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First UK live music venue install for L-Acoustics’ KARAi

The project was undertaken by ADLIB’s specialist installations division at new Leeds University venue Stylus – a 1,000-capacity facility located beneath the refectory made famous by The Who's Live At Leeds.

The landmark project was undertaken by UK-based ADLIB’s specialist installations division at new Leeds University venue Stylus – a 1,000-capacity facility located beneath the famous refectory that played host to The Who’s celebrated 1970 concert, captured on that year’s Live At Leeds LP.

Refurbished from its previous incarnation, Stylus required a sound system upgrade that would allow Leeds University Students’ Union to stage a wide variety of events. Ultimately, the versatility and quality of the L-Acoustics KARAi system won out. Selected elements of the original system were also employed, while the pre-existing Martin Blackline system was converted into a new portable system for use by the Union as and when required.

Featuring six KARAis per side, the new system is flown above Stylus’s existing lighting rig box truss. To aid the KARAi’s HF patterns in being fully effective for the room, the flying points had to be positioned extremely carefully. ADLIB also provided a low-profile solution to optimise the arrays due to the limited headroom, resulting in the ADLIB installations team adding 4 x 3m sections of Prolyte truss, plus all the essential rigging.

The new deployment also features two L-Acoustics 12XTis for centre-stage down-fill; four EV Delta Max speakers have been retained from the original system to cover the higher floor level positions. A total of 10 SB18i subs – configured as five stacks and located below the front line of the musicians’ feet in a live band stage set-up – along with LA8 amplifiers and LA Network Manager round out the L-Acoustics specification.

The venue’s existing BSS 9088 Soundweb units are used as a multi-room audio matrix across all the Union venues, so each room’s DJ, FOH console, Aux Monitors and other sources are fed into this network.

A new BSS Blue 160 Soundweb and BSS Blue 10 remote in the amp rack provide system control and management, allowing sources to be selected and levels to be set for full flexibility. The Soundweb can also be operated via a PC by the FOH system engineers.

For monitors, ADLIB supplied 12 of its own low-profile MP3 15-inch bi-amped active wedges, along with an AA215 drum fill (another ADLIB product) and two 4-send bi-amped monitor racks to drive the twelve MP3s, which are powered with Crown XTi1000 amps for the highs and Crown XTi6002s for the low frequency drivers. Five BSS Mini Drive 334T crossovers were provided for the monitor system, configured for eight bi-amp MP3 wedge monitor sends plus drum sub.

Monitors are operated via the existing Midas XL3 front of house console, with a dedicated monitor console hired in as required.

Technical manager Ryan Esson – who co-ordinated the installation for the Union – said that he “had lots of confidence in ADLIB right from the outset, and as it has all unfolded have built up a really good rapport with Roger (Kirby) and John (Hughes) over the last year. Great communication skills as well as the ability to design and install a fantastic-sounding system were also key reasons that ADLIB was chosen as a partner!”

Image: Deana Kay