Allen & Heath Go for a Ride - Mixonline

Allen & Heath Go for a Ride

Birmingham, UK–based A/V and P.A. specialists Complete Light & Sound Services supplied and installed the audio system for Thorpe Park's latest attraction, the Stealth launch coaster, selecting Allen & Heath's iDR DSP system to manage interactive sound distribution on the ride.
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Birmingham, UK–based A/V and P.A. specialists Complete Light & Sound Services supplied and installed the audio system for Thorpe Park's latest attraction, the Stealth launch coaster, selecting Allen & Heath's iDR DSP system to manage interactive sound distribution on the ride.

Stealth's control room, containing the iDR racked system

Opened in March 2006, Stealth is Europe's tallest, fastest Rocket Coaster, travelling 0 to 80 mph in 2.3 seconds and reaching 205 feet. The coaster is designed with 1950s styling, including a period DJ booth playing music from the era.

Complete Light & Sound—working with Bose special projects division—specified an iDR-8 mixing processor, plus iDR-in and iDR-out expanders, giving a full 16x16 matrix with an iDR-switch control expander, all connected with Cat-5 cable.

The racked system is installed in an offsite control room and there are control panels located in the ride operator's booth and in the DJ area, which allow fully automated or manual DJ functions. The automated function uses sound stores that seamlessly mix random sources of both voice-overs and authentic '50s and '60s music, while the DJ console is a custom-made unit with four in-built sound stores to allow the DJ to select and play any of the pre-loaded jingle effects and music via an Allen & Heath PL-6 remote fader mixing panel.

Complete Light & Sound managing director, Bill Yeo, says, "We have been involved with specifying Allen & Heath's iDR range for similar projects over the past four or five years. The system is a perfect fit for projects of this kind, requiring a large quantity of automated settings, as iDR always has plenty of available functionality. Stealth is such a complex installation, we've nearly used all the features on the iDR system!"

Approximately 50 presets have been programmed on the iDR system, triggered by the ride's PLC (Programmable Logic Control) system and the remote-control panels. The ride sequence has a total of 15 zones, each of which has a different sound source including background music, and ducking for the ride operator's microphone, safety announcements and live DJ.

Bose amps and speakers are installed throughout the ride, and the iDR switch is used to turn on the amplifiers via their in-built control facility. Using the iDR switch for this function means that a total system shutdown—or re-boot in the morning—can be achieved from pushing one button on a remote panel, which recalls a dedicated shut-down/startup setting on the iDR-8 mixer.

Yeo concludes, "I'm particularly pleased with a new feature of the iDR, which has really helped make this installation a success. For most leisure park installations, all the sound sources are playback and output levels are completely controllable, but the introduction of a live DJ on the Stealth ride added another facet to the audio programming. Thankfully, the iDR programmable software has a new feature, which monitors and limits input levels via the tally output so if the ride operator's mic is too high, it can be automatically reduced and a real-time indication relayed to the remote panel to show the operator the microphone's input level."

For more information on the system, visit www.allen-heath.com.