Bowman Hall upgrades sound system with Electro‑Voice

May 6, 2011

Located in the city of Blacktown in New South Wales, Australia, Bowman Hall is a popular venue used in a variety of modes for all manner of productions, from concerts and wedding receptions to simple meetings. A large, reverberant, asymmetrical space with galleries on each side of a long axis, the hall was in serious need of a new sound system to properly address its acoustical challenges.

Audio consultant Trevan Johns (of Trevan Johns and Associates Pty Ltd) was commissioned to design a new audio system with a level of protection and performance to allow for both intuitive operation in a simple user mode or full access to a digital mixer in concert mode.

“We ran a few predictions and it looked like the XLD281 cabinets would do the job the best. The result is that it sounds unbelievably good”

The lower level ceilings in the gallery areas shade the central cluster, so time-delayed loudspeakers were required to provide acceptable performance. This is of particular importance on the northern side of the hall, where an extension to the hall has increased the low-ceilinged area to a width of over 5 m.

Johns specified a front-of-house loudspeaker array consisting of six Electro-Voice XLD281 compact line-array elements with dual EVA XCS312 cardioid subs, all suspended with an EVA EG grid. Two Dynacord VL 262 loudspeakers were installed on the proscenium wall for side fill, located beneath the 3800 mm-high bulkhead. Two delay arrays were located either side of the hall and each of those consists of two groups of four Dynacord VL 62 delay loudspeakers. Spaced equally, they are configured in two delay groups, front and rear.

“I worked closely with Bosch’s Bryan Davidson when designing the system,” commented Johns. “We ran a few predictions and it looked like the XLD281 cabinets would do the job the best. The result is that it sounds unbelievably good and the client is absolutely delighted.”

The FOH array is powered by two Dynacord H5000 amplifiers (with two more driving the subs) as well as an H2500 amplifier. Delay and side fill loudspeakers are powered by a single four-channel Electro-Voice CPS 4.5 amplifier; monitor wedges are driven by an H2500.

“The amplifiers contain all of the smarts onboard, such as delay times,” remarked Johns. “This was essential, as we didn’t want to be placed in the position where these functions were adjusted at the front end, as we needed both simple and complex modes for the hall.”

The project is based upon an 8 x 8 Electro-Voice NetMax N8000 networkable digital matrix for Simple Mode. The N8000 is expandable to accept additional inputs and outputs, and is controlled by a touch screen and PC.

“I had to take into account that many hall users are not qualified to control a conventional multi-channel mixer based system,” explained Johns. “Therefore, when a relatively simple system is required, control is by touch screen, directly accessing the control protocols of the N8000.  This screen and its custom built GUI allow even novice users to intuitively operate the system."

Mode adjustment – to banquet, forum, lecture, live music, theatre, etc. – does not require more than a preset selection or scene recall to reconfigure the system in the room, with nominal gain, EQ presets, and delay all pre-configured as required.

“Sound on Stage was the successful contractor for this project, and they did a very professional job,” concluded Johns.

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