Built originally as a private high school located in a residential neighborhood of Montreal, the school has transitioned to College Regina Assumpta, recently designing a 705-seat concert hall as part of the revitalization of the college.
“An interesting feature of this project is that the concert hall is found inside a courtyard,” said Guy Desmarteaux, main designer and consultant, GO multimedia inc. “This offers the advantage of having the sound of city noise insulated. Specialized in music and dance education, the school now has a powerful tool for development and improvement.”
The Director of the College, Pierre Carle, was on a mission to make the venue a place where the sound quality could compete with the best concert halls. The team of GO professionals listened to the requirements and combining their knowledge, Carle, accompanied by the Director of the Equipment Christophe Bancilhon, and Eric Brunet, responsible for the audio-visual, worked in obtaining the desired result.
Desmarteaux was assisted by Julie Quenneville, architect and scenograph, with Simon Lemieux, Éric Berteau and Pascal Malenfant Tremblay as the consultant team from GO multimédia inc. The architectural firm for the project was Architectes Gagné & Villeneuve. Electrical and structural engineers collaborated with great ease, and always in the interest of the client, to create a professional level concert hall. "From the beginning of the project, the architects and engineers were happy to work with us to achieve a unique space,” said Desmarteaux. “The design was a team effort. The shape, volume, and parameters of the hall were the results of our discussions and proposals."
"Technologically, it seemed normal and unequivocal to install digital,” said Desmarteaux. “The scale of the challenge was mainly in the integration of clusters of speakers; quite a challenge to integrate the main sound system in a non-apparent way at higher proscenium.”
The main PA consists of four NEXO GEO S1230, eight NEXO GEO S1210, and two RS18 Ray Subs. Three NEXO NXAMP4x4 amplifiers, allowing an active configuration, power the entire system. A set of loudspeakers provides the surround sound reproduction as well as front fills. All signal processing is accomplished using a digital controller with several adjustable settings via a control and management system using a touchpad. Solotech, Montreal, completed the system installation under the supervision of Charles Cadieux and Gilles Côté.
The clusters are installed with a charge differential between the top and bottom speakers. An important physical exercise was necessary in order to integrate them so as to sonically cover the entire audience. NEXO NS-1 software that determines the methods of possible hanging was suggesting that it was an off-standard or impossible installation. Michel Trépanier and his team at Yamaha assisted in facilitating the integration of the clusters. The optimal positioning of the cardioid subwoofers was determined after several tests and measures to match the acoustic phase and frequency response. “The sound image is an important factor not to be neglected,” added Desmarteaux.
During the concert hall’s construction, interest was raised from internationally known conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Once the project was completed, the venue’s acoustics charmed him, and a three-year agreement was signed between the College and the Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra, conducted by Nézet-Séguin, for the concert hall to be used as their practice space.