Rugby Theatre in Warwickshire is an amateur company which produces ten shows annually to highly professional standards, providing live entertainment almost 50 weeks of the year as well as screening the latest films. Staffed and run entirely by volunteers, their own productions include drama, farce, musicals and theatrical classics while visiting performers and productions feature brass bands, children’s dance, opera and celebrity speakers.
Autograph Sales & Installations were approached by the theatre to determine why the vocal clarity and intelligibility in their venue was not always up to the high standards achieved by the other elements of their productions. After extensive acoustic testing and A/B comparisons, the theatre commissioned Autograph to supply and install a completely new sound system based on EM Acoustics loudspeakers as well as a new digital console and a selection of microphones.
At the core of the new sound system is a suite of loudspeakers from EM Acoustics’ ubiquitous EMS Series, comprising a pair of EMS-126 2-way passive full range speakers which cover the Stalls, three compact EMS-81s for the Circle and two ultra-compact EMS-51s as front fills. Low frequencies are reproduced by a pair of EMS-115C subwoofers and the entire system is powered and digitally processed by just two Lab Gruppen D-Series amplifiers, a 40:4L and an 80:4L respectively.
The theatre’s former AV Group Leader Simon Smith was closely involved in the tender process and remarked, “As an entirely voluntarily run amateur theatre, with no professional staff, Autograph’s knowledge and experience was key to helping us to address significant issues that we were having, particularly around vocal clarity in musicals. One of our principal objectives was to achieve a solution which would allow the theatre to push standards ever closer to professional levels.”
“The first major test of our new system was during our October production of the musical Jekyll and Hyde,” added Luke McMaster who has recently assumed Simon’s role. “As soon as the band fired up for the first time we could immediately hear the difference. The overall mix was stunning, and any instrument could be picked out by ear during any number, a vast improvement on our previous system.”
“The new digital desk gave us the flexibility and processing ability we required when we needed to add vocals to the mix, but the biggest improvement came when it was wound up to show volumes with a full house audience. Especially at higher volumes, when the previous system would have merged into an incoherent mess, the vocals were still crystal clear even in the big chorus numbers. The EM Acoustics loudspeaker system performed magnificently and did us all proud.”
Luke concluded, “A big thank you to Adam from Autograph, whose input and expertise during the tech rehearsals was very insightful in giving us some tips and tricks in order to get the best out of our system, all while making a few tweaks to the setup to ensure it’s working at its best. The new system is a vast step up in quality and will allow us as a theatre to further develop and improve our skills as well as hit those high production values that we strive for.”