|9 EV XLD281 three-way elements were flown in a central array, flanked by EV XCS312 cardioid subwoofers|
The University of Limerick is one of Ireland’s most renowned educational establishments and enjoys a high reputation throughout Europe. Founded in 1972, it offers its 11,000 students an ideal learning environment. As well as numerous lecture halls and seminar rooms, the facilities include a 1,000-seater auditorium, the University Concert Hall, which caters to a wide variety of needs. During the day, it is used for lectures, but in the evening it serves as a concert hall offering a diverse programme, with rock bands occupying the stage one day and classical orchestras and choirs the next, followed in time by a mix of folk and jazz musicians, and chamber ensembles. Such a wide spectrum places considerable demands on the sound reinforcement system – demands that the previous system was unable to meet. Something altogether more flexible was required, which is why those responsible decided in advance of the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the university’s founding, to invest in a completely new sound system.
The tendor for the installation was won by Murt Whelan Sound Ltd, a company based in Limerick that had handled a number of musical productions at the university in the past and was known for its expertise and dependability. Here though, not only the firm’s reputation but also the detail of the sound design concept it proposed impressed the decision makers. The key components of this solution were XLD elements from Electro-Voice’s XLVC line array system, which are not only compact but also versatile and recognised for the quality of their reproduction. “The bar was set very high here,” recalls Whelan. “They wanted even coverage throughout the entire hall and the highest possible degree of intelligibility – essential in view of its daytime duties as a lecture hall – and plenty of power and headroom for concerts in the evening. All that, and first class sound quality at all times!”
The installation was rounded off by four compact Electro-Voice ZX1 loudspeakers, five DYNACORD CXM 15 monitors and two Electro-Voice ZXA1 self-powered boxes in the control room
To achieve minimum reverberation, the designers opted for an unusual solution: a mono hang flown above the stage, composed of XLD elements. For this, nine Electro-Voice XLD281 three-way elements were flown in a central array, flanked by Electro-Voice XCS312 cardioid subwoofers. “Our wide range of experience in the rental sector strongly influenced these decisions,” says Whelan – as it did also when it came to the foldback on stage”.
The Electro-Voice loudspeakers in the University Concert Hall provide even coverage of the main seating area with plenty of sound pressure in the lower frequency range. There are two ground stacks flanking the stage comprising in each case four XLD elements and an Xsub – the latter a guarantor of power and punch in the bass frequencies. FRi-2082 two-way loudspeakers have been used for lip fills. For the hard-to-cover balcony area, Murt Whelan opted for two TS400 vertical array loudspeakers from DYNACORD as well as four EVF-1152S systems. These front-loaded loudspeakers represent a comfortable solution to a diverse range of installation tasks, recognised for their combination of high sound pressure levels with low distortion. The installation was rounded off by four compact Electro-Voice ZX1 loudspeakers, five DYNACORD CXM 15 monitors and two Electro-Voice ZXA1 self-powered boxes in the control room.
The system is driven by fifteen Electro-Voice CPS 2.12 amplifiers plus three Electro-Voice PA2250T units for the 100-volt lines. It is governed by two NetMax N8000 digital matrix controllers from Electro-Voice configured using IRIS-Net software. “The custom-configured network here makes it easy to switch between different input sources,” says Whelan. “Whether from the control room or the front-of-house position, you can load any of a variety of set-ups.” You don’t even have to be a technician to use the system; ordinary users quickly find their way around it, “and this, too, is important,” adds Whelan, “as the hall is in use around the clock.”