The Uri Theatre in the historic Swiss town of Altdorf was built in 1865 and served as a community hall until 1924, after which it was expanded to its present size as the Tellspielhaus. The town is most famous for being the place, according to legend, where William Tell shot the apple from his son’s head. In 1999 the venue became the property of the Altdorf community and now stages a host of diverse and attractive cultural events, as well as being deployed as a multi-purpose venue for presentations, conferences and seminars. As the largest cultural site in the canton of Uri, the venue is becoming a notable part of the wider Swiss cultural scene.
As the Uri Theatre has expanded its remit, its technical requirements have become an important consideration. The Forum that runs the Theatre recently decided to invest in a new audio system, and used the break in performances enforced by the Coronavirus pandemic to complete the work. The Theatre’s Technical Director consulted with specialists from CODA Audio’s Swiss distributor Schallwerk, who recommended a CODA Audio APS (Arrayable Point Source) system, which in its view would cater for the widest possible range of application, as well as address the venue’s different configurations. The Technical Director then worked closely with Schallwerk on the final design of the system, which was installed by a local integrator.
As is typical of many such period halls, the main auditorium has a natural reverb which works well for most acoustic content, but can present problems for amplified audio, which struggles with the reflections. Controlling directivity is therefore crucial to locating the audio correctly. There are actually two halls at the Uri, the main Uri Hall has a capacity of 420, whilst behind it, is the smaller Altdorf Hall. The two halls can be combined to give a total capacity of 660 seats. This overlap of use was carefully taken into account in the design, which centred on the CODA Audio APS system with supplementary HOPS5 units.
A dividing wall between the two halls is closed when the main hall is in use as a single sector. This acts as an acoustic mirror, requiring that it does not receive sound direct from the PA. By the same token, when the wall is raised to allow use of the larger space, the PA must face through to reach the back row of the second sector at a distance of some 35m. The team concluded that a line array would be unsuitable, since its curvature would need to be constantly adjusted on a day by day basis depending on the programme, and instead chose CODA’s APS (Arrayable Point Source) system.
The main system comprises 3 APS plus 1 APS-SUB per side. The uppermost unit of each cluster covers the area behind the dividing wall and can be easily switched on or off with minimal effect on the frequency range if that area is not in use. The 3 APS cluster easily covers the entirety of the hall whatever configuration is in use, without the need for delays (which had been required in the past). Horizontal coverage was also important. All three APS open 30° to the outside to reduce, as far as possible, reflection from the side walls, whilst to the inside the upper two open 30°, with the lower one open to 45° to ensure optimal coverage for the front rows. If required, the 6 APS can also be used in pairs as a L,C,R configuration when the dividing wall is closed. The system was completed with 5 x HOPS5 acting as frontfills (L,C,R) and 2 as sidefills, which work with all configurations.
The compact size of the units also made them attractive from a visual standpoint, with no significant effect of the field of view. The system is easy to dismantle and re-hang, so is easy to use for other applications such as small ‘on-stage’ shows where it can even be ground-stacked, demonstrating just how flexible the Uri Theatre’s new CODA APS system can be.
CODA Audio’s Director of Global Marketing David Webster commented: “Schallwerk has successfully deployed CODA systems for a growing number of fixed installation and live events in Switzerland. The company’s expertise and thorough understanding of our range is perfectly demonstrated in the Uri Theatre install, where APS was the perfect choice to overcome the quirky nature of the spaces. The installation of the system during the pandemic is a true indicator of confidence in the fact that when live shows return to the venue, every member of the audience will be treated to the same powerful, crystal clear sound.”