UK’s Brighton Centre boosted by arrival of Electro-Voice P-RL amplifiers & IRIS-Net control software
Known to many in the UK as the venue for high-profile conferencing, as used by the Conservative Party and the Trades Union Congress, the Main Hall of the Brighton Centre routinely accommodates prestige exhibitions, banquets, and leisure events. With its flexible seating, it can accommodate 4,500 seated delegates.
The Main Hall’s house PA was installed in the 1980s, a centrally-flown cluster of Electro-Voice loudspeakers which has worked impeccably for over 20 years. Brighton-based specialists MBI Sound & Light have maintained the Centre’s facilities since that time. “With the important TUC conference looming in the diary, we wanted to rule out any potential reliability issues caused by ageing amplifiers,“ explains MBI’s Dave Rudge. “We’d previously installed EV’s P1200RL remote amplifiers in the Palace Theatre in Southend, where they have met with great success. That was the catalyst for our thought process here and they quickly became the obvious choice-especially as we could put the whole system under the control of IRIS-Net.“
IRIS-Net is the open-architecture control and supervision software suite from Bosch Communications Systems which offers an amazing level of control and monitoring to the user, from level control to signal processing and routing, even key areas such as diagnostics.
According to Dave Rudge, the Brighton Centre team was particularly attracted by the potential of the wireless control aspects of IRIS-Net, which is managed from a PC and enables real-time manipulation of the system: “The control room is located quite a long walk from the hall, and in a position that makes it difficult to assess system performance accurately. The amplifiers are also situated quite a long walk in the other direction, in a plant room in the roof, so it is a big advantage for us to be able to take wi-fi control of the sound system right into the auditorium.“
Shuttlesound’s IRIS-Net product specialist David Howe has provided the Centre with a fully-integrated control system, running on an HP notebook. From this device, which also acts as a touch-screen tablet, the user can determine speaker levels in each of the 10 individual zones in the hall. The original amplifier and processing system only allowed limited control. Now they have fully independent control of the upper and lower levels of each quadrant of the central cluster, optimizing sound quality across the balconies and the bleacher seating, even when the venue is not at full capacity.
“The software is password-protected to support various user types,“ says Dave Howe, “but at administrator level you can also wirelessly control EQ and delay for each speaker, allowing them to be adjusted and time-aligned separately. There is a diagnostic element too; the supervision page lets you look closely at the twelve amplifiers as well as all the connected speakers and alerts the user immediately in the event of a fault.“
The Brighton Centre is the first permanently-installed system to test Howe’s new software configuration tool, a specially-written project generator for IRIS-Net. “It can take several hours to configure a control package like IRIS-Net; this new software offers a significant shortcut for tasks like importing presets, applying speaker settings and building the user control pages. For an engineer, it means he can now start getting sound out of the speakers in just a couple of minutes rather than hours.“ Howe’s project generator has already been used extensively by touring engineers from Britannia Row, APR Audio, and other leading EV rental companies. Its introduction makes IRIS-Net one of the fastest and easiest to use, yet most powerful, audio control systems available.
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