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Powersoft brings multi-zone audio to Iceland’s Lava Centre

The new LAVA Centre in the Icelandic town of Hvolsvöllur is an interactive, educational exhibition depicting volcanic activity and earthquakes, and tracing the creation of Iceland over millions of years.

The 2,500sqm LAVA Centre was designed and built as a fully immersive show. The design, preparation, integration and finalisation of all AV equipment for the nine main show items took almost a year. Feris ehf was responsible for all audio, video, network, CCTV, UPS, system, as well as an impressive RGB Neopixel LED design and integration. The company was also responsible for the entire show control, as well as AV lighting and LED equipment.

The AV equipment itself includes 14 Powersoft amplifiers with DSP onboard providing an economic power station to drive the 72 channels of zonal ceiling and surface mount loudspeakers, all in one of the four racks in the centralised technical room. These models comprise Powersoft Ottocanali 1204 DSP+ETH, Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+D (for Dante) and Quattrocanali 2404 DSP+D, while to create the sonic realism of an earthquake required the deployment of the Italian manufacturer’s mighty and unique M-Force Magnetic Linear Motor Transducers.

Feris’ project designers Jakob Kristinsson and Bergthor Leifsson knew that Powersoft’s sonic M-Force alone would provide the capability of simulating a volcano erupting, with two M-Drive amplifiers powering two 15kW M-Force Moving Magnet Linear Motor transducers to imitate a 3.7 Richter scale earthquake, or bigger. Their purpose is to ‘move’ a floor measuring 150cm by 300cm in both X / Y axes — the first time M-Force has been used for mechanical movement.

“With DSP onboard, interoperability created via MediaMatrix and Presonus USB plug-ins, networking and remote control, amplifiers have been converted into smart controllers of the future,” said Powersoft’s Francesco Fanicchi. “This has great bearing on integrators involved in multiple disciplines like audio, video, ETH cabling, power distribution and UPS provision, meaning that the future becomes a whole lot easier. In addition, low power consumption, low maintenance, a long life cycle, along with the networking capabilities present huge cost and time-saving advantages for both integrators and operators and make the true cost of ownership extremely attractive.”

There are 15 multi-channel audio zones in use at LAVA Centre, located in 10 rooms/spaces, including an outdoor one – variously triggered by MediaMatrix and Presonus sound cards. This includes 80 x Audac speakers, 13 x Audac subwoofers, two Danley subwoofers, three Panphonics flat panels in the ceiling for spot audio, eight OnePointAudio speakers, a 632 x 360cm Stewart Filmscreen Phantom HALR screen coupled with a 7.1 surround system from PC Asus 7.1 sound card, via Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3, for the movie theatre.

In the Movie theatre, audio is controlled by Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3 via Powersoft amplification to the 7.1 speaker setup, using OnePointAudio speakers and a Danley TH212I subwoofer. “There were several challenges in the design and specifying amplifiers and selecting the right speakers,” said Kristinsson. “Powersoft amplifiers had already been installed when the audio files started to be available. This dilemma we solved by choosing carefully ‘big enough’ speakers and amplifiers. Mostly audio is played out from ‘content’ computers, the same ones that deliver the image signal or the programmes for the Neopixel LEDs.”