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Powersoft drives sound for Deakin University theatre upgrade

As part of a major $250,000 upgrade of its largest lecture theatre, Melbourne’s Deakin University has been fitted with Powersoft X8 amplifiers driving an EAW KF720 line source by InSight Systems.

The Rusden Theatre is a 670-seat auditorium and the goal for installation was to provide an AV system that could be operated by staff, and as such would require the minimum of technical support. InSight Systems worked alongside Neil Clarke, the University’s AV and networks unit leader, and the facility’s eSolutions team, with the project fast tracked through the school holidays to be completed on time.

Aside from improving the presentation space and communication with students, they provided intuitive control interface, automated camera system, videoconferencing, programmable lighting and flexible connectivity. The sound system features a pair of Powersoft X8 amplifiers driving an EAW KF720 line source, along with two SB180zP 12in subs mounted within the screen wall and delays at the rear. This was initially recommended by Ben Clarke, technical support manager at equipment suppliers Production Audio Video Technology (PAVT), and adopted by staff at Deakin.

A single X8 (four circuits per side) has the capacity to power both arrays, allowing the other to take care of the end delays/fills.

Ben Clarke confirmed that PAVT had specified this combination previously with excellent results. “This facility may at any time be required to perform as a performing arts theatre and required a system with adequate headroom for high capacity events,” he said. “The client has successfully used Powersoft amplification before and since this is the university’s most prestigious theatre, exceptional sound quality was of paramount importance.” He also cited the advantage of the simplification of the rack wiring due to the internal routing, and the minimal rack space occupied (16 channels in just 4RU).

With Arup acting as acoustic consultants, once the line source option had been preferred to a point source solution, the line array hangs were suspended out wide close to the side walls and trimmed high so as not to obscure sightlines and interfere with the projection video. The placement required Arup to treat the first reflection with acoustic panelling. “This was critical in eliminating the traditional problem with this concept — heavy comb filtering due to heavy reflections from walls right next to line arrays,” stated Clarke. The addition of the JF10 delays obviated the need to throw so much energy into the room while small-format Ecler speakers helped draw the image down to the front rows.

Clarke summarised: “Universities in my experience are always happy to look at new technologies when a special project is being considered — and in my view the heroes of the audio piece are the Powersoft X8’s. They just sound phenomenal and are a pleasure to use.

Picture: AV Asia Pacific