For a state-owned venue, making a major investment in new equipment can involve a long consultation process. However, at a theatre in the southern Swedish city of Borås, this proved well worth the wait with an Alcons LR7 pro-ribbon system transforming the sound of its productions.
Founded in 1964, Borås Stadsteater is a state-owned production house which moved to its current home in 1975. A typical 1970s-esque provincial venue, the 500-capacity main auditorium features raked seating and a balcony. By 2016 the ageing PA system had become too small and outdated to meet the demands of modern audiences, so the management team worked with the local authority to find a solution. They contacted leading systems integrator Electrosound, who visited the venue and suggested the Alcons LR7 system.
“We invited staff from the theatre to listen to the LR7 and then we did a demonstration in the venue,” says Electrosound’s Brollan Söderström. “There was no doubt, they immediately said it was the system they wanted!” “Several summers ago Electrosound supplied a small LR7 rig for a local venue. I helped set up the PA and was absolutely blown away by the sound quality and the clarity and precision of the panning and stereo width,” says Borås Stadsteater’s Sound Sanager Tobias Walka. “When the investment for the Stadsteater audio upgrade came through, we tried out the LR7 with the existing subs and instantly fell in love. There was no doubt that this was the system for us!”
Once the technical specification for the project was agreed, Gothenburg-based DAV Partner won a competitive tender process to supply the equipment.
The Alcons system includes two main hangs of eight LR7/90 and two LR7B each, four ground-stacked BF181 Mk2 single 18-inch subs and a centre cluster of six LR7/120. Four SR9 (double 5-inch LF + RBN401) were installed for frontfills, plus three VR8 (8-inch LF + RBN401) compact monitors for balcony delays and four more SR9 for under-balcony coverage. In addition, 14 CCS8 (8-inch coax) were installed for surround sound, with the whole system controlled by Sentinel3 and Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
The surround loudspeakers are mainly used for theatre special effects, but the system can be used for showing movies, if required. Therefore, the versatile LR7 system is ideal for medium-sized venues, featuring the RBN401 pro-ribbon HF driver and a 6.5-inch LF driver in a micro-sized design. This delivers exceptional intelligibility, SPL and seamless coverage, but also ensures minimal impact on sightlines and is very easy to handle. Thanks to the pro-ribbon’s all-natural cylindrical (Isophasic) wavefront and a ‘Morpher’ lens, LR7 delivers 120° dispersion, up to 94% frontal radiation and maximum gain-before-feedback up to directly under the array.
“Thanks to the size and weight of the speakers, rigging the system was very straightforward,” says Tobias. “After some prediction in Ease Focus, it took less than an hour to hang the entire PA. Setting up the amps is also very easy, as there are presets for all the speaker models, including the number of boxes, spread, etc.” “Acoustically it is a good room but the quality of the Alcons loudspeakers has really improved the sound of events,” says Brollan. “Thanks to the pro-ribbon technology, everything just sounds fantastic. Mixing with the system is a walk in the park and the EQ can be used to make ‘musical’ adjustments rather than using it to correct problems caused by the loudspeakers.
“Because it is a state-owned venue, it was a long process to get the funds and permission to invest in a new system. But the management now has a dream system and they are very happy!” “The sound quality I experienced with the small LR7 system became all the more prominent when installed in a more controlled environment, while the larger scale of the system gave it a lot more muscle,” adds Tobias. “It’s beefy, very clear and in your face. The perceived sound-to-size ratio is absolutely staggering.
Tobias concluded, “We premiered the system with the musical, Cabaret and it was instantly obvious that we had made a wise choice. Working with lavalier mics through the Alcons system is an absolute dream as they possess a clear and natural sound. Even at low volumes it sounds so natural you’re not sure if the sound is reinforced or not. We couldn’t be happier with the system, or with all the support from Brollan at Electrosound.”