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EM Acoustics passive system chosen for Manchester cultural hub

Manchester’s new £25m arts complex, HOME, has installed an EM Acoustics passive sound system to its 500-seat theatre space.

Manchester’s new £25m arts complex, HOME, which includes theatre and studio spaces, has installed a complete theatre sound system from EM Acoustics to provide maximum intelligibility and consistent SPL.

The complex is the largest of its kind outside London and was opened by filmmaker Danny Boyle at the end of May. HOME is a merger of Manchester’s Cornerhouse cinemas and art gallery and the Library theatre. Within the building there are two performance venues, a 500-seat theatre and a 150-seat flexible studio space. In addition, the complex houses five cinema screens, gallery space for contemporary art exhibitions, a café bar and a restaurant. Integrators Stage Electrics were responsible for supplying full stage engineering, stage lighting and audio systems for the main theatre including the EM Acoustics system.

HOME’s Sound supervisor, Paul Gregory commented: “I came across EM Acoustics five years ago at the Library theatre, and simply fell in love with transparency and crystalline audio quality of their products, I’ve been using them ever since.

“I did go to demos from other manufacturers, but as far as I was concerned, nothing else came close, and in any case, I wanted EM Acoustics! It was also made easy for us by the fact that Stage Electrics are a main dealer for EM, so they were already well versed in supplying and supporting the product.”

Stage Electrics’ Saul Eagles explained the budget requirements: “Our brief was simple, maximum intelligibility and consistent sound pressure level throughout the auditorium, an emphasis on quality in order to deliver the best possible listener experience. With EM Acoustics products we were able to deliver exceptional quality at achievable costs, and that’s what made the difference in this project between average-to-good theatre audio and outstanding theatre audio.

“The main areas of the auditorium were well served with a combination of multi-level proscenium-mounted EMS-121X enclosures. We opted for the powerful but compact 8in EMS-81X for the bridge-mounted upper circle delays and the rest of the under-balcony areas (rear stalls and dress circle) were serviced by a number of ultra-compact EMS-51s. A centre cluster of EMS-121X and floor-mounted EMS-115 subs completed the main system providing optimal L-C-R imaging. For the front stall fills, we provided removable EMS-51s with stage-mounted brackets so that they can be mounted on the forestage regardless of whether a thrust is present or not.”

All speaker systems are driven by a combination of EM Acoustic s AQ-3 and AQ-10 amplifiers housed in the main equipment room at grid level. System control is via a BSS London Blu100 system.

Gregory concluded: “I am very, very happy with the results. What’s more, I’ve had really excellent feedback from other sound professional and consultants who’ve had the opportunity to hear the system, which is both gratifying in itself, and a further testament (if any were needed) to the quality of the EM Acoustics products, and of course the service provided by Stage Electrics from initial advice through to installation.”

For more EM Acoutics speaker series