NEXO’s new GEO M10 mid-size line array system is contributing to the renaissance of one of Panama’s oldest and most famous buildings. The National Theatre in Panama City’s historic district has been completely refurbished, and consultants Theatre Projects have specified an all-NEXO/Yamaha audio system for its auditorium.
The National Theatre of Panama opened its doors in 1908, and enjoyed fame as a glamorous destination for the city’s elite but it gradually fell into disrepair. A chequered history followed through the twentieth century, but the City has now completed a full restoration, including structural enhancements to the stage and to allow the accommodation of modern orchestras, as well as new lighting, comms and camera technology. At the heart of the multi-level auditorium is a new NEXO line array, which has been carefully installed with respect to the original ceiling frescoes.
The theatre can accommodate 853 people, distributed through amphitheatre, stalls, two floors of balconies, an orchestra pit and a gallery. Theatre Projects was appointed as the consultancy for the audio installation, which was executed by Doctor Audio Panama, headed by Giulio Jiménez, making extensive use of NEXO’s proprietary NS-1 prediction and modelling software and the expertise of NEXO’s in-house Engineering Support team, particularly Roberto Tschopp.
The ceiling of the theatre has an immense fresco painted by Panamanian artist Roberto Lewis. Such historic features of the Theatre’s interior did restrict the system designers in terms of rigging and loudspeaker placement. Theatre Projects had to devise ways in which the main loudspeaker hangs could be supported from the side, but the heavier subwoofers could not be flown, and are instead spread amongst the technical galleries, where they are hidden from view. These architectural constraints also dictated the positioning of some of the smaller delay clusters.
The main system consists of main left and right arrays, each with 4x GEO M1012 modules, supplemented by 6x MSUB15 subbass cabinets. Three different NEXO models have been used to provide fills for the tiered balconies: GEO M1025 for the top level, ID24 compact point-source cabinets for the balconies closest to the stage, and PS10 speakers for the forward rows in the stalls. Additional M10 cabinets are used for left and right sidefill.
All speakers are powered by NXAMP4x2Mk2 amplifiers, running Dante in a redundant network. The system is mixed at front-of-house by a Yamaha CL5: stage monitoring uses Yamaha DXR powered speakers, mixed on another CL5 digital console.
NEXO’s project leader Roberto Tschopp says “the performance of this relatively small GEO M10 system succeeded even our expectations! The headroom is incredible. From the FOH position on the balcony, you can play with the different systems and notice that there is exactly the same high-quality sound in every listener location. Drawing the building in our NS-1 modelling software was a complex task, but it enabled us to predict exactly the optimal positioning and angles of all the fills and delays.”