A first-class installation at BA Headquarters
We are delighted to announce that when British Airways looked to redesign their 500+ seat Lecture Theatre at Waterside, they chose to collaborate with our award-winning team to design and deliver a state-of- the-art sound system.
Whilst the technology providing the theatre’s visual experiences was excellent, it was apparent that the audio system was no longer fit for purpose. In a year that would see British Airways celebrate its centenary, time would be a factor in getting this project off the ground.
With the existing distributed point source system, the acoustic energy being emitted into the room would quickly amass, resulting in poor clarity. Our clients would often receive complaints of users not being able to hear the presenters and struggle with volume output.
An additional challenge was discovered in the shape of retractable seating which posed an issue by acting as a highly reflective surface. With this in mind, our expert team was called-upon to lend its meticulous research and innovative design to the project. A flying visit from our Senior Application Engineer; Ben Spurgeon, revealed that the downfalls of the existing install. The building presented challenging features such as curved walls and high ceilings, meaning the current system was struggling to cover the room and delivering poor acoustics.
Our Senior Application Engineer Ben picks up the story:
“I went away and created 3D acoustic models for the space, modelling different speaker types and layouts to find a solution that looked viable. We quickly found that the Nexo Geo M6 system could easily achieve the room coverage whilst not over-exciting the room’s acoustics. Powerful,flexible and compact, the Nexo M6 offered uncompromised full-range sound when flown as a full line array system without the need for our clients to hire PA systems for different sized events. It was a requirement that any solution had little visual impact so this remained a consideration throughout the research and design.”
With event deadlines looming, quick project progress was essential. Our extensive inventory allowed us to quickly showcase an on-site demonstration with the proposed Nexo equipment for a proof of concept.
A single hang of six Nexo M6 cabinets were flown next to the stage, in the proposed location. Even with a single mono hang, it became immediately clear to the client that there was a substantial upgrade in the performance over the existing system. By opting for the small format line array, it was possible to tightly control the dispersion on the vertical plane and therefore avoid over-exciting the room.
This system design also allowed for the top half of the array to be muted when just the main floor area of the space was in use without the seating, which tightened coverage patterns. As the existing system was still in place, a side-by-side comparison clearly showed the proposed solution was justified.
Full consideration was given to ensure BA could easily integrate future opportunities in the digital domain. Ben comments,* “With the opportunity for investment from the team at BA, we saw real worth in bringing the whole system in-line with the latest technologies of our industry. Utilising Dante enabled equipment, we bought every element onto the network including the microphones (Shure ULXD), amplifiers (Nexo NXAmpMk2) and mixing console. This allows the client to manage and monitor the entire system from a master PC and in future, expansion is simply provided via the network.”*
After site visits and the bespoke proof of concept, the confirmed mounting locations and required kit were confirmed with BA and the green light was given on the project. All of the equipment was tested, rigged and installed by an experienced team within an impressive timescale.
Andrew Tillet, AV Technician for British Airways, was very impressed with the system performance, saying:
“This was an exciting opportunity to make significant improvements to our sound system and provide a fully immersive listening experience for everyone at BA. We recognised that quite a radical overhaul would be required and the difference is now ‘night and day’. Our system can be configured to meet all of our different needs for the space and allows for future expansion due to the networked infrastructure we now have.”
What we say...
We were delighted to be working with British Airways and their AV supplier in a joint venture that offered the opportunity to completely transform the sound experience in their lecture theatre. We are renowned for our in-house design and support capabilities, and this project proves we can craft innovative, high performance audio solutions in an acoustically demanding environment.
Anna ShahinApplication Support Engineer, Audiologic