Boasting a 1,450-seat proscenium arch theatre with one of the largest stages in the UK, a conference and events center, an arena, and an atrium hall as well as bars and restaurants, Venue Cymru is a versatile space capable of receiving virtually any touring production, plus exhibitions, events and conferences.
The existing sound system, which dated back to the theatre’s inauguration in 1994, was falling short of the high expectations of both visiting productions and audiences. The sound team at Venue Cymru, headed up by Bryn Rosenwould, began to explore solutions, including HALO-C from EM Acoustics.
“The venue required a fuller spectrum of sound than the existing system could provide, with high end clarity, speech intelligibility and low-end punch being identified as key requirements,” explains Pro Audio Systems project manager Lee Unsworth. “We know and love EM Acoustics products, so given the requirements of this project, of all the options on the tender, they were our first choice. Top of the priority list was, of course, sound quality; EM Acoustics boxes all sound very musical and incredibly natural.
“With correct system design and speaker placement, we had no problem in meeting all the audio requirements. The central array of eight HALO-C cabinets flown in front of the proscenium arch meant that, for the first time, the venue had full coverage of both stalls and balcony enabling a true LCR mix.”
Fortunately, the passive crossover design of the EMS Series loudspeakers that were utilized for delays allowed the Pro Audio Systems team to re-use the existing cable infrastructure without compromising on quality and keeping installation costs to a minimum. As a council-run theater, budget was important, which made EM Acoustics an even more attractive option for the venue.
“Key to this project was the ability to accurately predict the system’s coverage pattern to ensure full coverage of all audience areas – something that had been lacking in the past,” Unsworth adds. “We measured up the space and produced an EASE model to interrogate the system design. The results led to some changes being made to the initial specification, but we were able to make the changes and still stay within budget.”
Once the system was installed, Unsworth and his team spent a full day measuring system response to verify system performance, adjusting splay angles on the array and the direction/tilt of the EMS Series delay cabinets to ensure that every seat in the house benefited from a similar sonic experience.
“The EQs we applied were simply to compensate for HF losses through the air and low-mid build-up in the room – we weren’t fighting the system to make it linear,” says Unsworth. “Also, it was our first time working properly with EM Acoustic’s DQ10D Dante-enabled amplifiers. Their excellent DSP capacity gave us everything we needed to optimize the system in no time, and Dante connectivity means that the system is future-proofed for years to come.”
Rosenwould notes, “Although I wasn’t previously familiar with EM Acoustics, the sound quality surpassed what I was expecting and left me in no doubt that this was the right choice for us and not just the ‘cheaper option’ – on the contrary, this was a very high-quality system. I’m delighted with the new PA system and will be recommending EM Acoustics and Pro Audio Systems to all our visiting companies and touring shows.”