The SS Ausonia, a recently-refurbished luxury cruise ship contracted to First Choice Holidays by Louis Cruise Lines, has had a state-of-the-art audio design specified by cruise line specialists, Fisher Marine. The equipment installation was carried out by Louis Cruise Lines' own contractors. The Halifax-based company used a wide range of Martin Audio loudspeakers as their primary sound reinforcement source in the three main zones - the main and secondary show lounges (which are multi-purpose, transforming into cabaret and late night discotheque usage) and the main deck, which also features a massive lighting rig. The system on the Ausonia, which has its audio presets stored and relayed to the different show areas by three BSS Audio Soundweb devices, will be fed from a mixture of CD and Minidisc playback sources, as well as live cabaret through a radio mic system.
Themed recreation venues and attractions took centre stage on the evening of Saturday, September 16 as the Themed Entertainment Association celebrated its seventh annual THEA Awards Gala in the Grand Ballroom of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Studios Island, James Cameron's Titanic: The Experience, Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia and the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, China (all of which have been featured in Lighting&Sound International) all picked up awards. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida was also voted the best Theme Park. The THEA Classic award went to Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark - said to be one of the prime inspirations for Walt Disney in determining the character and quality of Disneyland. Tivoli Gardens has operated continuously since 1843. A special award recognising Breakthrough Technology was collected by Richmond Sound Design for its AudioBox system. The company developed a special version of its AudioBox for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure, designed to withstand shock and vibration up to 15Gs.
Music Education Consultants of Guildford has again been busy working with schools in order to bring music facilities up to current specifications for teaching KS2 and KS3 curriculum music and GCSE, A Level and HE Music Technology Courses. One of the most challenging projects for the company was designing the functionality of the new Recording and Music ICT facilities at The Academy of Contemporary Music's new centre, The Rodboro Buildings, which opened on September 22. The new ACM building incorporates a dedicated Music ICT suite based on PCs running Cubase VST 5, Wavelab 3.0, Recycle and Rebirth, Roland Keyboards and Yamaha Samplers all connected to a flexible monitoring and recording system. Five highly-specified studios were designed, ranging from small post rooms to a large 30-seat capacity teaching studio. A control-room based on twin Yamaha 02Rs and a host of other state-of-the-art digital equipment faces the main teaching control room. In-between the teaching control room and the 02R are four live rooms that can be accessed from either studio allowing maximum flexibility.
Clockwork AV has recently installed an RCF sound system at the Gateshead International Athletic Stadium. Following a number of demonstrations, the stadium's local council chose the RCF system for its melodic feel - which was an important factor for the project. Clockwork AV specified a Vision system comprising 14 Vision PA121s and two Vision PA180 SWs situated in the main grandstand, five Vision PA261s in the East stand and 15 pairs of waterproof Monitor 4Ts located in the North and South seating areas.
One of London's most famous live music venues, The Astoria, is currently undergoing an extensive technical refit, having been acquired by The Mean Fiddler Organisation, a dominant force in the British entertainment scene. In addition to raising the specification for visiting sound crews, the objective was to make the Astoria's infrastructure more broadcast and TV-friendly, including the addition of a new 48-way patchbay, according to long-time resident technician Erik Sanderson-Evans. Tarsin Entertainments was awarded the contract after a competitive tender, with the new inventory of kit mostly supplied by Marquee Audio. LA 1, the main performance venue which has a capacity of nearly 2,500, takes delivery of a Soundcraft Series FIVE (48 channel plus 4 stereo groups) plus a Soundcraft 324 digital mixer for returning the effects, an ASS loudspeaker system, as well as a substantial batch of BSS proprietary processing equipment. A new 44:24 Soundcraft Series FIVE Monitor console is added to the stage monitoring system.
The fuel crisis must have come as a blessed relief to the Dome, but it hasn't taken the attraction long to be back in the media spotlight. Just a week after Nomura withdrew from its bid, the police are currently carrying out an investigation into fraud allegations. Apparently these centre around "irregularities" in connection with the procurement of contracts, and media reports are suggesting that the firm under investigation was one of the contractors working for the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). Nomura of course pulled out on the basis that they had been misled over the Dome's finances.
