Vancouver, Canada (January 24, 2011)—The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts located in Vancouver recently upgraded its floor monitoring system with Adamson M15 wedges powered by Lab.gruppen PLM 10000Q amps
The venue sports three venues: The Chan Shun Concert Hall, which seats 1,200; the 'black box'-style Telus Theatre, holding 275 patrons; and the Royal Bank Cinema, which has a capacity of 160.
Jay O'Keeffe, Chan Centre's Head Sound Technician organized an extensive shootout to upgrade the existing floor monitoring system, bringing in no less than 17 models from eight different manufacturers.
Both self-powered and conventional monitors were included, as were various driver and horn sizes. For the non-powered wedges, in order to ensure that the testing process was as un-biased as possible, Lab.gruppen PLM 10000 amps were used in all instances, and comparisons were conducted as un-processed, as well as with recommended factory presets. Each monitor was level balanced to ensure that the listening tests were only concerned with frequency and depth of field and not the audible perception of power differentials. With a 105dBa specification for the floor monitors, precisely controlled dispersion was deemed very important. Also, performance at multiple heights--including standing, seated and floor level--was another key factor.
The testing process utilized the Smaart acoustic analysis program to perform on axis and off axis, FFT measurements of the frequency response, phase and magnitude response, as well as the sound pressure level and sensitivity of each monitor. This was done in order to verify that the monitors responded in situ in a manner similar to the published specifications of the manufacturer. As per the established testing protocol, the AES standard A weighted shaped swept sine wave of 24 seconds duration and the AES standard Pink Noise were used as test stimuli, and the results measured and compared.
Besides performing measurements, listening tests were also performed, using the test stimulus. O'Keeffe enlisted Grammy Award-winning, multi-instrumentalist Randy Raine-Ruesch to assist them by playing a large array of complex instruments.
"He came in with a collection of about 30 of the hardest instruments in the world to mic,” O’Keeffe said. “The Japanese Sho and Ichigenkin, nose flutes from Borneo, all dramatically different instruments and all capable of incredibly complex harmonics and overtones. Because our room has dramatically variable acoustics (reverb decay times ranging from 2.6 to 4.9 seconds), and because the expectations for clarity of tone by the artists who grace our stage is so high, it was important to have products that not only provided a clear and concise frequency response, but were flexible, so we could adjust numerous parameters in very subtle ways.”
Raine-Ruesch's opinions and observations of the tone quality, depth of field and overall performance helped, said O'Keeffe: "It was interesting that one product that had some of the best results as per the AES standards was amongst the least musical and had the poorest depth of field; this was apparent within a few seconds of hearing a musician playing live."
After the initial testing, three preferred products were short-listed and re-evaluated in numerous scenarios. The testing was conducted by utilizing the product for a one month period during numerous performances in the Concert Hall. Ultimately it was a combination of 10 Adamson M15 wedges with Lab.gruppen PLM 10000Qs that won out for both sonic quality and ease of use. O’Keeffe remarked, “That was one of the great things about choosing these products; they’re so flexible and we were able to train guys up in no time at all.” The Adamson monitors were purchased with flight cases for easy mobility and the PLMs were mounted in a portable rolling rack.
Adamson Systems Engineering
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts