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Autograph, KV2 and EM Acoustics At The Royal Spa Centre

Opened in 1972, The Royal Spa Centre in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire is one of a number of facilities jointly managed by the newly-formed Arts Service launched in 2017 by Warwick District Council's Cultural Services, alongside the Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum and the Visitor Information Centre in the Royal Pump Rooms.

The Royal Spa Centre itself features two auditoria, a traditional proscenium theatre space with a capacity of 667 and a Cinema / Studio Theatre which can accommodate an audience of up to 188. Both venues host a very broad range of events and performances, including dance, concerts, wrestling, cinema, ballet, fairs, exhibitions and even a powerlifting World Championships.

Autograph Sales & Installations recently completed a major refit of the audio system in the main theatre to bring it in line with the latest standards of contemporary performance spaces. The initial contact was at the 2017 PLASA Show in London, after which Autograph undertook some initial modelling of the space and a multi-brand ‘shoot-out’ style demonstration on site. Autograph subsequently won the tender to supply the new system, a process which included a full demo of the proposed system in the theatre.

Led by Autograph’s Project and Installations Manager Adam Broom, the design for the theatre employs a range of KV2 loudspeaker products throughout, all powered by Lab-Gruppen DSP-equipped amplifiers. The main system comprises a pair of KV2 ESD15 loudspeakers mounted low on the proscenium to cover the front and rear stalls, while a pair of ESD12s are mounted higher up to cover the balcony. Four KV2 ESD5s cover the seats nearest the stage while a further two ESD12s are deployed as a centre cluster, with each loudspeaker focussed separately on the near and far fields. Four ESD1.18 subwoofers provide ample low-frequency reinforcement.

Adam’s design also uses some very carefully-positioned KV2 ESD6s as delays to manage the audio imaging for the space - two of them help to pull the image back towards centre stage for the side balcony seats while a further three form a more traditional set of delays, again helping to pull the image back to centre. A further pair of ESD6s are deployed as outfills on the proscenium and all the mounted units are held safely in place by dedicated KV2 hardware.

In addition to the KV2 equipment Adam also recommended four of EM Acoustics’ M-C12 Coaxial Passive Monitors to handle on-stage monitoring. These can be used as traditional wedge monitors on the floor, can be pole-mounted or suspended from the grid for dance and ensemble work as required.

Just six Lab Gruppen DSP-equipped amplifiers are required to power and process the entire system, two D80:4s for all the proscenium-mounted loudspeakers and subwoofers, two D40:4s for the delays, front fills and outfills and two IPD2400 for the EM Acoustics monitors.

Autograph additionally supplied an AES output card for the theatre’s existing DiGiCo SD9 mixing console and two Sonifex RB-DDA6As configured as AES distribution amplifiers. All the AES and analogue inputs for each amplifier are broken out onto a Ghielmetti patch while Autograph’s cabling infrastructure includes eight tie lines between the front of house mix position and the amplifier rack. This with the two Sonifex units provides a very flexible solution for the in-house technical team as it allows (for example) sound designers total flexibility in how they wish to use the new system, or if an incoming production wishes to use only part of it.

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