The Norsk Film Institute (NFI) in Oslo has installed the first of Alcons's new Cinema Ribbon Monitor Systems (CRMS). High-quality AV capabilities are a must for the NFI, which hosts more than 2,000 annual screenings - roughly half of which are previews of major international releases for press and cinema owners.
The new project centred upon the 68-capacity Lillebil Room. "The sound has to be fantastic because of the status of the NFI," said the facility's Jan Olsen. "I had been aware of the Alcons pro-ribbon technology for some time and was eager to try something unconventional in the Lillebil Room. We always want to improve our equipment, and I was looking for a system that could easily handle current and future challenges of film sound, such as uncompressed sound from digital cinema packages."
Following feedback from consultant Torkell Saetervadet, Olsen chose a CRMS configuration of three front channels and 12 surround cabinets, powered and controlled by Alcons ALC power amps, with a Sony DFP3000 processor for analogue sound and SDDS playback, a Dolby DA20 processor for SRDigital and a Yamaha DME64 as central digital processor. Each CRMS system comprises a mid-high section (CRMStop), featuring one RBN401 pro-ribbon high-frequency driver with non-vented 8in mid-driver and a separate low frequency 15in section (CRMSsub). The mid-high unit is specifically designed to act both as the mid-high section for the main/front system and as a full-range surround system. This design, says Alcons, results in a very uniform sound stage throughout the entire listening area.
Highlighting the system's "clarity" and "very open sound", Olsen added that the feedback from audiences had been "very good. We now run every feature film on 0.0 (SDDS) or 7.0 (Dolby), and no one thinks it is too loud any more. On our previous system, we often had to reduce the volume by between -2dB and -6dB, because it was unpleasant and distorted. But however loud the soundtrack is with the CRMS, it never sounds stressed."
Alcons Audio's MD, Tom Back, told Installation Europe: "The NFI is quite a significant install, right after the introduction of the CRMS system. We designed the system to have the best cinema sound experience possible, with highest dynamic range, lowest distortion and without any compression. Good to hear Jan and his team are utilising it to its full extent.
"There are a number of other reference installs underway, as more and more cinema exhibitors, studio engineers and home theatre enthusiasts are discovering the Alcons advantage in digital cinema experience."