Audio installer TASC Ltd has completed the latest in a line of Parisa Café Bars using Martin Audio's Contractor Series ceiling speakers. The development of the Newcastle Quayside venue for Nader Haghighi's Warrington-based Parisa Group follows an audio conception and design instigated by Arron Smith's company 14 venues earlier. "In the majority we have used Martin C516s, fed by our GAGA hard-drive music system," Arron explained. The design brief was for the sound source to be invisible, and so once again Arron opted for 38 of the flush-mount C516 ceiling speakers, arranged in a five zone system (across four separate feature areas), using two Cloud CX133s to route the sound, powered by Crown and QSC amplifiers. The highest profile area in the ground-floor venue is around the bar and dining area, where the low-end is reinforced with three of Martin compact CS265 twin 6.5" subs (each clustered by four C516s), also recessed back into the ceiling and painted cream to match the decor. Elsewhere in the Café Bar, the ceiling speakers operate full-range.
It's probably the world's most famous radio studio and visitors from around the world flock to the Grand Ole Opry House every weekend to get a glimpse of their favorite country music stars. The facility also frequently houses general meeting sessions and multimedia shows, as well as concerts, business conference, and nationally televised awards shows (such as the Country Music Association's annual awards). The 45,000sq.ft building features pew-style seating for 4,400 people, and a 110ft-wide by 68ft deep stage, floored with beechwood imported from Denmark, save a circle in the centre of the stage lifted from the stage of the Opry's original home at the Ryman Auditorium. Lucas W. Hendrickson Management wanted a replacement for the dimming system and looked to Bandit Lites to provide handle the installation. Jeff Goetsch (regional sales manager at Bandit Lites), worked out the system spec, which was based around ETC Obsession consoles and dimming equipment.
Las Vegas, the city famous for creating spectacular illusions will host Lighting Dimensions International 2000 on October 20-22. The show has assembled a major programme of exhibits, conferences and technical training, covering the entire spectrum of entertainment technology. This year's LDI capitalises on its Las Vegas location by offering Backstage Las Vegas - a four-day event for those who want to see behind the scenes of the city's major entertainment venues.
The largest nightclub ever to open in Hong Kong will feature a powerful Nexo sound system. The 348 Discotheque opens in Kowloon at the end of August, complete with a Nexo Alpha E rig and the first Nexo PS8 compact cabinets to be installed in the territory. Built in the former Tai Wah movie house, the 3000-capacity club has the advantage of a theatre's high ceilings. Much of the million-dollar audio budget has been spent on the Alpha E speakers, with 10 Alpha E-F cabinets used around the dancefloor; four of the full-range boxes flown left and right of the DJ console, and another two boxes mounted facing the club entrance to provide maximum impact as people walk in. A total of 14 Alpha B1-18 folded horn high-power bass enclosures are being installed.Sound designer Benny Cheng of Creative Engineering Company is the first installer in China to buy NEXO's E Series: "I hadn't even heard these boxes, but I was so impressed by the NEXO Alpha touring system that I ordered them anyway! Including the PS Series, I have now installed NEXO in 10 clubs in mainland China and Hong Kong, and they are a company that we trust, with products that are always reliable." Cheng has also installed an Alpha E system at Taiping's most successful nightclub, Sing Ho.
Creative Technical Services has installed a dnp-fronted AV environment, supplied by exclusive UK distributor, Paradigm AV Ltd, into Cardiff's Life nightclub - the latest in a string of Luminar Leisure ventures. The installation by CTS is part of an ongoing commitment by Luminar Leisure to embrace leading edge technology and develop an AV policy throughout its establishments. The installation featured four 6ft x 4ft dnp wide-angle rear projection screens, in conjunction with Sony S900projectors.
A major sound installation has just been completed at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood, Lancashire. The Hall was first opened in 1935 and provides a range of arts and entertainment for locals and visitors to the area from live music to dance and drama, comedy workshops, festivals and pantomimes. After extensive system evaluation, technical manager Tony Mitchell chose a Turbosound system supplied and installed by Stagetec consisting of a pair of TQ440 mid/high speakers flown either side of the stage, a pair of TQ440s as delay fills and four THL818.2 single 18" sub-bass speakers ground stacked either side of the stage.
