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Nexo Provides the Perfect Fit for Australia's Oldest Theatre

When Hobart’s Theatre Royal required an overhaul of their existing sound system it was generally acknowledged it would not be an easy task to mix the old (theatre) with the new (audio technologies). That was until Nexo was considered as the serious choice for this historic theatre, not easy, but not impossible. An excellent solution as provided by Tassie’s The Sound Company (TSC).

Built in 1837 and located in Campbell Street, Hobart's Theatre Royal is Australia's oldest functioning theatre and the only Victorian ‘Bijou' style remaining in this country. The space is really quite beautiful, but has the usual pitfalls of a room never designed to have a sound system installed into it. This coupled with a heritage listing made it quite a challenge to design a system that not only performs to today's high standards, but also fits the space aesthetically.

Inside the historic theatre Inside the historic theatre

The theatre has 3 levels and lots of balcony overhang, thus getting the sound across the entire audience is easier said than done. Line arrays are not really suited to theatres of this style as there are too many areas that cannot be covered by the main arrays. Balcony fronts can be terrible for reflections back onto stage and unless the audience doesn't mind looking at a PA, there is no aesthetically ideal position for them. All these factors combined meant there was really only one solution, a distributed system.

The previous sound system design had loudspeakers mounted to the on-stage edge of the proscenium arch. “While I can understand this approach from a design point of view, it's visually unattractive. I just couldn't bring myself to do it (again)”, said GT’s Adam Iuston, who worked closely with TSC on the design and installation of the new system for the historic theatre site. "Our design is based on left and right NEXO PS10s for each of the 3 levels, with a centrally mounted NEXO Geo-S array configured horizontally. Additionally, to cover the areas affected by architectural shadowing of the main loudspeakers, we have installed delay speakers”.

Look carefully to see the Nexo Installation solution Look carefully to see the Nexo Installation solution

There are two Quest HPI218 subs mounted in the pit - these can be relocated when the pit is in use. "We had the same visual problems with subs” said Adam, “We briefly entertained the idea of flying them, but that was vetoed very quickly, so we went for the pit as a compromise and I must admit they are working very well down there". Signal distribution and processing is achieved with NEXO controllers and a Yamaha DME24N processor.

In choosing the Nexo Geo-S, Adam has this to say, “The Geo-S in horizontal mode is fantastic! Three units are joined together to give a very controlled 90H x 80V degree pattern. The fact that the Geo-S array is almost an equal distance from the installed location to the audience areas being covered means there are no major amplitude differences".

Adam Iuston and Tim Munro (Theatre Royal CEO) Adam Iuston and Tim Munro (Theatre Royal CEO)

Theatre Royal CEO, Tim Munro has been extremely pleased with the design and installation saying, “I think the new system has really cleaned up the look of the Theatre and the lighting department are very happy too, the old speaker positions used to play havoc with cross stage shots". Adam adding, "A lot of time was spent modeling this room, I mean when you're installing a PA into a heritage building you don't want to be moving boxes around after you drilled a hole in a wall - this applies especially to cabling. It pays to take a little more time with EASE predictions prior to installation".

The EASE Prediction The EASE Prediction

Overall the system has been extremely well-received by all the stakeholders in the theatre and praise has come from all who use the system, including the Sound Designer for The Bell Shakespeare Company stating, “(This is) the best theatre sound system in the country”.

The install comprised:

  • 6 x NEXO PS10
  • 3 x NEXO Geo-S 830 (Horizontal array)
  • 2 x Quest HPI-218s
  • 1 x NEXO NX242
  • 3 x NEXO PS10TD
  • 3 x CAMCO Tecton 38.4
  • 2 x CAMCO v3 Quaddro
  • 1x Yamaha DME24N
  • 14 x Delay Speakers

Discover more:

Nexo Geo-S
Nexo PS-Series
Camco Tecton

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