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066 VENUE


a good choice because if the preamps aren’t good, the rest doesn’t matter. Having the XL8 preamps does the rest of the PA system justice.


“Local sound engineers just love the PRO9, and so far, so have all of the visiting engineers to Iceland. Most of them pick it up really quickly, and learn how to get the most from exclusive Midas features like the POPulation and VCA Groups, especially if they’re returning to work on it time and time again.” Talking about being responsible for possibly the largest installation of its kind in the world, Kristján enthuses: “It’s a nice surprise! I didn’t know that. Midas is one of three or four top of the range desk manu- facturers in the world. We’ve had Midas desks in our rental range for a number of years and, simply, they had the right product at the right time for this installation. We could create a relatively simple system that was easy to transport, easy to use in different configurations and at a very reasonable cost, but still using a known brand, that people are very comfortable buying into. It was a very logical choice when you put all the reasons for it down on paper.”


In Norðurljós, Silfurberg and Kaldalón, the equipment choices are relative to the size of the space. Each has sound reinforcement from Meyer Sound, featuring its UPA-1P loudspeaker, and each has been installed with an Allen & Heath iLive mixing system. The systems use Allen & Heath’s iDR-16 MixRack, its proprietary ACE (audio control over Ethernet) link, the iDR4 digital mixing engine and iLive R-72 control console.


“In the large hall, we needed 100 inputs - Midas is the right selection for that,” explains Kristján. “For the other rooms, we only needed 16 or 24 inputs, in most cases - the iLive solution is perfect for that size. It sounds very good for that price range, and it’s got all the functions that you need for most things. And it can be scaled to a reasonable size if you need it to be.”


The communication network is made up of a Clear-Com Eclipse Median digital matrix system frame, 10 Clear-Com FreeSpeak Anten- nas, 22 FreeSpeak Beltpacks, 14 V Series stations, eight RS-601 Beltpacks and four RS-602 Beltpacks. Harpa’s lighting is synonymous with its identity. Its façade was designed by renowned artist Ólafur Elíasson and Henning Larsen Architects, and is based on a twelve-sided geometric modular system called the ‘quasibrick’. Inspired by the Icelandic nature, the build- ing appears in a kaleidoscopic play of colours, reflected in almost 1,000 quasibricks composing the southern façade. The glass prisms capture and reflect the light, mirroring the day and seasons like ‘a calendar of light’. To enhance this effect a special lighting solution has been developed for the front façades using strips of LED colour ad- justable lights developed by Zumtobel to individually control the colour and intensity of each brick. The LED lights are built into the profiles of the bricks to create only minimal visual distraction. Inside Harpa, the attention to detail continues. Again, in answer to specifications outlined by Artec, Exton delivered the performance lighting. The entire system is networked, linking, for example, Eldborg’s ETC Congo console to the ETC dimming racks to the house lighting. “Then we have receptacles all over the place,” reveals Exton’s Gunnar Gunnarson. You can come with a DMX network node, plug into any receptacle for the lighting and you have DMX. You can con- nect a computer and configure the system, which provides a lot of benefits.”


ETC dimming and control features in each of the four performance spaces. A Congo - with over 3,000-channels - and two ETC Unison Paradigm Architectural Controllers manage the lighting in Eldborg. The smaller rooms have been fitted with the Congo Jr consoles. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the lighting equipment can be found in Eldborg. A host of ETC Source Four fixtures - of varying specs – are here, totalling 165 in all. “I think ETC is a fabulous company,” says Gunnar. “What I like about them, and I’ve been working with them for a long time, is they have a good service, they have a good attitude, they have reliable products and the products have been on the market for a long time. With some other companies, you see a product come out, then two years later it’s gone. I wouldn’t want to be in that posi-


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Exton’s Gunnar Gunnarson, Kristján Magnússon and Sverrir Hreiðarsson with one of four Midas PRO9 mixing desks


tion because it must be horrible to support it; it’s always changing. In that respect, it’s the stability of the service. It’s important.” Every version of ADB’s WARP 800W zoom profile spotlights are stocked in numbers - 60 of the WARP 12°-30° and 24 WARP 22°- 50° units - as well as 20 of the motorised version. Philips Selecon’s Aurora Cyc has been chosen - 16 in total - to provide controlled colour washes to the stage scenery. As part of the production lighting extras tender, Artec outlined a need for high-powered spots, and actually stipulated a particular model. Exton answered the tender by arranging a shoot out between the stipulated model and Martin Professional MAC III Performance profiles. “We had an engineering firm doing sound measurements on different functions,” explains Gunnar. “How noisy are they when they move? Slow, fast, shutter, dimmer, changing gobos, etcetera. They made a nice report about that, then we took the fixtures into a theatre and got the lighting designers to come and have a look - play with them and see what they thought. That was enough for them to say, ‘okay, this is an opportunity - we can use this as well’.” The Martin Professional stock includes 34 Martin Professional MAC TW1 wash lights and 32 MAC IIIs.


The trussing formation in Eldborg, onto which the lighting scheme is fixed, is constructed from four 15-metre pieces of Litestructures custom build truss. Barco projection has been deployed throughout the building, with the 20,000 lumen FLM HD20 projectors being des- ignated to the larger spaces and the RLM-W8 8,000 lumen projectors for the smaller rooms. Harpa is an extraordinary affair. Its timeline, its look and feel, the level of expertise invested in it and the entertainment technology story combine to form a remarkable tale. Unusually great, in fact. For the different parties involved, it will undoubtedly mean different things, but it’s fair to presume that each of them will be a proud associate. For Exton, it means a great deal. It provided the opportunity for the company to work with most of its favourite brands, demonstrating confident knowledge of them. The rental portion of Exton’s business provides a useful testing ground, which was invaluable, as Kristján ex- plains: “It helps a lot to know that the equipment can stand up and we know exactly how it operates, not just from the specification sheets, which tell you a lot but you need to read between the lines - especially when you’re integrating a complex system like this. If you find when the equipment is on site that it doesn’t have that port or doesn’t quite function as it was advertised, you’re in big trouble, it costs a lot of money. Experience everything beforehand. And that means that you tend to stick to the manufacturers that you know and you trust.” It also gives Exton a source of great pride and prizes open the op- portunity box, which has already presented the company with its first project outside Iceland - Musikkens hus in Aalborg, Denmark. Sverrir reflects: “We are very proud of it. It is a dream of anybody in this busi- ness to be involved in a project of this magnitude. We’ve been lucky; we’ve done a lot of smaller scale installations, but complex ones, so we were ready for it. We sort of had a dress rehearsal up north, with the concert house there (Hof – Culture House Akureyri). But you won’t see another project of this size, in this country, for another 50 years, I dare say. So it’s great to have been there and to be


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