Sadler's Wells has issued a press statement following the Daily Mirror's claims this week that the theatre is in trouble. The newspaper claimed to have seen leaked documents which suggested that the theatre was close to going bust and that lawyers were in discussion about declaring the venue insolvent. Sadlers Wells' statement says that the article published in the Mirror was apparently referring to correspondence between the Arts Council's capital services department and its professional advisors. The correspondence concerned was taken out of context and arises from prospective litigation concerning some contractors and others. No public monies are being used in this prospective litigation, but the Arts Council and Sadler's Wells consider that the public interest requires that monies are recovered from those responsible for the overspending. Ian Albery, Chief Executive told PLASA Publishing: "Sadler's Wells was one of the first major lottery projects to open on schedule and has rightfully taken its place as London's dance theatre. It has brought international dance companies to London that have been absent for lack of a suitable theatre for many years and has created new and record audiences for dance at affordable prices in the last two years."
Federal Signal has completed a major £100,000 contract to supply the prestigious Commonwealth Pool in Manchester. The company was contracted to supply and install a combined public address and voice alarm system on behalf of electrical contractors NG Bailey at the complex which, alongside the athletics stadium, will take centre stage in 2002 when Manchester hosts the Commonwealth Games. The contract included products from its Millbank public address brand and elements of data communications from its Akusta range. The facility features an Olympic-size swimming pool, a diving and training pool and a leisure area.
L-Acoustics, distributor for The Netherlands Ogip Audio & Lights, has provided leading European leisure park operator CenterParcs with an SMPTE-controlled audio and light show. Ogip Audio & Lights BV has provided the complete technical package for the spectacular Market Dome entertainment show. Michiel Illy, head of Center Parcs' special products and development department, commented: "The overall idea of the new show is to create a theatrical show programme throughout the whole area, with the audience becoming part of the show."L-Acoustics EX-112 processor-controlled 12" coaxial full-range loudspeakers are installed with L-Acoustics SB-115 bass extensions. The recently launched L-A17 power amplifier powers the total sound system. Ashly's new Protea equaliser is used for tonal balance adjustments and time alignment. The complete system is controlled by a Akai 4-track hard-disk recorder generating L-R stereo signals, as well as the SMPTE code connected to a Yamaha 01V for the sound and a MA-scancommander for the Martin Roboscans and Robocolors, as well as DMX strobes and theatre profiles.
Costa Cruises' newest and largest ship, the 2,680 passenger Costa Atlantica, became the company's flagship after joining the fleet at the inaugural ceremony in Venice last month. Built at the Kvaerner Masa yard in Helsinki, the Costa Atlantica is as tall as a 20-storey building, with a surface area 20 times the size of the Olympic stadium in Rome. It has seven bars, a two-level restaurant, café, gym, beauty salon, spa, casino, conference room and three swimming pools. The audio equipment for all public areas, including the 1,000 seat Caruso Theatre, was supplied and installed by MAVCO. The main theatre uses a Midas XL4 fully-automated audio mixer, together with a Midas XL3 side-wing mixer. 90 EAW loudspeakers, together with another 60 Renkus-Heinz and Macpherson loudspeakers provide sound to the audience of 1,170 guests, in an auditorium consisting of both stalls and an upper circle. Processing is via a Media matrix digital sound processor and 54 Crest CKS amplifiers are controlled by Crest's NexSys computer control system.
Amsterdam's Het Muziektheatre, home of the Dutch National Ballet and the Netherlands Opera, recently completed the final phase of a major new sound system installation. Last summer, a full FOH system was installed using Apogee ALA-3s, FH-2s, SSMs and AE-12s. This summer, a complete refurbishment of the ambient surround system was on the docket. A total of 60 Apogee SSMs and 15 custom-built subwoofers were installed at the rear of the seating areas. The five-channel ambient system is used to reproduce sound effects for opera and ballet, and it doubles as the speaker system for 'LARES,' an artificial reverberation enhancement system. Audio director, Hans-Willem de Haan, says: "The change out to the SSMs radically improved the sound quality and believability of the electronically generated reverberation field. And the wide frequency response and power handling of the SSMs let's us programme any effect we like."
Chichester-based new product patenting and development company Patent Plan has seen an idea it protected in 1998 evolve into a product that now plays an integral role in the structure of the Millennium Dome. Kit Grundy, MD of Patent Plan was approached in 1998 by Michael Russell, MD of Arc Lighting, a lighting design and development company on the Isle of Wight, to protect the intellectual property of Arc's illuminated flooring system. Once the illuminated flooring system's patent protection was in place, Arc Lighting was approached by Dome architects who wished to use it to form the Money Zone's Investment Bridge. After the architects had seen the potential of the flooring system in greater detail, Arc was asked if the system could also be used for the exterior of the Money Zone. The company manufactured and installed 630sq.m of slim light boxes which weighed in excess of 25 tonnes and consumed 45,000W. Arc's flooring system has now gone on to win a SMART Award.
