Warsaw Grand Theatre updates with Kiva
Wednesday, 1 April 2020
operanationalwarsawpoland2The Grand Theatre - National Opera was re-built in the late 1960s
Poland - One of the most spectacular and well-equipped theatres in Europe, with a seating capacity of over 2,000, The Grand Theatre - National Opera (Polish: Teatr Wielki - Opera Narodowa (TW-ON)) is a ‘must-visit’ cultural hub in Warsaw, housing a theatre complex, museum, opera company, and the Polish National Ballet all under one roof.
Most recently, its Młynarski Hall, also known as the Chamber Music Hall, has been updated with an L-Acoustics Kiva II system, offering “unparalleled sound” versatility to the venue’s extensive programme of concerts, ballets, operas, and special events.
When it was time to upgrade this notable venue's PA system, the team invited the top AV suppliers to participate in the tendering process.
The team consisted of the theatre's Zdzisław Staszewski, Łukasz Baska and Michał Polański. They were responsible for conducting the tender for the Młynarski Hall, and developing a detailed listening procedure which the team presented to Polish equipment supplier and L-Acoustics certified provider distributor, Audio Plus, among two other AV candidates.
"TW-ON's listening committee included a technical team of sound engineers, a robust artistic team consisting of a conductor, singer, musician, representatives from both the Academy of Opera and the Impresariat; and people from other units associated with the artistic work of TW-ON," Audio Plus marketing director, Paweł Kuhn eplained. "It's a testament to their commitment to getting the sound right, for technicians, for artists and for the audience."
Companies joining the tender had to set up a complete PA system in the room, so the listening committee could evaluate the performance based on 14 soundtracks, which were grouped according to criteria such as timbre, sound balance, transparency, spatiality, and stereophonicity. The last criterion, used only for the signal of silence, was lack of interference.
“L-Acoustics turned out to be not only the best-sounding system, but also the most cost-effective,” notes Kuhn.
For the concert configuration, the system uses two main hangs of six Kiva II with two SB-18 subs placed left and right of orchestral pit. Ballet shows run on a similar configuration, but utilise just four Kiva II per side. The third configuration includes the surround sound option for special events, utilising three main hangs of four Kiva II with two SB18 subs, as well as X8 for effects, with four units placed left and right of the auditorium and two X8 placed on the back wall of the room.
The entire system is powered using six LA4X amplified controllers in fixed racks ,with two LA4X in mobile racks available when needed. The X8 can also be utilised for front-fill.
The stage monitor system covers an extremely deep stage area: two rows of four single ARCS Wide are suspended left and right of the technical balconies, and one ARCS Wide invisibly attached to each portal tower, as if it is levitating. Four X15 HiQ provides floor monitoring if required, but these can be removed if necessary to allow for differing stage configurations.
“The whole system is unobtrusive so that the entire audio system can be completely hidden,” adds Łukasz Kaźmierczak, Audio Plus’s head designer. “And because the audio is connected to the Theatre's existing AV emission and recording system (SERAV), the Młynarski Hall can both record and play material using the 5.1 and 7.1 omnidirectional sound system.”
The whole system was ‘pinned’ with Cat 7 twisted-pair cables, which also takes into account video signal requirements. Both the audio and video signals flow to the server room via optical fibre. The LA4X amplifiers were installed in a flexible way, with six units permanently installed in cabinets in the amplifier room, while the other two units in rack cabinets, so they can be moved as required.
L-Acoustics’ director of application, install David Dohrmann, and application engineer Ian Fellbom calibrated the system for maximum flexibility and trained the TW-ON team on the new system.
“The TW-ON staff members have been praising the L-Acoustics system from day one for its compact and unobtrusive profile, great sound consistency and, above all, its unprecedented versatility,” concludes Kuhn.
(Jim Evans)

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