The Royal Geographical Society (RGS), a centre for geographers and geographical learning, upgrades its 750-capacity seat Ondaatje Theatre with equally prestigious sonic capabilities.
Luciano Figueira, business development manager at the RGS, commented: “When we voted to invest in the theatre revamp, the sound system became our first priority. Most of the events we host are conferences, speeches and lectures, so we needed a solution that would help the speakers deliver their insights and bring the best in audio clarity, regardless of where the audience is seated in the theatre.”
The RGS called upon the expertise of integrator Plus 4 Audio to tackle the brief – and they re-thought the entire sound system for the theatre before selecting the audio equipment.
Luciano added: “While some speakers are gifted or trained orators, others are more comfortable in the middle of the arctic wilderness than in front of an audience, so we needed a solution that would be flexible and efficient enough to help them share their stories and grab the audience from their seat. The audio element of the refurbishment became of paramount importance.”
Understanding the Society’s needs for pristine sound quality and reliability, Plus4Audio opted for APG’s new Uniline Compact range. At the time, the French loudspeaker manufacturer had just introduced its new compact system based on the concept of “Modular Line Array”.
Luciano explained: “We are close to a number of iconic music halls and auditoriums in London, so we asked them who in their opinion would be the best integrator, and Plus4Audio stood out.”
In total, Plus4Audio specified 18 APG Uniline Compact loudspeakers equally split in an LR flown line array configuration. Each line array is made of 8 APG UC206N for the medium/long throw requirements, coupled with 1 APG UC206W speaker (dedicated to the front rows) and 2 APG UC115B bass speakers.
While 14 APG DX5 coaxial loudspeakers complete the installation: two of them act as onstage monitors, three are installed in front fill, while the rest is equally spread across the room both under and above the balcony. Both the line array boxes as well as the DX5 situated below and above the balcony were customised in white in order to integrate perfectly in the environment.
Plus4Audio managing director Stewart Chaney added: “We needed a sound system that would not only be compact and powerful, but precise and flexible enough to perform flawlessly regardless of the circumstances. We needed speakers that could reach every single person in the room”.
The entire system is powered by two APG DA:50 and four DA:15 DSP amplifiers, allowing for various cabling configurations depending on speakers and impedance load. For the front of house, Plus4Audio specified 1 DiGiCo SD9 and 2 DiGiCo 32:16 D Rack, along with a Tascam SS CDR 200 audio recorder. Ten Sennheiser 2000 series radio mics are available for speakers and the audience alike.
Plus4Audio involved the RGS in selecting the right PA system and organised A/B tests onsite. Luciano commented: “The performance was fantastic, and we were most impressed with the bass levels. We first tested the system without any subwoofers and the result was already amazing. A senior representative from APG also took the time to come over, which was most appreciated and gave us further confidence that we were making the right choice.”
Luciano concluded: “It took a few weeks for us to learn to drive this Formula 1 car, but now we are simply flying with it! The sound is perfect; it is exactly what we wanted it to be.”