RG Jones Sound Engineering demonstrated the versatility of their custom Martin Audio AM Series distributed stadium system when Wimbledonâ€™s Center Courtâ€™s new retractable roof received its inauguration during a TV spectacular this month.
A packed crowd assembled to see a display of exhibition tennis, and songs by leading artists such as Katherine Jenkins, Faryl Smith and the four-man classical/pop group Blake. Jenkins and Smith performed â€œAmazing Graceâ€? as the opening number to coincide with the roof inching its way across to full cover position for the very first time, ensuring the end of rain delays during the latter stages of the tournament. RG Jones worked with the production company 360 Events to stage the production, broadcast live on BBC2.
RG Jonesâ€™ Tim Speight, who managed the installation for The All England Lawn Tennis Club jointly with Jon Berry, explained, â€œWhen the requirements of this system were first set out three years ago, it was specified for a speech-only system. We were told that music events would never be staged there. But the sound on Sunday was magnificent right across the dynamic rangeâ€?.
Project engineer Steve Carrâ€™s team stacked four additional pairs of Martin Audioâ€™s WLX subs in each corner, under the two-way AM10 mid-high roof, to boost the low end. â€œThe Club hierarchy all attended the first sound check,â€? Carr recounted, â€œwhich was quite nerve-racking, since it was the first time the system had been used; but their reaction couldnâ€™t have been more complimentary.
â€œFor a 100V line distributed system it sounded unbelievable; from the speech intelligibility at court side, to the huge vocal range of Katherine Jenkins. It all sounded fantastic.â€?
Carr mixed the show from courtside on a 32-channel Yamaha LS9, taking VT play-ins and sending splits to the BBC OB trucks from a 360 Systems Instant Replay broadcast quality playback machine. Katherine Jenkins and Faryl Smith had their sound mixed by Dick Rabel, who also provided Audio Technica mics. Some of the performers were on IEM and presenter Sue Barker used a Sennheiser radio mic with an Omni capsule.
Martin Audioâ€™s EASE expert, Peter Child, had provided the modelling data after specifying a system with front and rear facing color-matched loudspeakers that offered uniform coverage and exceptional intelligibility.
Concluded Carr: â€œWith the need to work around lighting, it was surprising just how much change was required in resetting the loudspeaker positions. However, it was all relatively straightforward and came well within the specification.â€?
The real test of the system, he says, will come during the Wimbledon Fortnight.
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