Adamson hits the right notes for Chess

An Adamson S10 line array system supplied by pro audio specialists, The Warehouse Sound Services, hit all the right notes during a sell-out run of the 1980s musical, Chess, at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre last month.

Students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) achieved critical acclaim after staging the West End and Broadway hit show in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Warehouse, alongside the RCS’s sound designer, Calum Paterson and lecturer in sound, Gavin Jenkinson, developed a complex sound design for the show.

The Edinburgh run was the first time the musical theatre show had transferred from the Conservatoire’s New Athenaeum Theatre to the professional stage. It also allowed music and production students to transfer their skills to the professional stage for the first time.

Professor Andrew Panton, artistic director of musical theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, commented: “Chess is by far the most technically ambitious production we’ve ever tackled and, once again, the process has been special because of the student, staff and guest creative team collaboration.”

The Warehouse has worked with the RCS for over a decade installing sound solutions for many of its live theatre and music shows.

The layout of the 2000 capacity auditorium was the main audio challenge as the sloped stalls seating and two levels of sloped balcony seating, which wrap around all three walls. This requires a lot of vertical coverage, as sound designer Calum Paterson wanted to reach every level with the main hangs.

In order to ensure even coverage for every seat in the house, 24 Adamson S10 line array sound speakers where flown left and right of the stage. A total of 8 S119 subwoofers were also utilised to reinforce low end all powered with Lab Gruppen PLM20K44 amplifiers. A Digico SD10 mixing console was used on front of house with 24 ways Shure UHF-R radio mics for the cast and a mix of AKG, Shure, Sennheiser and DPA microphones for the 27 members of the orchestra.

Calum Paterson, sound designer for the RCS, commented: “With a 2000 seat auditorium in mind, I needed a system that would not only provide excellent coverage but one that would provide the level of performance required for modern musical theatre.

“After hearing the Adamson S10 Line Array combined with the S119 Subwoofer, I was convinced that this was the system for this show. It gave us the clarity and detail that we needed while also being able to blow our audience away. The power from the S119 Sub is nothing short of incredible and when you combine 8 of them in a Sub Array along the front of a stage, they really pack a punch. Exactly what we needed!

“The most impressive feature of the S10 Line Array is the clarity you receive, even at high levels, couple that with the 110 Degree horizontal coverage, it meant every seat was covered, providing an outstanding stereo image for the show.”

Derek Blair, director of the Warehouse, added: ‘The Adamson S10 line array system performed extremely well so much so that for the first time under balcony delay loudspeakers where not required to cover the rear stalls as the throw and coverage was so good. A few of our industry colleagues who went to see the show have contacted us since to say how well they thought the Adamson S10 performed in this situation.”

The Conservatoire, which was founded in 1847 as the Glasgow Educational Association was named as one of the world’s top three performing arts education institutions and the number one higher education institution in Scotland for graduate employability.

Gavin Jenkinson, lecturer in sound technology at the RSC, who oversaw the sound on the show said: “As line-array quality is very important, we were entering into slightly uncharted waters for us, by considering the Adamson S10 array for Chess The Musical, in the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. I had heard the system in use at an outdoor classical music concert in 2016, and had no doubt in its output and clarity.”


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