Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House
Project requirements: A professional discreet audio solution that blends seamlessly into its environment to provide an immersive experience without detracting from the surroundings.
Audio Visual Integrator: Stage Electrics
The final system, comprises the KP102, precisely colour matched to the gold of the proscenium arch, with 24 KKS50 Compact Sub-Bass in six clusters of four subs, three clusters each side, eight KK102 front fills built into the new thrust stage, two KA84 four channel amplifiers powering the main proscenium L/R system, a KA84 four channel amplifier powering all six sub bass clusters and a further KA24 four channel amplifier powering the front fills.
The overall performance of the system, totalling eight KP102s per side, each providing 720W from 12 drivers in each section, suddenly starts to mount up. With 96 3.15inch drivers providing around 5,760W, a dispersion of seven degrees vertical and 100 degrees horizontal and weighing in at 96kg, this becomes a system like no other.
One of the truly amazing performance aspects of the system is the image across the room, from sitting in the very first box, round to dead centre, the stereo image is impeccable. Even if you are sitting in the first box house left, you experience a lower level of the left array due to proximity, but you also receive a strong level of house right because the distance allows the system to couple more elements. Combined with the 110 degree horizontal spread, left and right are well balanced.
The other benefit of this system is that due to the amount of drivers in the column you are always on axis to the system. This has a dramatic effect on the requirement for under balcony delays and the real experience of sound coming from the stage and not above your head.
Mixing on a system like this does require a small amount of mind over matter if you constantly look at what’s in front of you, as opposed to what you’re hearing. But if you stop looking and start listening your mind will easily remember what matters; a system that has a dynamic and fast response to what it receives and accuracy in what the engineer expects and wants it to do.
As well as being an opera house, we also host commercial events. And for us, the K-array system covers at least 90/95% of what we want to do. If we were doing Iron Maiden, it would be slightly different, but the chances of that happening are really slim. When you walk into the auditorium, you’ve got the grandiose gold proscenium, rich red plush seats and you’re not expecting to see a loudspeaker hanging above your head. That’s key for us; it’s all about is people coming into the auditorium and not seeing a loudspeaker, or not having a sense of the sound being reinforced. For a commercial event, it’s fair enough, but generally, if we’re doing some of the more contemporary operas or ballets which may have electronic instruments as part of the score, you just want that sense of the sound being lifted, but not the sense of it coming from that loudspeaker over there.
Steve Zissler, Sound Director, Royal Opera House
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