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Martin Audio Fills Comic Entertainments With Glee

––Pacific Sound & Light’s Challenging Flagship Venue Installation––

Having provided technical infrastructures for three other Glee Clubs around the country, Paul Duffy’s Pacific Sound & Light faced their toughest challenge yet masterminding the new flagship venue, set in a former Jongleurs in Nottingham’s historic British Waterways Building.

Owned by Mark Tughan’s Comic Enterprises, these hybrid theatres host a diverse program of entertainment––from comedy to eclectic folk and emerging and established artists. But it was the enormous width and narrow depth of Nottingham’s main theater, complemented by a ‘letterbox’ balcony with raked seating and difficult sightlines that provided the real challenge.

Pacific needed to source a sound system that would give even venue coverage across the frequency range — whoever was performing on stage. Having provided problem-free Martin Audio solutions to Comic Enterprises for the past ten years, the British manufacturer again became Paul Duffy’s first port of call. “After using

EMs in the early days and later Blackline, we were introduced to the new W8VDQ hybrid,� explained Duffy.

After attending a demonstration at Martin Audio’s High Wycombe HQ he knew he had found his solution. Combining line array and differential dispersion technologies to provide an advanced solution to provide even coverage over wide angles and throw distances, the system was designed for an awkward shaped venue such as this.

The short throw horizontal dispersion is 120º, narrowing to 100º as throw increases. Comic Enterprises’ artistic director Alistair Cunningham had requested high-end sound reinforcement with the emphasis on speech intelligibility; and Paul Duffy’s concern was to provide rider-friendly components while being further hampered by the existing steels and infrastructure within a Grade II-listed building. Martin Audio lent technical support in the form of Al Brown and the room measurements were taken and dispersion characteristics duly formulated.

“The sound needed to be very focused,� stated Duffy. “We stripped out the old Jongleurs system and set out to replace lots of speakers on delays with a single point source; the wide dispersion characteristics of the VDQ fitted the bill perfectly.� A total of nine W8VDQ’s were commandeered — a pair each mounted to the steel stanchions in the main space, left and right of stage (one front facing the other for outfills).

Meanwhile, up on the roof a classic L/C/R design, with the enclosures flown from the steel joists, fires deep into the balcony. A pair of Martin Audio WS218X subs is provided to add low-end extension — and these can be relocated to the second room as necessary, since the VDQ’s are quite capable of reinforcing the full vocal range for speech without further assistance. The remaining pair of W8VDQ’s are used, front-facing, down in the smaller first floor room, with outfills provided by a pair of Martin Audio AQ8’s. A dedicated DX2 system controller processes and optimizes the main theatre sound, and a DX1.5 does likewise in the smaller room, while artists benefit from six of Martin Audio’s low-profile LE1200’s for their reference sound.

To complete the Martin Audio inventory, Pacific Sound & Light specified Martin Audio MA6.8Q and MA4.8Q amplifiers to drive the primary systems. As such, the two venues can operate independently and in isolation, at the same time benefitting from portable kit and the flexibility of a CAT 5 cabling infrastructure. Pacific Sound & Light have also handled the lighting, favoring LED fresnels, color bars and house lights, all run off an Avolites Pearl Tiger.

The new Glee Club now has capacity for 450 seated (700 standing) in the main theatre and 250 seated (350 standing) in the second room. The sound system installation was masterminded by Matt Trigg and the venue’s production manager Jon Nash says, “Pacific have angled the enclosures perfectly — particularly in the way they have managed to cover the first two rows of the balcony, where the sightlines are undisturbed.� And Paul Duffy concluded, “The owners have always been happy with Martin Audio — which consistently exceeds their expectations.�

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