February 2021 – AV integrator Torpedo Factory Group has installed a new K-array loudspeaker system at the City of London Academy, elevating audio performance to be capable of the largest theatrical productions while remaining visually minimalist.
Opened in 2003, City of London Academy is one of four City of London Corporation sponsored academies, and moved to its present location in the south-east London borough of Southwark in 2005.
The Academy’s main auditorium is a large purpose-built hall with raked seating designed for speech and music, assemblies, lectures and large-scale theatrical productions. In order to meet the demands of these multiple and diverse functions, Torpedo Factory Group (TFG) proposed a full range, high SPL solution in the form of K-array Kobra line array elements complemented by Thunder subwoofers, and supplied by the Italian manufacturer’s UK distributor 2B Heard.
“We’d done some video work for the client previously,” said TFG project manager Mark Solomons, “and when they asked us to look at the audio side of a new auditorium project we knew from past experience that a K-array system would fit perfectly in there both sonically and aesthetically.”
“No matter what we throw at it – singing, speaking events, background music, films – the sound is clear, crisp and bassy when needed. Each different sound type is accurately reproduced even in this large hall environment.”
Ashley Ewles, Network Manager, City of London Academy
A pair of Thunder-KMT18P 18” subwoofers are flown at left and right providing low frequencies, and directly in front of these two long columns of Kobra-KK102 one-metre line array elements complete the powerful and architecturally minimalist PA. A four-channel 8,000 watt Kommander amplifier provides power and system processing for the bi-amp configured system with headroom to spare.
“The auditorium at the City of London Academy is a well-designed room with unusually good acoustics,” explained Solomons. “It’s been built with very few parallel walls and correctly installed insulation, and even though it’s a large room the K-array speaker system easily fills the space and sounds very natural and open.
“They didn’t want a large lump of conventional speaker boxes hanging in there and there was also a weight restriction we needed to observe on the timber beam ceiling structure, so K-array presented the ideal lightweight and visually appealing solution.
“The client is blown away with the result,” he continued. “They’ve done loads of sound productions in there and they just love it, it keeps on functioning flawlessly day after day. There’s plenty of headroom – you can really let rip when you want to do big, bold musical productions, so volume was never an issue, and the way the K-array system integrated into the acoustics allowed us to do that.”
City of London Academy network manager Ashley Ewles reports that the system has far exceeded expectations: “No matter what we throw at it – singing, speaking events, background music, films – the sound is clear, crisp and bassy when needed. Each different sound type is accurately reproduced even in this large hall environment. We’re very happy with the quality, it is refreshing to be able to turn up the volume when needed without the risk of distortion.”
“Support from 2B Heard has been great,” concluded Solomons. “They always pick up the phone and are always happy to answer questions or come and fine tune systems – especially during the after-sales period when teething issues tend to crop up. K-array products work straight out of the box – we’ve never had any technical issues or component failures, and everything we’ve put into an install has always worked straight away without a hitch – and that’s why K-array has become our go-to speaker system.
“What stands out is the architectural nature of the products, the variety of boxes in the range, and the ease of installation. In the commercial sector nobody wants a traditional square or trapezoidal box these days – particularly in a new build where there is often a strong architectural element. No manufacturer does anything quite as unique as this, we’re certainly very happy with what K-array do and we’re always looking for opportunities where their products will fit in.”
“K-array products work straight out of the box – we’ve never had any technical issues or component failures, and everything we’ve put into an install has always worked straight away without a hitch – and that’s why K-array has become our go-to speaker system.”
Mark Solomons, Project Manager, Torpedo Factory Group
About 2B Heard
2B Heard is a leading UK-based distributor of premium audio brands and is the sole authorised representative of K-array in the UK and Ireland. Led by respected industry figures Dave Wooster and Sam Nankivell, the company delivers exceptional service and support based on real world experience within the UK’s entertainment technology, professional AV and home audio markets.