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Symetrix enables flexible audio networking at cultural hub

The newly opened Atlas Theatre in Emmen, the Netherlands has been equipped with a vast Dante-based audio network featuring Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX digital signal processors.

The flexible audio networking delivers on the ambition of consultant Steven Kemland of Theatreadvies BV for ‘everything to be possible everywhere.’

The Atlas Theatre, opened in October 2016, has already become a cultural hub in Emmen, with the wealth of technology contributing to flawless performances.

Designed by renowned Danish architect Henning Larsen, the Theatre includes an 822-seat main auditorium as well as a smaller 300-seat “black box” theatre and adjoining convention centre. All technical integration was done by Ampco-Flashlight Sales, with a no-compromise attitude when selecting the equipment.

Kemland was keen that the audio network should ‘route audio from any input to any output,’ running everything from paging and local BGM source selection, through to special effects and surround sound, the challenge became finding a processing solution with the required versatility and power. The search led to the building block approach of Radius, with Dante connectivity throughout the venue.

“The modularity of Radius means you can expand and adapt as you need to,” explained Ampco-Flashlight Sales project manager, Frans van Houten. “We created three Radius systems, all of which are connected via Dante to one another as well as to every other Dante item in the building.”

Though interconnected, the three systems each focus on specific tasks. One example is audio distribution and the provision of background music across the entire venue, including local volume control and source selection via Symetrix ARC wall panels.

van Houten continued: “The big background music system covers the entire building, including dressing rooms, all of the public areas and even the back-of-house offices. The Radius processors are responsible for all audio distribution.”

That includes everything, from broadcasting performances from the main auditorium and black box theatre to any other part of the building, as well as supporting the building’s paging, intercom, assistive listening, and digital signage systems.

The black box theatre and main auditorium represent their own challenges. “In both of the rooms, the Radius processors are relied upon for routing and processing special effects and surround sound,” said van Houten. In total, the installation combines to form a matrix of 40 inputs and 88 outputs. Despite the system’s flexibility, operation remains simple; Radius allowed the Ampco-Flashlight Sales team to custom design a user interface based on password-protected touchscreens.

van Houten, concluded: “The ability to build a customised interface with Radius means you can give the customer access to routing and configuration functions in a really easy, user-friendly way. Symetrix gives you the tools you need to let the client choose how they want their system to work. It’s reliable, it’s user friendly and it’s futureproof.”

Photo: Jorrit Lousberg

Symetrix signal processing