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Warwick Arts Centre venue receives AV overhaul

Paddy Baker 4 May 2010
Warwick Arts Centre venue receives AV overhaul

The Butterworth Hall – a key part of the Warwick Arts Centre, UK – was equipped with new AV technology and cabling by integrator Northern Light. As part of a £6.9 million redevelopment of the 1,500-seat concert hall, Northern Light – under the project management of David Vandepeear – fitted a new dimming rack and Soundcraft Si3 64-input digital console, among other equipment.

Largely funded by the University of Warwick and supported by trusts and foundations, the overall venue upgrade also encompassed the replacement of flooring and seating, the creation of new wheelchair access and rehearsal spaces, and the installation of new acoustic panelling that allows amplified bands to operate in ‘soft’ mode and unamplified orchestras to perform in ‘hard’ mode.

In a further continuation of a long history with the Soundcraft brand that has already seen the venue purchase two MH3s (one 32-channel, one 24) and a roving SM12 for use across the site, the Warwick Arts Centre now has a Soundcraft Si3 in the Butterworth Hall. The need for a digital/analogue hybrid console with discreet I/Os was among the factors behind the choice of the Si3, which is located in the control room above the retractable bleacher seating.

In addition to undertaking a thorough online search for the right system, technical director Howard Potts and his team also "had conversations with visiting engineers and […] looked at riders to see the equipment people are most happy with. In this industry brand matters – and Soundcraft is a good, recognisable brand."

Since the Si3 uses a combination of rotary encoders and OLED screens on every channel, the engineer mixes at source without recourse to a central screen. Stage monitoring requirements are minimal, and at the Butterworth they will either send monitor mixes from the FOH desk or move one of their other Soundcraft desks into position if required.

Northern Light’s work on the project also entailed the installation of multi-core, patchbay and tie lines as part of a new cabling infrastructure – the principal aim of which, noted Vandepeear, was "to ensure future-proofing. It needed to be flexible enough to cope with any potential expansions within the venue, and with this in mind we included additional cabling and multiple points to ensure any future developments can be carried out more easily."

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