A 1,200-seat auditorium hosting live performances and spiritual gatherings as well as educational events at the Adiparashakthi Agricultural and Medical Colleges in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, has been outfitted with a new sound reinforcement system utilizing a range of components from QSC.
The colleges are part of the country’s Adiparashakthi Charitable Medical, Educational, and Cultural Trust (ACMEC) that operates educational and cultural centers across Tamil Nadu. The organization’s trustees contracted systems integrator Theatre Concepts to craft and implement the new system.
Specifically, the new system utilizes 20 WideLine10 line array loudspeakers supported by 10 PLD Series power amplifiers as well as eight K12.2 and four K8.2 active loudspeakers and a TouchMix-30 Pro digital mixer for front of house. The house, control room, and a rehearsal room are interlinked via a Q-Sys audio ecosystem, including a Core 110f processor and I/O-8 Flex audio input peripheral.
“Picture 1,200 people sitting in one place, with the goal of having a common spiritual moment,” says Harry Martin of Theatre Concepts, who designed and supervised the installation. “To ensure that everyone has the same experience in terms of sound, the auditorium really needed an excellent line array system.”
While line arrays are a popular approach for seeking uniform sound levels from the front of a room to the rear, Martin points out that the side-to-side coverage was just as important in this venue. “This auditorium is very wide, about 150 feet,” he explains. “That’s the first thing that drove us towards the WL2102-w loudspeaker from the WideLine 10 Series, because it has 140 degrees of horizontal dispersion. This helped us eliminate any blank spots from one side of any row to the other. With a point-source system, there’s no way we would have been able to calibrate things so precisely and do such a perfect job of eliminating dead spots.”
The built-in DSP of the PLD Series amplifiers, combined with their limited footprint, made them the choice to power the arrays. “We had very little space to put in power amps, just an alcove below the media pit,” Martin says. “The PLDs are four-channel amps, so for the arrays on either side of the stage, we were able to fit all the power we needed into just one rack. Then there’s all the DSP in there, which is designed to work with the WideLine loudspeakers. The FAST [Flexible Amplifier Summing Technology] distributes all the amps’ power to all the loudspeakers ideally, and the result is excellent sound quality throughout the auditorium.”
Eight WideLine 10 boxes are flown on either side of the stage, but acoustic analysis discovered a couple of areas that still needed filling out. The resolution began with K.2 Series active loudspeakers at the front of the stage. “Even with the great performance of the main arrays, we also needed to fill in the first fourteen or so rows of seats,” he says. “We placed some of the K12.2 as front fills — we call it the ‘lip fill’ because it’s right at the lip of the stage. The remaining K12.2s and K8.2s are stage monitors.”
Another challenge was balancing audio coverage with visual aesthetics, for which more WideLine loudspeakers — in an uncommon location for array loudspeakers — proved useful. “With 140 degrees of coverage, we didn’t want to place the arrays in the very corners,” notes Martin. “Yet, moving them too far in towards the center created an obstruction the client was unhappy with. The ceiling is about 42 feet high and the top cabinet needed to be hung four feet down from there. The client felt that the bottom cabinets would interfere too much with the audience’s vision.” Harry and his team placed four more WideLine 10s at the center of the rear of the auditorium, on a delay. This provided two benefits: coverage in the very back plus supplemental fill down the centerline of the room, which allowed him and his team to “position the front arrays so that the client was happy.”
Compared to the sort of mixing board one might expect to see in such a venue, the TouchMix-30 Pro is quite compact. For Martin, the small size still meant big capability: “Many of the cultural and spiritual events there have live music.” he says, “We might have fourteen or more microphones at once, for starters. Also, the client wanted a foolproof system and didn’t want to need a technical expert on the property at all times. When we showed them the TouchMix, with the recall for different scenes and the ‘wizards’ for setting up inputs and such, its ease of operation was one of the tipping points that convinced them to go with QSC for the entire system.”
The system backbone is Q-Sys, QSC’s scalable, secure architecture for routing audio, video and control over Ethernet. “They wanted recording, monitoring, connection with the rehearsal room, and again, they wanted it foolproof,” Martin concludes. “We could provide all that with Q-Sys. First of all, we told them it’s Layer 3. That means it’s compatible with whatever existing network and IT systems they have — and they had a lot already, like lighting control and building automation, all that sort of thing. Other products work on Layer 2, which means you’d need to build a separate network for the audio.”