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Calgary Performing Arts Center Upgrades to d&b Loudspeaker System

d&b audiotechnik xS-Series
(Image credit: d&b audiotechnik)

Located in the heart of Calgary’s Cultural District, the Arts Commons performing arts center occupies a full city block and is home to five theatres and the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Recently, Sapphire Sound (Calgary) installed a d&b audiotechnik xS-Series point source loudspeaker system in the spacious main floor and dress circle lobbies of the Jack Singer Concert Hall, and replaced the complete monitor inventory package for the concert hall itself. 

The Jack Singer lobby areas can be used in conjunction with the concert hall or as a venue on their own. With a capacity of up to 1,000, the space is well suited for conferences, galas, receptions, lectures, concerts, meetings, corporate events, post and pre-show events.

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“As far as our challenges were concerned, the main section, closest to the hall of the lobby has a 2.5-story-high ceiling, but the rear of the lobby is split into two floors that can sometimes even be hosting separate events simultaneously,” said Jack Jamieson, head sound technician. ‘There are also a lot of glass surfaces throughout the lobby placed for aesthetics that can make it very reflective. To solve this, we used two of the d&b 24S loudspeakers as our primary coverage for the large section, and installed three of the 5S, individually addressable, on each level at the rear of the lobby to allow us to control both the level and the content of the smaller speakers. The large speakers are aimed in and down toward the carpeted lobby floor to avoid unwanted reflections and help isolate the system acoustically from the concert hall. There are also three sets of heavy double doors on each side that are kept closed between the concert hall and the lobby when there is a lobby-only event occurring.”

The dipolar arrangement of the two 12-inch LF drivers in a 24S results in directivity control down to 500Hz to keep sound off of walls and other reflective surfaces.

The main floor lobby system is a pair of 24S speakers in stereo, with three 5S speakers each with individual addresses centered under each archway to cover the rear area should that be desired, and three more of the 5S loudspeakers setup the same way to cover the Upper Lobby should that be desired. Each of these eight cabinets has its own channel of amplification, supplied by two D20 amplifiers.

“Arts Commons was initially looking at a d&b V or Y-Series, but I suggested 24S due to the fact that for the majority of events, subwoofers would not be required, and with 24S going all the way down to 55Hz, it would enable relatively full range sound even without the VG SUBs deployed,” said Ben Burrell from Sapphire Sound.

“For the monitor system in the concert hall, the d&b M4 wedge has become the first or second choice product listed on most touring riders that we see,” Jamieson said. “Accordingly, I had a demo of the product brought in, and all stakeholders agreed that it was one of the best wedge monitors we had ever heard or measured. Further, it was capable of more volume than the largest and loudest cabinet from our previous system, and only 0.5 inches wider than our smaller cabinet, and lighter than either of them. It was a unanimous choice from all of us.”

Jamieson said that Arts Commons is extremely happy with the sound of the lobby system both for intelligibility and musicality. “Ben is correct about the low-frequency capability of the 24S. We have so far only needed to deploy the extra subwoofers twice since installation, and in both cases, it was for EDM style musical content.”

The monitor package for the concert hall includes 17 d&b M4 monitors, four VG SUBS, nine D20, and two D80 amplifiers.