Tromsø’s KulturHuset Chooses Alcons LR18

Acoustic problems are not limited to historic venues, many modern concert halls still experience issues with reverb or frequencies that can be difficult to eliminate. But an Alcons Audio pro-ribbon system has made a major difference to the main live venue in Tromsø, Norway.

Owned by the municipality of Tromsø, KulturHuset opened in 1984 and is used for a wide range of productions including opera, theatre, stand-up comedy, rock, pop and classical concerts. It also shows films during the Tromsø International Film Festival. The main auditorium can accommodate a seated audience of 620, or 1200 with the seats removed.

The main auditorium’s existing PA had been in place for over 10 years and the theatre felt that it was time to modernise and embrace the latest technology to help minimise a problem with bass reverberation. “Sound quality was of course one of the most important considerations, a new system had to deliver equally high quality audio for all the varied types of production that we host,” says KulturHuset stage manager John Bekkelund. “The difficult acoustic characteristics also meant that we were looking for a system that was at the cutting edge of current technology.”

John and the team looked at a number of options, finally settling on the Alcons LR18 compact mid-size line-array, to be supplied by local installation specialists Lydproduksjon Tromsø AS. The LR18 is a high performance, three-way line array system for medium to larger applications, featuring a purpose-designed RBN702rs seven-inch pro-ribbon transducer, with a midrange section featuring a high-efficiency 6.5-inch transducer and a pair of 8-inch, extended excursion, reflex-loaded woofers. The 90º (h) x 10º (v) horizontal dispersion is maintained up to the highest frequencies, with perfect intelligibility and non-compressed identical tonal balance at any SPL.

“While we were looking at different systems, we also noted that in recent years Alcons Audio has appeared on the technical riders for several of Norway’s biggest artists. This was an obvious signal of satisfaction from end users which helped us to make the choice,” John adds. “Alcons is at the forefront of technology in professional audio systems. Over the past three years we’ve installed Alcons systems in several different venues and the number of positive comments has been formidable. So we were completely confident that the LR18 was the perfect solution for KulturHuset,” says Lydproduksjon Tromsø’s Torje Helland Graff.

The LR18 system was designed by the company’s Arild Johnsen and consists of 16 LR18 with four BF362 MkII high output subwoofers. It also includes three SR9 ultra-compact in-fill monitors as frontfills. The main array is divided into three zones on each side, to get the best results, while the frontfill array is divided into two zones, time aligned with the main system. The four subs are arranged in an ‘end fire’ configuration because the venue has an issue with sub frequencies onstage, making it difficult to define the low end sound for both the audience and artists on stage. The end fire solution delivers the smoothest frequency division and best possible reverberation control.

The system is powered by five Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers. Also installed was an Apex Intelli X-48 loudspeaker processor and a BSS London processor for distributing sound to FM induction loops, a ‘listen in’ and other areas. Once the system had been installed and optimised by Arild, the KulturHuset staff immediately knew that they had made the right choice.

“The coverage, clarity and distinct HF response of the LR18 system is absolutely ideal for the space,” says John Bekkelund. “The system design and the extremely high damping factor of the amplifiers has also solved the old bass frequency reverberation problems.”

“Today most audio manufacturers create good systems, but after the demonstration by Alcons and Lydproduksjon Tromsø, we knew it would be unnatural to choose anything other than LR18,” concludes KulturHuset sound engineer Jack Espen Williamsen.