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Symetrix DSP provides balance at historic Czech concert hall

The Marble Hall within the Casino Cultural and Conference Centre in the Czech town of Mariánské Lázne has been equipped with a Dante-enabled Symetrix Prism DSP system to add flexibility to the multi-purpose space.

Originally constructed in 1899, the venue hosted the world’s first film festival, and now accommodates the annual Chopin Festival as well as the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra.

The Marble Hall is a 376sqm banquet and concert space with ornate marble walls, pillars, domes and arches, which creates challenging acoustics. The venue’s management sought an audio solution for the space that would solve this issue, but was also capable of meeting the requirements of the multi-purpose clientele and reputation of the venue.

Petr Kabat and Tomas Müller of integrator STA Servis managed the project with Prague’s Audio Digital as consultants. Ultimately, the search led to a system using a Dante-equipped Symetrix Prism 8×8 as its DSP backbone.

“A very diverse range of events take place in the Marble Hall, from simple presentations to corporate events and banquets and even occasional DJ parties,” explained Michal Zeman of Audio Digital. “Because of that diversity, it was very important that the system was easy for the venue operators to use, but still powerful in terms of its flexibility and reliability.”

The team considered a number of options for sound reinforcement. “As it turned out, the difficult acoustics weren’t the only challenge,” recalled Zeman. “Another major factor was to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the room, which meant meeting very strict requirements in terms of the system’s visual impact. So we began what felt like a virtually endless loop of designs, acoustic simulations and talks with the authorities.”

Radim Řezníček, of STA Servis added: “We have undertaken very challenging installations in many high profile interiors all over the region, but for sure the Casino Cultural and Conference Centre is at the top of the list of projects where only a perfect finish was good enough.”

In the now completed hall, the majority of the audience area is covered by two wall-mounted coaxial two-way SR-S4L + SR-S4S column speakers from TOA. Delays for the rear of the hall are courtesy of two wall-mounted SR-S4S column arrays, while low-end extension is provided by two Electro-Voice powered subwoofers that can be added to the set-up when required.

Crucially, the Symetrix Prism 8×8 ties the system together as the main Dante-equipped, eight I/O DSP, providing the required ease of operation. “This was a typical example of a venue with almost contradictory requirements – a really complex and feature-rich DSP was necessary but at the same time the user needed a simple-to-use GUI for real time control of the system by non-technical staff,” explained Zeman. “We know Symetrix DSPs combine these two worlds very well in a single unit, and all at a reasonable price point, which is always a big factor in our market. More importantly, we proved that to the integrator, which convinced them that the Prism 8×8 was exactly what they needed.

“Now the entire DSP and control is done with one Symetrix Prism 8×8 and a bespoke PC GUI. In the Prism, all input and output processing is taken care of including feedback suppressors, equalisation of the speakers and room time alignment, and of course limiter settings for the individual speaker bands.”