Tasmania’s The Sound Company recently performed (work) on Hobart’s Theatre Royal, overhauling its outdated sound system replacing it with three Nexo Geo-S 830 array modules, six Nexo PS10s, two Quest HPI-218 subs, a Yamaha DME24N, Camco Amplification and 14 Delay Speakers. The system design was based on left and right NEXO PS10s for each of the three levels, with a centrally mounted NEXO Geo-S array configured horizontally and a series of delay speakers. As to be expected from Australia’s oldest, Heritage-listed theatre, there were many aesthetic and sound dispersion requirements that needed to be considered, not to mention weight limitations with a flown array. Nexo was chosen because of its weight and exceptional sound quality, whilst maintaining a small visual footprint, allowing the system to be unobtrusive and somewhat enhancing the building’s early Victorian atmosphere.
Above: Inside the historic Royal Theatre
The historic theatre has three levels and lots of balcony overhang, thus getting the sound across the entire audience was easier said than done. Line arrays are not really suited to theatres of this style as there are too many areas that cannot be covered by the main arrays. Balcony fronts can be terrible for reflections back onto stage and unless the audience doesn’t mind looking at a PA, there is no aesthetically ideal position for them. All these factors combined meant there was really only one solution, a hybrid distributed system.
Above: Look carefully to see the Nexo Installation solution
The previous sound system design had loudspeakers mounted to the on-stage edge of the proscenium arch. “While I can understand this approach from a design point of view, it’s visually unattractive. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it (again)”, said Group Technologies’ Adam Iuston, who worked closely with The Sound Company on the design and installation of the new system for the historic theatre site.
The two subs mounted in the pit – these can be relocated when the pit is in use. “We had the same visual problems with subs” said Adam, “We briefly entertained the idea of flying them, but that was vetoed very quickly, so we went for the pit as a compromise and I must admit they are working very well down there”. Signal distribution and processing is achieved with NEXO controllers and a Yamaha DME24N processor. “The Geo-S in horizontal mode is fantastic! Three units are joined together to give a very controlled 90H x 80V degree pattern. The fact that the Geo-S array is almost an equal distance from the installed location to the audience areas being covered means there are no major amplitude differences”, said Adam.
Adam Iuston and Tim Munro (Theatre Royal CEO)
Theatre Royal CEO, Tim Munro has been extremely pleased with the design and installation saying, “I think the new system has really cleaned up the look of the Theatre and the lighting department are very happy too, the old speaker positions used to play havoc with cross stage shots”. Adam adding, “A lot of time was spent modeling this room, I mean when you’re installing a PA into a heritage building you don’t want to be moving boxes around after you drilled a hole in a wall – this applies especially to cabling. It pays to take a little more time with EASE predictions prior to installation”.
Overall the system has been extremely well-received by all the stakeholders in the theatre and praise has come from all who use the system, including the Sound Designer for The Bell Shakespeare Company stating, “(This is) the best theatre sound system in the country”.
The install comprised:
- 6 x NEXO PS10
- 3 x NEXO Geo-S 830 (Horizontal array)
- 2 x Quest HPI-218s
- 1 x NEXO NX242
- 3 x NEXO PS10TD
- 3 x CAMCO Tecton 38.4
- 2 x CAMCO v3 Quaddro
- 1 x Yamaha DME24N
- 14 x Australian Monitor Install 10