The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) recently added a new range of sonic goodies to their already elaborate production system. 18 Geo D10 elements, 6 GeoSubs, NX242ES4 processing, Camco Vortex amplifiers and two Digico consoles (SD7 & SD8) were made the new highlights of the BCEC arsenal. In seeing touring companies grace BCEC’s presence constantly with Nexo Geo systems and having already installed a full house of Nexo PS15’s for their main monitoring; BCEC decided it was time to take the rest of their rig up a notch.
The BCEC prides itself as one of the top three convention centre’s in the world hosting events ranging from public exhibitions like the Australian Motor Show to industry gala dinners and award ceremonies sometimes housing over 2000 patrons. With this level of variety and scalability, it was a key requirement of the BCEC to have a system with the ability to deliver quality sound regardless of the room configuration. Historically, the BCEC’s distributed system performed poorly due to the naturally sub-optimal characteristics of concrete halls compounded with capacity crowds. The Geo D’s cardioid design made the task of delivering consistent sound across the whole venue a much simpler and more successful affair. In addition, the entire Geo series sport side-firing drivers which effectively cancel unwanted sound from behind the speaker resulting in tighter pattern control. This allows subs to be flown in near the main arrays without exciting large spaces with unwanted (and often irritating) spill.
System amplification was handled by 10 tasty Camco Vortex 200V’s. Each amp provides 3100 Watts RMS with both channels driven into a 4 Ohm load and coming in proudly at only a 2RU space. Traditionally, amplifiers of this size were much larger and occupied far more room but the modest size of these compact powerhouses allows for the adoption of an extremely efficient modular architecture. Multiple amplifiers can be connected to speakers rigged in a fashion where a single venue system can be powered on or off into smaller sub-systems allowing for a more tailored sound solution based on each event’s particulars. To coincide with this, the system processing is all managed by the Nexo N242 and ES4 cards enabling FOH the power to monitor the entire system via CAT5 – Quite quaint.
With speakers, amplification and system management established, the BCEC was also looking to upgrade their main consoles. With the huge range of events held at the BCEC, the team’s key focus was around ease of use, unparalleled flexibility, a large number of insouts, quality effects processing and true theatre-style automation. In realising that only a digital console would do, the BCEC thoroughly trialed and tested offerings from various mobs. Ultimately though, only Digico’s SD series with super-FPGA processing met their long list of requirements (and then some).
The BCEC’s choice of both a Digico SD7 and SD8 was backed by not only the fact that these consoles suited their present and future needs perfectly, but also because both desks utilize the same software GUI and processing algorithms. This ensures engineers can move seamlessly between the two desks with comfort and minimal fuss. The BCEC often hosts musical acts that bring with them their own engineer so having a desk which is easy to learn and can fulfill even the most demanding technical rider was a critical factor to their decision.
BCEC’s senior audio technician Les Mac Nevin writes: “As a monitor tech, going from large analogue consoles like the Midas Ramsa to the SD8 is just awesome. It has a smaller foot print, no outboard gear EQFX as its all built in, quicker set up time, easy to navigate, rock solid, heaps of headroom, and best of all; sounds great.”
Above: Brisbane Convention Centre sound simulation through EASE software.