SSE Audio Group has installed an L-Acoustics KARA PA system at the London Palladium as the venue management, Really Useful Theatres Group, looks to open up the calendar to more one-off events and touring productions as well as long-tem West End productions.
Spencer Phillips, group head of venue sales and marketing at Really Useful Theatres Group: “The Palladium is a beautiful theatre; it’s 105 years old. Therefore we needed a solution that not only sounded great but looked great too.
“It became clear that the system capable of providing the highest possible standards and likely to be accepted by the majority of visiting productions was manufactured by L-Acoustics."
SSE's London hire manager, Luther Edmonds and system tech Nick Lythgoe were assigned the project, which was completed in January 2016. The installation is initially for 12 months so a contract rental touring system was specified rather than a permanent solution. This gives the Palladium flexibility moving forward without having to commit to a large capital investment.
There are three tiers of seating at the 2,286 seat Palladium; the Stalls, the Royal Circle and the Upper Circle. In order to provide even coverage throughout, Edmonds specified L-R hangs of 9x L-Acoustics KARA for the Royal and Upper Circles and a further 6x KARA per side hung off gallows arms for the Stalls. L-Acoustics 8XTs have been hung under the circles and from the ceiling to provide coverage to the rear of each area. Additional infill close to the stage is provided by two ARCS cabinets per side and four 8XTs hidden behind grills in the stage apron.
Four SB18 subs are flown centrally off the front truss and a total of eight SB28s are distributed under the stage, on the stage apron, in two private boxes and on two observation balconies each side of the proscenium to provide the necessary sub coverage that the system required.
The system is powered by 14 LA8 amplifiers, with system routing, processing and control delivered through a custom-built SSE DriveRack including Lake Processors located at the mix position at front of house.
Included in the contract rental package is an Avid Venue Profile digital mixing console with an Avid Stage Box taking care of inputs on stage. SSE has installed a number of multicore options from stage to FOH including CAT5, BNC, Fibre and analogue to accommodate the needs of visiting tours and their consoles.
Matt Rutter, chief electrician at the venue, commented: “The first couple of visiting engineers started off by saying they wanted to make this or that adjustment to the system and that was before they had even turned it on. Nick Lythgoe suggested that we listen to it and make any adjustments from there. As soon as the engineers heard it they were really impressed, to such an extent that we left things exactly as they were. Nick and the SSE team have given us a system that is really well tuned to the room.”
Phillips added: “There was no flexibility in completion date, it had to be operating for our first event booking of the year. Thanks to the hard work, knowledge and ingenuity of all the team involved, the installation was completed in time.”
We chose L-Acoustics because we wanted the international music industry to know we mean business as we return the Palladium to an alternative programming model.”