An integral hub of activity on the school campus, the multi-purpose space is a former barn, originally converted into a venue during the 1950s. The building is in constant dailyuse, not just for stage plays, dance and drama shows, bands and live music, but also for lectures and presentations.
It features a very distinctive hydraulic floor, which can be raised up to transform the flat floor space into a raked seated auditorium, which immediately changes the point of focus for sound and all the related acoustic characteristics of the space.
The time had come for the former sound system – installed about seven years ago – to be replaced with something more flexible and modern, like a line array, that was better suited to a dynamic space.
Joe Hilton, Downe House’s Head of Technical, approached Peter Butler, sales manager for the A.C. Audio division. His main requirement was for a system that would allow the bottom down-fills in the main speaker hangs to be cut when the floor was up, and provide a generally more adaptable set up for the building that didn’t need re-rigging each time the layout of the space was changed. Peter recommended that he listen to the Nexo Geo S805 compact, high output line array system.
The sale was co-ordinated for AC-ET by Glen Thompson from AC-ET’s High Wycombe HQ, who worked closely with Nexo’s UK sales manager Gareth Collyer in putting the specification together. They acoustically modelled the space using Nexo’s NS1 software, mapping the optimum positions and trajectories for all the necessary speakers to give smooth, even, high clarity coverage, and worked out the best system for the room.
8x Nexo GEO S805 and 2x S830s were supplied, flown in left and right arrays of 4+1, together with 4x CD12-P hyper-cardiod (directional) subs which are flown upstage of the main arrays to prevent back-spill onto the stage.
These are all powered and processed (EQ & time aligned) through Nexo NXAMP 4X4 Powered TD controllers. The package from AC-ET also included tour grade cabling and all the necessary flying hardware. It was installed by Joe and his full time Downe House technical team of four, a task that was “A doddle with the NX amps” confirms Joe.
Joe is delighted with the results! Gone are the days of having to re-rig speakers every time the room changes configuration, and there has also been a massive improvement in the general sound quality since the introduction of the NEXO system.
The first major event using the new system in the Performing Arts Centre was the House Drama Event. Each of the five Houses in the school stage their own drama production over the course of a single day, all to sold out audiences, so nearly 3,000 audience members pass through the venue in the day, with about 500 of the girls involved in the stage performances.
“It lifted the whole room sound and made a real difference” enthuses Joe, adding that theatre productions is one of the trickiest areas of sound to get right, but he now has plenty of headroom to achieve this and also needs no delays – another improvement from the old set up.
“The Nexo is absolutely doing the job I asked” he states, noting that Gareth from Nexo has been happy to help with after-sales and a “joy to work with”.
For more information from AC-ET direct, please contact:
A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd.
+44 (0)1494 446000