Auditorio y Palacio: Finely Tuned Coverage In Two New Performance Venues

November 19, 2012, by Kevin Young

live sound

Located a few hours north of Madrid, in the mountainous Castile-Leon region of Northern Spain, Burgos, is known as the “Land of Castles.”

While Burgos is renowned for it’s history, it also has a reputation as a leading destination for corporate conventions.

For some time, the city has sought to construct a truly modern venue equipped with the facilities necessary to host a wide variety of national and international congresses, concerts and theatre to meet the needs of both the cultural and business communities who are drawn there.

Recently, those needs have been met with the construction of the Auditorio y Palacio, a beautiful new complex featuring sound reinforcement systems designed by SeeSound and installed by Vigo-based A/V integrator and installer, Spica Sistemas Audiovisuales.

The systems serve the 1,550-capacity Auditorio Principal and 653-seat Auditorio Secundario and are comprised primarily of Adamson Metrix line array loudspeakers, driven by Powersoft amplifiers and XTA Electronics digital processors.

SeeSound first became involved with the project in 2011, tasked with the job of designing systems that would fulfill the requirements of modern performances, traditional orchestral and theatrical applications as well as corporate presentations and special events, says Carles Ribo, product manager at SeeSound.

The larger-scale Auditorio Principal. (click to enlarge)

Given the fact that the project was a completely new build, the challenges presented by the venue were minimal. “But still,” Ribo adds, “these are large auditoriums with highly reflective walls. The advantage of using a system like Metrix is that the boxes are very directional, so we can send a lot of power to the bottom rows and, obviously, the lower we go to the front rows the energy is distributed more quickly, so we’re not killing people at the front with too much SPL.

“Apart from that, we can control them electronically and have three distinctive zones where we can provide the SPL we need in each.

“The small auditorium is more for corporate events and presentations and smaller events, while the larger venue will host live musical performances, theatre and large corporate presentations,” he continues. “The main auditorium needed to be covered in an even way with high quality sound from the last row to the first, taking into account that the stage can be extended to encompass some of the first few rows. The small auditorium had required a L/R system and a quantity of speakers that could be added on the side and back to transform it into either a 5.1 or 7.1 surround system.”

A look at Adamson Metrix arrays in both performance spaces. (click to enlarge)

Auditorio Principal
The larger space, which officially opened in September, is more of a typical theatre venue, Ribo explains. In this space, the mains consist of seven Metrix-i 5-degree cabinets, and three Metrix-i W 15-degree cabinets flown below three double 15-inch Metrix-t Subs, per side, that provide coverage throughout the entire seating area.

“Acoustically, it’s designed to host anything from classical to modern music,” says Ribo. “There is a balcony and an orchestra level and we need to cover the whole auditorium, so we had to have different zones where we can select what sound pressure level will be sent to each.”

In all, there three distinct zones. Beginning from the top, per side, the first four Metrix-i boxes point at the balcony, and then another three Metrix-i boxes that point cover the under balcony and orchestra level, followed by three Metrix-i W boxes that point at the first rows. They’re supported by a center cluster of two Adamson Point 15 full-range loudspeakers for center fill, one pointing at the balcony and the other at the orchestra level.

Each zone has it’s own processing and amplification. XTA processing is used exclusively for the rig in this room.

“The Adamson loudspeakers work very well with XTA and, in this case, two XTA DC1048s were the best option,” Ribo continues.

“Usually we go with a DP448, but the 1048 is perfect for installs because the switches for preset changes are on the front panel, so you can lock everything apart from the preset buttons so the end-user can’t get it wrong. It’s very user-friendly.”

Additionally, five self-powered loudspeakers from Spanish manufacturer Vieta La-8 are deployed as front fills to provide coverage for the first few rows of seating.

“The Vieta speakers aren’t in a fixed position because the front of the stage can be moved automatically. You literally press a button and it goes in and out, so you can have more or less seats depending on how large the stage needs to be and whether you need an orchestral pit or not.”

The choice of the Vieta, Ribo adds, was based on the need for a self-powered 8-inch model for this specific application.

Four Powersoft K2 amplifiers drive the Metrix and two K3 models drive the subs. The house console, a Yamaha PM5D, as well as lighting control systems, are located in a control room at the rear of the orchestra level, which is fitted with sliding glass windows.

The room is also outfitted with a monitor system headed by a Yamaha PM5D console feeding Vieta La-12s wedges.

Auditorio Secundario

The smaller auditorium has been in use since June, and is designed for lesser-scale events and corporate functions. It’s equipped with a Yamaha M7CL house console and left and right main arrays made up of five Metrix-i and two Metrix-i W cabinets hung below dual Metrix-t subwoofers.

Four Vieta La-8s deliver front fill, and more of the company’s La Series loudspeakers are also deployed as surround elements for a 5.1/7.1 system. Although not used for every application, this aspect can be brought into play for presentations or performances that require surround sound.

The more intimate Auditorio Secundario. (click to enlarge)

The cabling for 5.1/7.1 configurations is hidden in the walls, so when the venue staff wants to do something requiring 5.1 or 7.1 they place the loudspeakers as necessary. Two can be deployed as L/R side surrounds and two as rear L/R surrounds, all hung roughly 2.5 meters (about 7.5 feet) above the floor.

“When not in use the speakers can be removed so all you see is a flat wall. Then, when you need surround sound, you open up a panel, out comes the bracket, and you hang the speakers. It’s very easy and very neat, aesthetically, which was important as well.”

Here, too, XTA processing are used for the mains – two XTA DP1048s controlled via RS-485 for Metrix, with two Powersoft K2s powering the mains and two K3s for the subs.

The choice of Powersoft, Ribo says, was primarily based on its Power Factor Correction (PFC) technology, which improves performance and minimizes current draw and overall consumption. The surround loudspeakers are fed by a Denon DN-7100 surround preamplifier.

The advantages of the Metrix arrays helped SeeSound deliver precision coverage in both rooms. “The fact that two different versions are available (5-degree or 15-degree dispersion in the vertical plane) allowed us to design a very flexible system,” he continues. “The Adamson line arrays are known for their performance and overall quality, but they are also compact and discrete.”

While Burgos has other, more traditional, performance venues, the addition of a facility like the Auditorio y Palacio will allow the city to accommodate virtually any type of performance.

“Generally, older spaces are refurbished and, of course, in continental Europe there a great number of older spaces,” Ribo concludes, “but this facility will transform the cultural life of Burgos.”

Based in Toronto, Kevin Young is a freelance music and tech writer, professional musician and composer

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Auditorio y Palacio: Finely Tuned Coverage In Two New Performance Venues