A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor


wills-memorial-_1.jpgOne of the UK’s most important gothic buildings recently commissioned a new multimedia infrastructure to extend its functionality within the precincts of Bristol University.

The entire integration at Wills Memorial Building was undertaken by local installer, Sounds Commercial, and was designed and built around two 24-box hangs of Martin Audio’s OmniLine micro line array––the largest single OmniLine source yet installed.

OmniLine was chosen as the best solution to the challenge of replacing old 1970’s stacked cone column speakers, recessed behind wooden panels in the Grade 1-listed building.

A versatile, micro line array designed for installation in a wide variety of architectural environments, OmniLine’s modular approach and scalability extend its use from foreground applications to sound reinforcement in large acoustic spaces.

Intelligent software enables an array to be configured to deliver sound precisely over any vertical angle to fit the venue profile, without spilling onto surfaces where sound is not required.

Additionally, elimination of high-frequency side lobes gives OmniLine the advantage over currently available DSP-steered columns, making it suitable for high quality music reproduction as well as speech in large reverberant spaces.

All of which represented perfect criteria for a high vaulted space such as Wills. Working under the guidance of English Heritage––and alongside main building contractor Stone BCI–– all fixings of OmniLine had to be made along the mortar lines between the slab stone, requiring the bottom bracket to be re-engineered and the fixing made secure with chemical anchors.

Wills Memorial has a number of seminar rooms, tiered lecture theatres, meeting rooms and an exhibition space––but the centerpiece is the Great Hall. With its two balconies it can seat up to 900 people for plenary lectures and 270 for banqueting. The Great Hall hosts a vast range of functions and events, and third party rental provides an additional revenue stream. Thus it required a versatile sound system.

Once awarded the contract, Sounds Commercial realized they would need to retain some of the existing infrastructure and preserve the existing methods of working.

Asked about the choice of OmniLine, Sounds Commercial Senior Project Engineer Lee Stephenson, replied, “What we were looking for was clarity, evenness of coverage and directivity, because it’s all teaching space around here and so containment was important. There were also the aesthetic concerns. We just fed the system with a CD and wireless mics––it sounded stunning and passed the test with us, and the people from the university.?

A biamped solution was recommended, with the entire system run from Martin Audio’s four-channel MA6.8Q amplifier.

The system was modeled using a beta version of Martin Audio’s new OmniLine Software, with SIA-Smaart’s dual-channel FFT analysis verifying the measurements.

By splitting the system into biamp mode, Sounds Commercial was able to provide increased punch at the back––with 3dB boost for the top eight boxes, firing at the balcony. Given the high directivity of the line array no delay system was necessary.

In addition to OmniLine, two Martin AQ12’s face back from the stage pillars to provide performance monitoring, while another pair of AQ6’s provide booth monitoring up in the control room.

For Sounds Commercial––who specialize in everything from large stadium installs to designing lighting circuits––the integration has proved successful, and for once a high-vaulted open space hasn’t produced ridiculously long RT times.

“We have been fortunate in that there hasn’t been any kind of acoustic treatment necessary,? concluded the Sounds Commercial project team. “In fact very little processing has been necessary.?

For more about Martin Audio, please contact: Rob Hofkamp, Director North American Operations at 519.747.5853, rhofkamp@martin-audio.com, or visit www.martin-audio.com.

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May 2009
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