Creating the Emotive Connection through Sound

We know how to engage and connect an audience with a show’s climatic and emotional performance. With our heritage in live sound, we’ve worked our entire life to create compact line-arrays to overcome any concert halls or performing arts venues challenges and constraints. Zealous fans, demanding performers, inadequate venues, setup and takedown time constraints are all important factors that must be taken into consideration.

Our speakers allow sound to exit instantaneously without resonance resulting in a better impulse response, maximum clarity and definition for the audience. Whilst producing a sound dispersion with minimal back emission, keeping the stage clear of sound pollution and simultaneously keeping the performers happy. 

Our lightweight and compact concert solutions save space along with transportation costs keeping crews and organisers happy. We’ve rounded up three examples of how we’ve helped overcome these challenges.

Gladiator's Live Concert, The Colosseum, Rome

The Challenge
When the Colosseum hosted a live screening of the film, The Gladiator, it was the embodiment of the perfect pairing! For one night only, Ridley Scott’s historical epic was screened in HD and accompanied by a live performance of the Hans Zimmer-composed soundtrack, courtesy of conductor Justin Freer and the musicians and choir of the Italian Film Orchestra. Australian vocalist, Lisa Gerrard, who sang on the movie’s soundtrack and served as its co-composer, also added her otherworldly talents to the event; all of which unfolded within the storied ruins of antiquity’s most infamous entertainment venue, the Colosseum. 

This prestigious event was staged by film score performance specialist CineConcerts, in support of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, and attended by stars of the film such as Maximus himself, Russell Crowe, and ‘the eighth king of Rome’; former AS Roma striker Francesco Totti. Such a luminous occasion required a truly world class audio setup; with the gauntlet ultimately being thrown down before technical supplier Planet Service - and the K-array Firenze system. 

The Solution
These shows required a scaled-up production across the board, which meant bringing in kit and crew from K-array itself. The PA system at the Colosseum comprised of 3 Firenze-KH7 line array elements per side as main hangs, 4 Mugello-KS5 subwoofers, 16 Kobra-KK102 loudspeakers as front fill, and 3 sets of Python-KP102 loudspeakers lined down the entrance as left and right delays. There was a pair of KH7s flown in the middle of the truss, used specifically to project the film’s dialogue. 

As well as having very little space, the crew also had to deal with the relatively slender load limits that were afforded by the venue’s floor. This surface, which was originally installed to allow visitors to stand atop the labyrinthine bowels of Colosseum, can only support a maximum of 200 kg/sqm.

The more substantial audio setup required at Circo Massimo meant that K-array was asked to provide a supplementary kit, including 24 of its flagship Firenze-KH8 speakers. The full rig was used on the more conventional festival-style stage at Circus Maximus consisting of 12 units of KH8 line array elements per side, 16 Firenze-KS8 subwoofers for low end reinforcement, 6 KH7s split as central left and right hangs, 8 Mugello-KH2 loudspeakers as front fill, and 3 more KH7s per side as delays.

The Happy Customer
“The major challenge was to have perfect PA coverage without being able to put the cluster in the correct position. The screen was on the back of the stage so we needed to stay as wide as possible with the main left and right hangs, in order to allow the best sight lines. The problem was that the speakers were so wide that they didn’t cover the central corridor adequately, so we added 3 rows of Pythons as delays to cover it with the same precision and quality as the rest of the venue.  Wealso couldn’t fly a large PA because of these load limits, but the Firenze was very small and perfect for the job. This also helps with manoeuvrability during the load in and setup, which helps when you are essentially working inside a museum!” 

Alessandro Saudelli - Audio Crew Chief for rental company Planet Service

Thessaloniki Concert Hall, Greece

The Challenge
Asproulis Experience and production company D:Tek needed a powerful sound with a long throw to cover the entire audience with uniform coverage, specifically for Mario Frangoulis’ Stranger in Paradise, accompanied by the Symphonic Orchestra of Thessaloniki with conductor Luke Karytinos. After demonstrating a K-array system for Fragoulis’ sound engineer Dimitris Bourboulis in the theatre, D:Tek and K-array were quickly given the green light. 

The Solution
The system comprised 8 Kayman-KY102 loudspeakers in LCR order. The 4 Thunder-KMT218 subwoofers leading the L-R system were ground level while a Kommander-KA84 amplifier was used to drive the centre line array. A Pinnacle-KR402 portable system was employed for onstage side fills and the front fill was created with 4 half-metre Python-KP52 loudspeakers powered by a Kommander-KA24 amplifier. Setup and tuning had to be executed in a short time frame during rehearsals so D:Tek utilised the easy-to-use K-framework program to regulate and tune the entire system in under the one-hour window.

David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center of Performing Arts - USA

The Challenge
The New York Philharmonic presentation of four Star Wars films – A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens – at Lincoln Center in Manhattan was presented in surround at 2,700-seat David Geffen Hall, and consisted of the film screenings accompanied by John Williams’ iconic score performed live by the 100-plus piece orchestra conducted by David Newman. One of the biggest tests for the audio team was to make the concert hall feel more like a movie house; ensuring the dialogue was clear, the effects physically palpable, and that the orchestra was able to successfully perform the soundtrack without “blowing people out of their seats.” 

Among the aspects of the sound design requiring a great deal of consideration and planning were an orchestra clocking in at about 92-plus dB, the necessity of placing surround elements (as well as subwoofers) in close proximity to audience members, and maintaining sonic imagery in locations presenting far greater challenges than the average movie theatre. 

After trying many different speaker configurations, K-array proved the key to coverage with its electronic beam steering and was ultimately selected to comprise the main PA along with the venue’s permanently installed subwoofers. 

The main system centre cluster consisted of six Mugello-KH2 active line array elements flown at the centre of the stage proscenium and flanked by a cardioid subwoofer on each side. Left, centre and right (LCR) main arrays, also flown at the proscenium, were also composed of Mugello-KH2s, each with seven elements. 

For rear surround a dozen Pinnacle-KR102 portable systems were employed with three Pinnacle-KR102 systems per seating level, placed left, centre and right, joined by companion subs and a satellite array for emphasis on higher frequency content. The compact sub elements of the Pinnacles were key in bolstering low-end reinforcement, particularly that of FX and source material.

If you have a concert hall or performing arts venue that needs a sound facelift, get in touch!