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FEATURE: AUDITORIUMS The world’s a stage...


...and audio is merely one of the players – but a pretty damn important one. Theatres and concert halls have traditionally been significant income generators for console and intercom manufacturers, but what has been the impact of ‘analogue sunset’ and more extensive networking? David Davies finds out


The reopened Islington Assembly Hall in London has selected an Allen & Heath iLive digital mixing system, comprising iDR-48 and iDR-32 MixRacks with two iLive-T112 Control Surfaces, to manage both FOH and monitors


[KEY POINTS]


Compact digital consoles remain a hugely significant contributor to overall auditorium audio spend


Flexibility is the watchword as venues diversify to avoid too many ‘days in the dark’


Manufacturers are supporting a wide variety of networking options in the absence of any definitive consensus emerging


Audio/Video Bridging (AVB) is expected by many to drive further adoption of networking technology per se


TRAVEL BACK in time ten or even five years, and it was not uncommon to hear audio described as the ‘poor cousin’ to lighting in terms of small to medium-sized auditorium investment priorities. For many, keeping pace with the rapid evolution of lighting felt like challenge enough. Where significant audio spend was taking place, the focus tended to be on then- emerging line-array systems.


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Viewed in this context, the


advent of digital consoles as a truly affordable option has been nothing less than revolutionary. Versatile and easy to (re)configure, digital desks have ushered in a new, more malleable era of auditorium audio. With many venues looking to augment income from theatre, music and other live performance with congress events, this new-found flexibility could


hardly have arrived at a more opportune moment. The adoption of digital


desks was a trend that quickly assumed momentum – one amplified during the past 18 months by the arrival of increasingly compact desks. These have even proven difficult to resist among those venues inclined to operate primarily on a ‘shell’ basis. The transition is neatly


encapsulated by Richard Ferriday, manager – product support of MUSIC Group Research, parent of PRO console series developer Midas: “In the past, [small/medium-sized auditoriums] would install a small analogue console – just about adequate for smaller, ‘house’ productions, relying upon any larger, incoming productions to bring in their own systems. The advent of


‘[AVB will play a major role in] re-marketing the advantages of audio and video


networking’


Nicola Beretta, Allen & Heath


November 2012 31


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