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EM Acoustics system upgrades historic performance space

The main performance space at Dorking Halls in Surrey has been fitted with an EM Acoustics HALO-C system, supplied and commissioned by Autograph Sales & Installations.

Opened in 1931, the inter-war facade of the Halls conceals a contemporary entertainment and conference complex in which three separate spaces host live music, cinema, corporate events, comedy and theatrical productions throughout the year.

The new system resides in the main hall, which has a capacity of 791 seated, rising to over 1,000 when part-standing. Comprising 22 HALO-C compact line-array elements plus a single MSE-218 subwoofer per side and four EMS-61 modules, the entire system is powered and processed by just two EM Acoustics DQ20s and one DQ6 advanced system amplifiers.

Peppe Mallozzi, Autograph sales engineer, explained that one of the first considerations was to improve sightlines, and the achieve this the new PA had to be flown. “However, the fixed flying points are only rated at 500Kg each which effectively eliminated a self-powered system but it also pointed us straight at HALO-C, which is very light at only 17Kg per module,” explained Mallozzi. “Our final design uses 11 HALO-C compact line array elements per side and even including the rigging and cables the total load is only 270kg per hang, while easily meeting all the performance specifications.”

EM Acoustics’ Ed Kinsella, who specified the system, is very pleased with the results achieved by Mallozzi and his team. “The only real issue we had to contend with is that the hanging positions are quite wide and fairly close to the wall, but we know that this is something that HALO-C is very good at coping with. Indeed, we managed to achieve flawless coverage throughout the entire room with no delays at all and just a few EMS-61 for front fill.”

Michael Knight, technical and facilities manager at Dorking Halls, concluded: “As always, Peppe and Autograph as a whole have been very patient and a pleasure to deal with throughout this project, as indeed have Ed and Mike (Kinsella and Wheeler) from EM. From the initial demo to final tuning they’ve been happy to offer advice and support. There were no attempts to blind us with science or to reinvent the wheel; just honest explanations based on solid loudspeaker theory. All in all, a bit of a rarity these days!”