New sound for “Grandpa Durov’s Corner”

Durov Theatre is very well-known in Moscow both by children and their parents: it’s one of the oldest animal theatres in Moscow. Recently its sound equipment has been totally renewed by MixArt, a Moscow-based company. Igor Eremin, professional audio and installation product specialist, told us about the project.

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ZG: Durov Theatre has a very rich history and is a very important theatre for Moscow and Russia. Where did the idea of renewing the equipment come from?

IR: This theatre is not simply famous all over the country… I don’t think I’ll exaggerate if I say that every person living in Moscow and suburbs visited it at least once in his or her life. Our parents took us there when we were children and today our generation takes their grandchildren to this theatre. By the way, Durov’s Theatre had its 100th anniversary last year! The idea or better the necessity to renew the audio equipment was born naturally: the equipment was old obsolete and worn out.

ZG: Which features of the hall did you need to take into account in the design phase?

IR: First of all, Durov’s Theatre’s house has a very particular shape: it is a half-circle, very high amphitheatre. The last row of the chairs is situated about 10 meters high from the floor. Common acoustic systems that were used in the hall couldn’t provide even sound coverage. In this situation the most rational solution was that of using a line array, and that is what we did: we installed a compact active line array KLA by QSC.

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Secondly, the stage is very deep and also protrudes into the sitting area, so we needed monitor lines able to let the performers hear themselves well in every point of the stage. And it was absolutely forbidden to put the monitors on the stage: elephants or bears could accidentally step over them…

By the way, the mere fact of having quite big performing animals required a double care as far as trussing was concerned. We had to exclude any minimal chance of equipment falling because it might scare the animals that, on their turn, might become dangerous for the children in the hall if something of the kind happens during the show.

ZG: Which equipment was replaced and why?

IR: The hall mounted 30 years old acoustic systems that were hung on the walls at the height of the last row, so they were absolutely unable to provide uniform sound coverage. Moreover, the equipment was simply worn out and has turned old. We also replaced old analogue mixers with a new digital mixing system, Allen & Heath GLD.

IMG_0494_300ZG: Please tell us about the criteria that you followed when choosing the equipment.

IR: To achieve  even sound coverage and consistent SPL throughout the whole seating area we decided to use an active line array QSC KLA. Thanks to 18 ° vertical dispersion of KLA12 array elements it was enough to use only four of them per side. We didn’t even need subwoofers: KLA12 working in “DEEP” mode provide solid and intelligible low frequencies. To hang the line array clusters we used a special frame, KLA AF12, that enabled a precise setting of the tilt angle, since it allows you to tune the angle with a very small step. The KLA line array was very handy for this project also because it is an active system, so we didn’t need to search for the space where to put the racks with the amplifiers and the cables.

We also installe  three lines of stage monitors: two above the stage and one along the half-circle parapet that separates the stage from the seating area. Four QSC I-282H acoustic systems (two per row) were hung above the stage using special brackets – yokes- that are mounted on flying bars. Along the parapet eight QSC AD-S52 acoustic systems are mounted on brackets. Every monitor line can be set up and controlled independently since each one is fed by a dedicated output channel of the Allen & Heath GLD mixing system. Monitor lines are powered by the QSC RMX850 and RMX2450 amplifiers.

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The Allen & Heath GLD digital mixing system that we installed in the theatre consists of a GLD-80 console and GLD-AR2412 and GLD-AR84 expander I/O racks; it was selected for this project for several reasons. Firstly, it has a user-friendly interface similar to that of analogue mixers, so it would have been easier for sound engineers and technical staff of the theatre to learn how to use it even if they had never used a digital mixer before.

Secondly, it is a very compact system, so we were able to install it inside the hall, at the back of the seating area, instead of putting it into a closed audio control room, thus creating more comfortable working conditions for the sound engineer. Thirdly, GLD s price is quite moderate, especially if you consider its price against functionallity and quality of sound. And, of course, GLD allowes  the theatre’s engineers to benefit from all the advantages of digital mixing technologies: now they can save presents for each performance and then quickly recall them, use the built-in FX and dynamics processing (for example, they don’t have to switch on and off the mics during the show manually anymore, they use gates instead).

ZG: Did you have any difficulties during the installation??

IR: The most important difficulty was not to interfere with the rehearsals that went on following the rehearsal plan also during the installation work. Fortunately most of the animals, except for the goats, were quite tolerant: they weren’t afraid of the drill’s noise and didn’t distract from the rehearsals.
I would also like to mention that this project included a lot of educational and training work with  theatre’s technicians and sound engineers. As I already said,  they were used to analogue mixers and didn’t have any experience with digital mixing systems before, so it was our major concern to make the transition from analogue to digital as painless as for them possible.  We organised a special seminar for them and continue to assist and advise them, even though our help is not required very often, since it’s very easy to learn to use GLD system.
To conclude, I’d like to say that it is an honour for us to be chosen to complete this project. People and animals that work in the Durov’s Theatre give their spectators a huge amount of positive emotions and we are really happy to be a part of it.

 

Anastasia Klinushkina

ZioGiorgio Network

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