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The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Avalon Ballroom Theatre, Niagara Falls, Ontario

Nov 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

Engaging Touchup

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The JBL VerTec line-array system was perfect for the theater because it maintains its sonic quality regeardless of program material or sound-pressure levels.

The JBL VerTec line-array system was perfect for the theater because it maintains its sonic quality regeardless of program material or sound-pressure levels.

“Once again, utilizing onboard DSP afforded through the monitor system's 28 Crown I-Tech amplifiers, the venue can easily switch presets to accommodate their full complement of monitor-wedge choices from EV and Clair Brothers,” Radu says.

The eight Sennheiser SR3256s provide 16 stereo in-ear mixes, while four effects engines and 24 available channel inserts provide all of the outboard gear processing. The microphone kit contains a variety of options, including everything from Shure SM58s and Sennheiser MD421s to Neumann KMS105s and Schertler piano mics. A 20-channel Shure UHF-R wireless system ties it all together. The resort also purchased a huge selection of backline equipment and upgraded the inhouse lighting system.

The wiring was perhaps the largest challenge of the project. PA+ Productions enlisted the help of Digiflex project manager Yvan Arshoun to handle the large number of custom panels, snakes, and cabling for the installation.

“Digiflex built our entire rental department cabling inventory, and together we have developed and implemented a proven system over the years,” Radu says. “Their workmanship and attention to detail are second to none. We used this same cabling infrastructure to deal with all of the wiring components on this project. Digiflex was familiar with the infrastructure we were going to use, and Yvan was able to oversee the continuity of the custom wiring projects as well as develop and maintain a production schedule.”

As systems integrators, the team was equipped to tie all the pieces of the system together to create a world-class system that would let the venue draw world-class performers. The challenge of this system, Radu says, was keeping it simple and intuitive for the rotating mix of guest engineers the theater sees.

“Whether it's a guest engineer operating or a house engineer trying to troubleshoot an issue, things have to be simple and straightforward,” Radu says. “All of the complicated and intricate DSP aspects of this installation are buried away from the everyday use of the system. While the system as a whole is one of the most advanced, high-tech installations in the country, it is also one of the easiest and simplest systems to maintain and operate. Guest engineers have had nothing but praise for the new installation.”

The installation was completed last year, but Radu says the team is continually tweaking the system to keep it on the bleeding edge. For example, the main VerTec arrays were recently switched over to the new V4 system presets.

“This change not only keeps the system current, but also maintains the sonic characteristics of the system in line with what guest engineers are used to,” Radu says. “There were little or no restrictions, financially or technically, put in place on this installation. While one might think that integrating an audio system under circumstances like this is as easy as it gets, in fact, the exact opposite reigns true.”

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