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Stage for a school in leicester has lighting and speaker system installed for learning

Ashby Academy School and Theatre Complex Leicester

PA Sound Systems for Theatres

Theatres have Sound Systems of many different types and sizes for different application. Typically for a large theatre that would host live performances of a play or a touring band will require a system that is capable of delivering quality audio that will be equally distributed to every seat in the house.

The type of system that is often installed in these venues is built around line array technology.  Put simply these are generally a cluster of boxes that hang together, curved in order to direct sound at the audience that could potentially be in the upper circle. Often central to the stage and around the periphery are ‘in fill’ boxes to ‘fill the sound gaps’ that are not covered by the line array.

Our Installation offering includes such systems and we have professional sound engineers within our installation team that are used to installing and operating these types of systems.

It is not unusual in large theatres that often have several tiers and are sometimes acoustically challenging that some speakers require being time delayed. This is technology that is applied to the system after installation that prevents the system from producing a split second ‘echo’ further down the theatre.

For smaller applications that still requires intelligibility and dynamics to cope with a variety of applications, from the spoken word to a full on orchestra or rock concert we can offer more suitable and often cost effective solutions. Not all theatres require the Line Array type of speaker application. In a smaller lecture theatre, maybe within an academic environment for example, usually wall mounted speakers strategically placed around the room will suffice.

We also advise and supply digital mixers. In past times, mixing boards were always at the back of a theatre setting, often taking up a lot of space. A lecture theatre would often have a glass fronted small room at the back for the engineer to mix from. Nowadays a lot of this can be done from a digital mixer, often placed in an equipment rack at the side of the stage. Control then comes wirelessly from a tablet, which can be controlled from anywhere within the theatre. Also this often negates the need for a heavy multi core, which is usually trailed from the stage to carry all of the inputs to the mixer at the back.

Lighting & Effects Installations for Theatres

If a digital mixer is used, this can control all of the stage inputs down a CAT6 cable, which is not much bigger in diameter than a telephone cable!

Lighting is equally as important in the theatre environment of course. This is usually hung from Trussing in front of the stage, along with back of stage lighting and often a variety of intelligent lighting such as moving heads. These are often also truss mounted or floor mounted. Generally theatre lighting is controlled using DMX controllers, usually digital. DMX is the standard protocol for lighting, consisting of a maximum of 512 channels. Each fixture takes up a quantity of DMX channels when being programmed.

Nearly all lighting available is now LED. Often theatres and school theatre halls still have the older Halogen technology which can be very costly to run. Changing these to new cost effective LED’s that don’t require bulbs to be changed is a service that we offer also.

Theatres usually use a variety of microphones. For plays and choirs, microphones are often hung from trussing, often referred to as Shotgun microphones because of their appearance or flat discreet microphones that are placed on the floor or walls. These are boundary microphones. These types of microphones are a must to pick up the voice when a hand held or head worn microphone is not suitable. A lecturer with a discreet head worn microphone while doing a power point presentation from the theatre projector and remote screen is also an area that we have a lot of experience in.

So, whether a theatre in a school hall, or a Town or Civic Hall, the chances are we have firsthand experience in installing into such an environment. We have yet to be faced with a job that is too big for us to cope with.

Speak to a Theatre AV Installation Specialist Today and Find Out What's Best for You