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Orbital Fits Out Battersea Arts Centre

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Orbital Sound has supplied a new sound system for London's Battersea Arts Centre, based on the T-Series loudspeakers from d&b audiotechnik.
Housed in a 19th century listed building, formerly Battersea Town Hall, the venue has a range of performance spaces, offering audience capacities ranging from 10 to 500.
The system's capabilities were recently tested by Little Bulb Theatre's Orpheus, which featured a live score ranging from jazz to grand opera.
The new system is designed for semi-permanent installation in the venue's main room, as well as allowing deployment in other spaces, and comprises a central hang of seven d&b audiotechnik T-10 enclosures, plus two ground-stacked d&b E15X-SUBs, per side.
The installation forms part of a restoration and refurbishment programme, which includes improvements to the venue's technical infrastructure, as well as work on key architectural features such as its octagonal glass dome.
Philip Bentley, Technical Manager at Battersea Arts Centre, explained: "We researched various options before making our decision, but it was the sheer flexibility and scalability of the T-Series that won the day, in addition to its sound quality. Overall, going the d&b route with the T-10 system gave us more control than with the other systems we compared - the design's inherent line-array and point-source options simply offered us a lot more for our money.
"We can use the new loudspeakers in an array format, or divide them up into smaller point-source systems, enabling us to cover simultaneous events in a number of rooms. For example, we had to set up the Council Chamber in a 150-seat cinema configuration recently, and were able to use five of the T-10s per side in L&R hangs, with two of the subs. This left the remaining units as a point-source system in the Grand Hall, ready for other events. This degree of deployment flexibility is key to our longer-term planning, as it gives us the facility to expand our complement of T-Series in affordable stages, safe in the knowledge that the system components are inter-compatible, and can therefore be used around our building in multiple permutations and combinations.
"The products are small and relatively lightweight, and are therefore easy to rig, while being unobtrusive in our smaller rooms – an important point given the historic nature of our site and its architecture. We strive to make our venue as welcoming an environment as possible, and that ethos is now reflected in our technical equipment as much as in the building itself."
Sound designer Ed Clarke was responsible for the design of Little Bulb Theatre's Orpheus, employing every aspect of the new system to achieve the critically acclaimed results.
He commented: "Orpheus was a deceptively complex piece of theatre – a seven-piece band, eight actors using radios, and with the style varying between 1930s Paris Cabaret, grand opera and French romantic classical. And the baroque organ! It was always going to be particularly tricky in the Grand Hall, as the company were using so much of the space - not simply the stage, but also coming down some considerable distance into the auditorium. I needed a system that would cope with gentle, unobtrusive vocal reinforcement, as well as really quite loud amplification of the organ.
"The d&b T10 system was just perfect for this kind of project – in terms of its audio competence, and in terms of its simplicity and size from the rigging point of view. Either as point-source or arrayed – we used all 14 boxes that Orbital supplied in two arrays for Orpheus – the real star feature of the T10 is its controllability. In a big space like the Grand Hall you need a system that's going to do what you expect it to do right out of the box. It has a transparency that allows reinforcement, as opposed to amplification, to work particularly well. The show received a number of notices commenting on the 'earth-shaking' sound of the organ – we kept it quiet that the sound was mostly invented behind the sound desk, and that the earth-shaking result was largely due to those 4 EX-15s!"

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