Abu Dhabi, UAE (March 24, 2010)–The 7-star Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, with its grand marble entrance and gold-leaf atrium overlooking the Persian Gulf, is one of the world’s most impressive-looking buildings. Operated by the Kempinski Hotel Group, among its many corporate conference and meeting room facilities is a giant ballroom. Measuring approximately 265 by 80 feet, it can accommodate up to 2,800 people.
AV system integrator, Bond Communications, was tasked with replacing and retrofitting a new sound system that would not only serve the ballroom space as a complete unit, or in its three separate, divisible modes, but also do so discreetly, aesthetically and with simple control and operation. The system also had to deliver intelligibility across the frequency spectrum for presentations but also be capable of concert-style reinforcement from a conventional Left/Right stage system, when the venue was cranked up for live entertainment.
Bond decided that a combination of Martin Audio’s OmniLine scalable micro-line array, in conjunction with a W8LC compact line array would cover all bases. Richard Maunder, from Martin Audio’s Dubai-based distributors VTI; and Peter Child, Martin Audio’s applications engineer, were brought in to provide design support and EASE program measurements.
“It was decided to use line-array loudspeakers for the main front-of-house system as these have more ‘throw’ than a conventional loudspeaker, and the dispersion pattern is very predictable thus offering more control over the large coverage area,” observes Child.
Normally, to cover a distance such as the length of the ballroom, a long line array, accurately articulated and flown, would suffice and delays would not be needed. However, with the relatively low ceiling height of the ballroom, a different approach was required. A shorter, five-box array of W8LCs each side, has been supported at the bottom of the hang by a single W8LCD down-fill box; the addition of four delay points, comprising time-aligned W8LCDs, evenly distribute the sound further down the room. Used only as required (rather than part of a permanent install), this delay system reportedly maintains the tonality and dynamics of the system.
Although mounted discreetly behind an acoustically transparent cloth, the W8LC would generally function more than adequately as a full-range system. However, also incorporated into the design are eight WS218X dual 18-inch subwoofers (four per side) providing low-end extension that can be used as required. For stage monitoring, 10 Martin Audio LE1200S floor wedges have also been supplied.