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Newcastle’s Palace Of Arts Retrofitted With RCF HDL20-A

Nitelites renovates systems in the Grand Hall brewery and event space for its new occupants, the Wylam Brewery.

By PSW Staff April 19, 2017

RCF HDL20-A arrays in the Grand Hall at the Palace of Arts

Newcastle upon Tyne’s The Palace of Arts has been equipped with RCF D-Line HDL20-A arrays by locally based technical providers, Nitelites, for its new occupants, the Wylam Brewery.

The Grand Hall at the Palace of Arts — the last building to survive from the North East Exhibition world fair of 1929 — was originally opened by the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) in the newly-redeveloped Exhibition Park.

Now Wylam Brewery has relocated its HQ and converted the Grade-II listed building into a fully operating, working brewery and events space after it had remained almost derelict for nearly a decade. Prior to that it had operated as a Science Museum and Military Vehicle Museum.

With the Grand Hall playing host to a wide range of functions, from brewers’ markets, live music (including #1 album seller, Michael Kiwanuka), pop-up food events, weddings and corporate events, accommodating up to 800 people standing, a new sound system was required.

Nitelites were introduced to the project by events director (and Brewery co-owner), Dave Stone, a well known promoter on the local music scene. “We trusted them to put in an installation commensurate with the wide range of events we would be staging,” he said. The director was also eager that the room be integrated within the brewery itself, giving it a unique feel by incorporating the barrel-aging program.

Stone was already well aware of the integrity of the RCF product having experienced it from the Nitelites rental stock at previous venues that he had operated. He also knew that it had good visibility with sound engineers and could be supported by any additional equipment where necessary.

Nitelites director, and sound system designer Andy Magee, immediately recognized the challenges of working in a listed, single-glazed dome roof structure, with the combined problems of sound escape externally, and high reverberance internally.

”Initially the noise study limited the SPL considerably but by being able to demonstrate the clarity of the HDL20-A, and our ability to focus the energy onto the dancefloor area, we have been able to increase the threshold to 100dB,” he said. The fact they were able to model the room in the industry standard EASE Focus 3 software was a further boost.

Magee added that in view of its reliability, the decision to specify this big-selling composite system — with hangs of six elements a side — had been a no-brainer, particularly with its 100 x 15° dispersion pattern. “The return on investment is unparalleled and it’s so easy and quick to deploy and operate,” he said.

Recessed behind the front of the stage apron are five TTS36-A subs, housing two 18-inch neodymium woofers. In addition, six RCF NX15-SMA have been provided for stage monitoring while limiter and EQ structure is programmed into a BSS Soundweb DSP.

Andy Magee also highlighted other attributes of the system. “Since the brewery doesn’t have a full time engineer but relies on freelance engineers, who will mostly have experienced the system, the fact that the HDL20-A is equipped with several push button correction tools enables them to change the low frequency and midrange summation to suit.” He says the soft touch filter and EQ control are easy to understand.

Supplied as part of a sound and light package, Nitelites staff concludes, “There are a lot of dynamics in this system which enable the client to cater for a wide range of events. At the same time we have managed to keep reflections down to a minimum.”

Dave Stone agrees. “We were unable to acoustically treat the room but Nitelites have absolutely nailed it with the RCF system. We have received great feedback as the system has settled into the different scenarios.”

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