London, UK (March 30, 2022)—A community arts center in southeast London, The Albany was founded in 1899, suffered a fire in 1978 and was rebuilt to better serve the region with concerts theater, children’s programming, workshops, lectures and more. With the long-serving P.A. no longer keeping up with that busy pace, the venue recently hired Stage Electrics to replace the audio system with a new EM Acoustics Reference Series P.A.
Head of Production at the Albany, Ben Stephen, explained, “We looked at a lot of different options, but the eureka moment came when EM’s Ed Kinsella visited us with the R10s and some EMS Series. Being able to talk to the person that actually designed the loudspeakers in the context of what we have to achieve every day was amazing. It was like the most fantastic play date! We looked at all the speaker placements and tried out all sorts of combinations and configurations – the technical team were like kids in a sweet shop.”
In consultation with Kinsella, it was decided at an early stage that a point source solution would be the most appropriate for the space. As a result, the full system comprises four R10s, two S-15 compact reflex subwoofers, two S-215 high power compact subwoofers, four EMS-61 fills and eight M-C12 stage monitors. Power is supplied via a DQ20, a DQ10 and three DQ6 advanced system amplifiers.
“Acoustically, the space is extremely demanding,” said Stephen. “Sonically it’s like an 18-sided mirror ball – or theatre in-the-round with angles if you prefer. Our previous system was large and heavy and difficult to reconfigure, but the new one is wonderfully agile. We treat it a bit like a touring system, and we can reconfigure it at the drop of a hat. The interchangeable waveguides of the R10s are a real bonus; they are quick to change over, and effectively give us four systems in one. When you’re switching from a full-on music gig in the round or club night on a Friday to end-on children’s theatre on Saturday morning, you really appreciate a versatile system.”
“We used to run six main top boxes, but we can do the same job with just four R10s; fewer sources means fewer reflections, so we have gained enormously in clarity and punch, not to mention space and weight,” he added. “We have also moved to much physically smaller subs, and have gained an extra 1.5 sq m of stage space as a result. Previously our subs quite often only served as very expensive speaker stands for our top boxes; in fact, they were so obtrusive, we could only put them in one place, which used to result in a lot of sub traps and of course took up space on the stage. Now, we can place the subs wherever we like according to the application – for example, they can go under the seating rake for a theatrical system that might require effects like a rumble of thunder or an explosion.”