Audio Installation at The Quays Theatre

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Working closely with Adlib to achieve a flexible system that provides good coverage for everything, from amplified spoken word and theatre sound effects to full production music gigs within a tight budget has been both trouble free and very rewarding. The team and I are all very happy with the results and are receiving excellent reports on the system and sound quality now available in the space with house equipment from our venue clients and audiences.”

- Dave Woodward , Head of Technical Services, The Lowry

The Requirement

The 440 capacity Quays Theatre is a fully flexible performance space used for staging drama, comedy and a variety of music events, and was upgrading its sound system for the first time since The Lowry complex opened in April 2000.

The upgrade project was co-ordinated for the theatre by Dave Woodward, the Head of Technical Services. Due to budget restrictions, the new sound system design was required to utilise as much of the existing cabling infrastructure as possible.

For Adlib, the process started with detailed discussions with Woodward and the in-house theatre technicians about the sonic requirements within the space. It was established that the new system needed to handle spoken word applications just as well as amplified music for gigs and concerts.

Quays Theatre Manchester L-Acoustics Installation

The Solution

Following a detailed site survey and acoustic modelling along with detailed listening tests, the introduction of a distributed L-Acoustics solution was then proposed mainly for its coherence, rich-tone, and admirable power handling capabilities.

To fully optimise the system in the theatre, loudspeaker placement required some creativity and this is where Adlib’s knowledge of the L-Acoustics product range along with their broad experience installing sound solutions in a variety of busy performance venues proved to be invaluable.

Some of the house signal and loudspeaker circuits already in place were modified and optimised to facilitate the new loudspeaker system, this included the extension of some loudspeaker cable circuits and the relocation of others. The main signal patch-bay was also extended and modified to simplify signal connectivity from a variety of in-house mixing desks including Soundcraft and Yamaha consoles.

At Woodward’s request, Adlib engineers re-used as much of the original system infrastructure as was physically possible. This included redeploying a number of loudspeakers circuits that had previously seen limited use due to their original placement.

Quays Theatre Manchester Audio Patch Panel

The Result

When initially considering loudspeaker placement for the space there were a number of restrictions including the venue’s stage width and format combined with relatively low ceiling heights at all nearfield side seating positions. This could have potentially compromised the sound coverage by restricting the maximum sound pressure levels that could be achieved.

This problem was circumnavigated in two ways: A series of bespoke mechanical extension brackets were supplied and installed allowing greater distances to be maintained between the nearest seats to and the proscenium 12XTs on upper tiers.

The timeframe for the installation was relatively tight – two weeks to get everything installed and commissioned. The operation was carried out with the usual Adlib efficiency and there has been good feedback from the in-house technicians who are impressed with the solution.

Quays Theatre Manchester Audio Installation

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