Live Venues

O2 Academy Edinburgh revitalised with a brand-new PA and lights installation

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Academy Music Group has once again enlisted the support of Liverpool-based Adlib, to co-design and install a high-end touring specification for its audio and lighting systems at its newest venue in Scotland, the 3,000 capacity O2 Academy Edinburgh.

A category B listed building with a unique history, the former Corn Exchange was built in 1909 and acquired by Academy Music Group in August 2021, to build on its legacy as one of the city’s largest standing, multi-purpose spaces, and develop it to become one of the major must-play venues in Edinburgh for live music and entertainment.

O2 Academy Edinburgh by Alan Rennie

The project was led by Academy Music Group’s Group Operations Manager, Steve Hoyland with Adlib’s Managing Director Andy Dockerty, who together specified the industry-standard, world-renowned L-Acoustics K2 system. “Our latest acquisition, O2 Academy Edinburgh, has huge potential, with the right capacity to bring more world-class shows to the city. By investing in brand-new, state-of-the-art sound and lighting production facilities, we can really enhance our offering for a wider variety of events, as one of the major venues in our portfolio” says Steve Hoyland.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Academy Music Group” says Dockerty. “Working together with the team and O2 Academy Edinburgh’s Technical Manager Rob Watson, was key in designing, specifying, and installing an audio system to provide excellent venue coverage in what had traditionally been a complex room for audio. The lighting system also provides a high level of industry-standard fixtures and options meaning that any touring artiste can facilitate a high specification audio and lighting production with the in-house equipment. The house standard is of such a high specification that there should never be a need to bring in touring production which will be beneficial to all parties.”

There are eight K2 cabinets per side, supported by three x Kara 2 cabinets per side suspended from the lower ceiling height, filling in the lower left and right areas that the main K2 hangs can’t cover. These are complemented with a further two x L-Acoustics A10 cabinets per side, acting as delays for the lower ceiling area. Another two x A10 cabinets a side are positioned on the subs providing front in-fills. The sub cabinets are the L-Acoustics KS 28s of which there are four per side. To cover the small balcony at the rear of the room, there are four x L-Acoustics X8 cabinets suspended from the ceiling just in front of the balcony.

The system is powered by LA12X amplifiers and additional signal processing is provided by two of L-Acoustics’ latest P1 processors. Consoles are both the incredibly popular DiGiCo SD12, and the system has a 3-way split to allow for any broadcast splits that may be required.

Also, on-site are twelve AAMP5 Bi-Amp wedge monitors, an AA215 Drum Sub and side-fills comprising of a pair of AA DF 122 Mid Highs and AA DF 215HL subs, all powered by Linea Research LR44s. There is an extensive microphone and stand selection as part of the in-house offering.

The centrepiece of the lighting system is twelve x Ayrton Diablo-S Profiles. After success in other Academy Music Group venues, and boasting a high-end optical platform, these moving lights carry a comprehensive modern feature, set to support any show. They are supported by eighteen x Martin MAC Aura XB fixtures, providing wash coverage with their well-known punch and versatility.

Twenty x Robe LEDBeam150 fixtures increase the reach into the room for dance events, spread across the roof and floor package. The chosen key lighting is six x Chauvet E-910FC Full Colour LED profiles, providing classic warm light as standard, with full-colour control if desired. Six x Elation CUEPIX WW2 LED blinders round out the system. An entirely LED-source rig removes the need for lamp replacement and increases colour options for incoming shows as well as being a sustainable choice.

The fixtures are split across three trusses, along with a further rear truss for drapes or set elements. Lighting Control is based around an Avolites Arena. The Titan platform was chosen for its excellent speed, ‘busk-ability’ and success in other Academy Music Group venues, and the Arena model was selected for an increased level of hardware control.

“We wanted it to be rock’n’roll” says Technical Manager Rob Watson. “It’s a cracking system and a cracking rig, it’s got coverage of the entire venue. What Adlib has provided gives a guarantee of consistency and professionalism. The level it should be, an A class system and A class support, we couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Forthcoming shows include: The War On Drugs (17+18 April), Porter Robinson (20 April), Gary Numan (09 May), MARINA (17 May), The Charlatans (19 May), Beck (14 June), Jessie Ware (22 Jun), Pixies (03 Aug), The Dualers (06 Aug), The Libertines (08 Aug), The Wombats (12 Aug), Ian Brown (27 Sep), The Enemy (22 Sep) and more. Full listings at

Cover photo - Declan McKenna @ O2 Academy Edinburgh by Cameron Brisbane

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