributor Fuzion. The 1,000-capacity Infinity is split over two levels, plus a mezzanine level on either side. Eight Alpha E B1-18 bass cabs and four E-M mid/hi packs cover the ground floor while a further four B1-18s and a pair of E-Ms cater for the top level. Two more E-Ms fire onto the mezzanine levels, while the DJ, situated at mezzanine level, uses two PS-15s as DJ monitors. Three Crown MA-5000VZ amplifiers power the bottom end and four MA-3600VZs run the mid-highs while an MA-2400 looks after the DJ monitors. Protection, level monitoring and EQ is provided by a Sabine GRQ-3101S Graphi-Q, also supplied by Fuzion.
EAW has become the official sponsor of a technically ground-breaking club night at The Matrix in Reading, where the company's new Avalon sound system recently made its UK debut. The Extra Dimensional Experience (EDX) is held on the first Friday of every month, and uses state-of-the-art mixing techniques for both audio and video to produce what is described as a homogenous, interactive visual and aural experience. Yes, well we've all had those!
The opening of the recently-refurbished Royal Court Theatre on London's Sloane Square has been postponed because the building is not ready. The Theatre was scheduled to re-open on 7 January 2000, following its £25m lottery-funded refurb. This is by no means the first delay - work was originally scheduled to conclude in May of 1998: this was then put back one whole year to May 1999 and then a further six months, to November 1999. When it does eventually open, Lighting & Sound International magazine will bring its readers a full technical review.
Woking-based B&H Production Services recently designed and installed an Infra-Red system for the Skyscape venue adjacent to the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, which features two 2,500-seat auditoriums. Due to the design of the venues, the location points for the IR radiators were limited, and the units were mounted on top of the main flown loudspeaker stacks. Sky, which sponsors Skyscape, will be using one of the auditoriums as its sound stage for filming the world's top 100 bands during 2000. A total of 60 IR receivers are available for the public to use, with the choice of headphones or neck loops. B&H has had long experience of induction loop systems for clients such as Virgin and UCI, and has recently moved into IR systems, using the US-based Williams system.
The new Jazz Hotel and Casino opened recently in New Orleans, with Lumenyte fibre optics playing a large part in the design. The lighting design for the building is by The Elwyn Gee Group of Novato, California, who specified the 42ft runs of BRB-LEF and LEF510M fibre optics as a safety feature inside the handrails on the steps and escalators. This method of lighting was chosen because downlights would have been too intrusive on the themed environment. In another application, Lumenyte was used to detail three of the four entrances of the Terrazzo stone steps.
The new Levi's Centre in London's Regent Street has an all-JBL sound system that would not be out of place in many of the capital's top dance clubs. A worldwide re-branding operation, which kicked-off in San Francisco at a cost of £2.5million, means that all Levi's Centres will adopt a lifestyle approach to retail merchandising. A major part of this refurbishment programme is the provision of DJ-driven high quality background music, Chill Out Areas with Sega Dreamcast consoles and video entertainment. Models from JBL's Marquis Series form the mainstay of the system with MS28s also being used as DJ monitors. Some 32 JBL Control 23s are arranged strategically throughout the store, with eight SB2 subwoofers providing low frequency reinforcement. The chill-out area uses four JBL 48923s from the Array Series and a JBL Sound Power SP128S sub woofer underpins the system. The whole system is zoned via a SoundWeb controller.
BBC Training & Development has opened a new training studio in central London. Greg Dyke, deputy director-general and BBC director-general designate formally opened the studio on December 14, which will be used for training BBC staff and other broadcast professionals. The studio's facilities include a Calrec C3 audio mixer, Denon Minidisk, Sony DAT and Sony CD systems and an ADB lighting system.
Earls Court Olympia, the venue for the annual PLASA Show, is currently part-way through a £60 million six year improvement programme. Phase One sees several improvements come on line including the upgrade of the main escalators. Phase Two will address the general upgrade and refurbishment of facilities throughout the venue, including the refurbishment of several catering areas in Earls Court 1 and a new business centre. Part of this phase will also see the completion of the painting and 'column cladding' programme on the ground floor of Earls Court 1. The Warwick Road and West Brompton entrances to Earls Court 1 are on-line for upgrading during 2000. In addition to all the work going on within the Exhibition Centre, the West Brompton/Earls Court rail-link is now fully operational, enhancing the travel routes direct to this important central London venue.
SSE Hire has just completed a benchmark Nexo Alpha E installation into a large, purpose-built club/live venue in Birmingham. The company, better known for its work in the live touring market, was approached to provide the system for the recently-enlarged Garryowen, which now includes a 2000 capacity main room with an additional lounge, VIP area and a restaurant. SSE's Chris Beale was asked by club owner Brendan Joyce to "Design a system that will rock my socks off!" To do this, Beale used seven pairs of Alpha E system, each pair comprising an Alpha E-M mid-high and an Alpha B1-18 bass cabinet, powered by Crown MA3600VZ amplifiers. The main stage area is covered by two pairs per side, while for club nights there is a further pair left and right at the rear of the hall. A long bar area adjacent to the main room is covered by another pair. With the exception of the bar area, and the subs which fit neatly under the stage, the entire system is flown.
The Cavern in Exeter has installed a new sound system. The venue turned to Bristol-based Audioforum for the audio solution, requesting a system that would be flexible enough to meet the varying styles of the venue's artists and DJs. David Leigh of Audioforum selected the package which comprised Opus cabinets with a combination of Opus HD and C-Audio amplification - all run under a BSS control system.
Two major colleges in the Midlands have undergone technical refits, purchasing substantial Martin Audio Wavefront systems - and the first commercial Blackline system - from LMC Audio in Birmingham. New College, Nottingham - now the largest College in Europe - has a pair of compact trapezoidal WT2s in the theatre space and four Wavefront W3s and a pair of W8S subs for the live performance space (two W3s and a sub each side of stage).At the suggestion of LMC's Andrew McGregor, Wolverhapmton College opted for Martin's new Blackline series when its budget wouldn't stretch to a Wavefront system. A pair each of F15 full-frequency portable compact enclosures and S18s (18" sub) now form a teaching rig in the college's performance space.
The latest of Carnegie Leisure's Babylon nightclubs, in Ayr, has been installed with Geni lighting. Glasgow-based Starstruck Professional Sound & Light undertook the installation, and contacted Lamba, exclusive UK distributors of Geni products, for the lighting effects they needed. The equipment includes eight Geni Shiva HSD-200 scanners, four Geni FL2000D DMX strobes, 44 ignitor tubes and four DMX-1s. Other equipment supplied by Lamba includes a KAM KCD960 for CD mixing and Stanton 680AL cartridges.