Sennheiser UK is supplying alarge and on-going number of DAS Audio sound systems for installation by Eclipse Lighting & Sound in the rapidly-growing chain of Revolution Vodka Bars openign across the country, operated by Manchester-based Inventive Leisure. Eclipse's John Fearon said that the DAS speakers fitted the bill perfectly: "We essentially use white DAS DS8 and DS12 full-range speakers, with SUB18 bass reflex enclosures and the CT-1 system controller. DAS is perfect for this type of install. The build quality is very good and the sound is exceptional."
English Heritage has recently employed the services of audio-visual specialist DJ Willrich to recreate the atmosphere of a 17th Century riding school at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire, through the use of sound. By using a 10-channel sound system and a Maris Stinger to synchronise all the events, including lighting, DJ Willrich has risen to the task, so that visitors to the Castle can now close their eyes and imagine themselves standing in the middle of the riding school as it was more than 300 years ago. A host of sounds, including the horses moving about the school, the voice of the riding instructor, the tack and the onlookers, including Lord and Lady Cavendish themselves, combine to recreate the highly-realistic atmosphere which, according to the Chairman of English Heritage, is "a triumph".
Leading systems integrator Integrated Circles has installed an outdoor rear projection display screen for Railtrack. Situated on the main square at London's Euston Station, the screen forms the focal point for the information window display seen by tens of thousands of commuters every day. Simon Beer, MD of Integrated Circles, was concerned about the ambient light levels in the station, and after carrying out tests, opted for a combination of the dnp 84" Black Stripe screen with Sanyo XF 10N LCD projector, offering 3000 ANSI Lumens. Beer told us: "It's all about delivering contrast, because a washed-out image is often quite bright enough - it's just that the ambient light is overpowering the dark parts of the picture. So the combination of contrast enhancement filter systems from dnp and good contrast from the Sanyo has made this very successful." The system was provided by Paradigm AV, the UK distributor for dnp.
LG Corporation's new performing arts centre in South Korea is one Asia's most technically-advanced performance facilities, and features a state-of-the-art ETC dimming and control system supplied by ETC Asia, through Samhwa Yang Heng Co, ETC's Korean distributor. Much of the remaining performance lighting equipment was supplied by TMB Associates. This included a load distribution system, using over 2,000 metres of ProCable PC1214 six-circuit, 20A cable, plus 76 breakouts and break-ins, as well as various ProPlex control cables, including 1,000m of PCCCT colour-changer cable. TMB also supplied 400 ETC Source Four luminaires, 68 Wybron Coloram II colour-changers, 500 assorted City Theatrical Source Four accessories and an Aquafog 3300 CO2 fogger, two Altman 703 Blacklight fixtures, 70 ProCan Par 64 fixtures and various atmospheric effects from Le Maitre.
Two famous Soho venues have been supplied with new Soundcraft mixing desks, by Marquee Audio - including one to the site of the former Marquee Club, where the Marquee Audio story began. Top Conran restaurant Mezzo, which now occupies the famous Marquee Club site at 90 Wardour Street, has replaced its 24/4/2 Delta DLX desk in the basement, where in-house sound engineer Jay Garrett will use it with the growing number of soul/funk tribute bands now being staged. From there, Marquee Audio ventured into famous erotic cabaret club, Raymond's Revuebar in Brewer Street, where their stalwart Delta 200 desk has been replaced by a 16-channel K1.
A new nightclub - Möndo - has opened in the town of Oban. This is the first purpose-built club in the Strathclyde town and the technical specification and installation contract for lighting and sound was won by Jools Hodgkinson and his new company Fairway Entertainments Ltd. Hodgkinson is a technical director and resident VJ at The Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh and also one of a new generation of club installers. He compiled the specification in conjunction with Lightfactor's team of Bill Jones, Dave Hartley and Peter Loosemore. This featured High End lighting fixtures for the core of the rig - six Studio Spot 250s and six Technobeams. Control for all dancefloor lighting fixtures is via a LightProcessor QCommander. Lightfactor also supplied the audio rig, consisting of Electro-Voice speakers - MTH mid tops, MTL1 subs, plus SX 300s for infills and the DJ booth; QSC PLX 1602 and 3402 amplifiers and a Rane RPM1 programmable signal processor. The sound system was positioned and EQ'd by Mike Hogg from Edinburgh-based EFX Audio.