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News in pictures 24 August 2011

Iceland’s new cultural hub relies on Ateis; Supernova graces Singapore skyline; UK breakfast TV wakes up to Selador; Danley hits that perfect beat

The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland is a mammoth feat of architecture and acoustic design, combining a world-class music venue with meeting and presentation facilities inside a striking, asymmetrical glass facade. Keeping people informed and safe is important in any building but particularly for one the size of the Harpa, so an Ateis public address and voice alarm system is playing a crucial background role in the installation.

Work began on the Harpa in January 2007 but the project’s future looked uncertain when Iceland’s financial crisis began to bite. The Icelandic government stepped in to fund the building work, which was completed in time for the opening concerts on 4 and 5 May by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, which, with Icelandic Opera, is resident at the venue.

The Harpa Concert Hall is divided into 27 zones, with Ateis equipment installed into the public and staff areas by ADS, which was commissioned by main security contractors Ark Security to design, configure and build the system.

Audio Design Services selected seven LAPg2 DSP audio network processors, supported by 12 IDA4 VA units in six 43U racks and 16 SPA 2480 100v amplifiers. The IDA4s each have five inputs and four zone outputs and can be built up into a full voice alarm system. The individual units feature digital message storage and 99 programmable priority levels. The LAPg2 features pre-amplifiers, compressor-limiters and equalization. It can be used for both background music and pre-recorded announcements, with an integral message player-storage system capability of holding 30 minutes of material.

Ong Radio International has overseen the AV integration at a prime apartment in the bustling business district of East Singapore. The client wanted the biggest sized screen appropriate to the room and Ong has opted for a dnp Supernova Core front projection screen. The custom-built 110-inch screen offers excellent brightness and ultra-high contrast, detail and definition.

A McIntosh MX150 with Room Perfect technology delivers well-balanced sound; semi-column speakers were preferred to point source speakers.

The main source for the system is a media server, backed up by a tuner and a High Definition cable set-top box. The client selects operation via a universal landscape touch screen control.

When Daybreak, a UK TV breakfast show, was launching at the end of last year, it wanted to do so with a flourish. Not only did the station spend a great deal of money enticing stars from other channels, but they knew the studio needed to look great.

The studio, on the south bank of London’s River Thames, would have windows on three sides, and be facing the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral. In winter time, when it first comes on air at 6am, it’ll be dark, with it gradually getting brighter until there would potentially be full sunlight streaming through the windows by the end of the programme at 9:25.

Lighting director Matt Carter looked to technology to solve the lighting problems that presented. Employing Stage Electrics, he first had £130,000 worth of dimmable 2.5m high glass windows installed, which, when attached to an ETC Paradigm control system, automatically varies the ambient light levels.

ETC’s Selador Vivid-R LED fixture outperformed a traditional 1.2k HMI lamp in a studio test. “We ended up installing around 70 Selador fixtures, comprising about 95% of our rig,” explains Carter. “We only use the tungsten for when we want something for live music acts, which take place on a small stage at one end of the studio.

“I was given a blank canvas by the producers, who felt that, with a projected life span of 15 years or more, we should only have the very best lighting. The Seladors allow me to mix the incoming natural light with the studio lighting perfectly, and because of the range of colours the fixtures output, we know that the white balance will always be perfect. These were the only lights that we’re aware of that have such impressive brightness and saturation.”

BeatBox is San Francisco’s newest venue for live music, dance parties, performances, art exhibits, meetings, and community events. Its creators demanded audiophile quality sound that other clubs couldn’t match and have opted for Danley gear. Indeed, BeatBox is the first club on the West Coast to feature Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers.

After careful consideration of the exact dimensions of BeatBox, Matt Long, principal of AV integration firm Sonic Sustenance, installed four Danley SH-60 full-range loudspeakers and four Danley TH-118 subwoofers. The boxes move with the stage and deliver stereo sound with crystal clear imaging. On each side of the stage, paired SH-60s deliver a combined 120-degrees of coverage horizontally and 60-degrees of coverage vertically. Depending on the stage orientation, the subwoofers either combine as a mono cluster or split for a true stereo signal top to bottom. Powersoft amplifiers with integrated DSP and network accessibility serve as a front-end for the system.