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EM Acoustics’ sound system deployed for Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax

The Square Chapel was recently renovated and equipped with EM Acoustics loudspeakers

EM Acoustics has kitted out The Square Chapel with a comprehensive new sound system. 

Systems integrator, Sound and Light Concepts, was recruited to supply, install and commission the audio and lighting equipment for the two performance spaces at the multi-purpose auditorium. Both performance rooms and cinema were equipped with a DCI-compliant package as well as stages. The sound systems are expected to operate as a full L/C/R concert system whilst offering full 5.1 surround sound for the cinema.

Head of technical and operations at The Square Chapel, Martin Clarke, said: “It wasn’t an easy brief. However, EM Acoustics was presented as a possible option, and having heard an EM system some years ago and very much liked it, I jumped at the opportunity to hear one again. When we heard it demo’d, we really loved the warmth of the EM boxes compared to other systems. In fact, we described it as an acoustic hug – it’s like giving your ears a cuddle! We also felt that that they could deliver the diversity we need, from theatre, to live music, to cinema to the spoken word – the flexibility was very important to us. Finally – and this is so important – we could afford it. It’s no use loving something if it’s way outside your budget, otherwise it’s just a dream.”

Tom Bottomley, of Sound and Light Concepts, said: “The existing auditorium was an extremely difficult space to spec as the only real option for mounting the FOH speakers was at high level. This was due to the fact that the cinema screen runs virtually the full width of the auditorium. Mounting the speakers to each side of the screen would have been impossibly wide, so mounting them high – essentially above the screen – was our only option, especially as we also had to avoid sight-lines.”

Bottomley and Clarke selected EM Acoustics full range MSE-159 cabinets to be horizontally mounted to left and right. “If the budget had run to HALO-C, we’d have used those, but actually, the MSE-159s are an excellent compromise,” said Bottomley. “The rotatable waveguide means that we can mount them horizontally, and the EM Acoustics signature passive design delivers stunning sound quality. The wide 60- x 90-degree dispersion suited our requirements perfectly. We added a pair of EMS-121X compact 12” speakers for FOH centre with a pair of EMS-81Xs at the back of the hall for the rear surround sound, all supplemented with a pair of EMS-118 subs for low end reinforcement. The entire system is driven by one AQ-10 and one AD-9 for six channels of amplification.”

The Copper Auditorium system is designed on the same principle, but as it is a smaller space it uses EMS-81X cabinets for FOH L/C/R and EMS-51s for the rear supplemented by a single EMS-115 subwoofer.

Clarke added: “The response from visiting companies is fantastic. They love to come to us now and have total confidence in the system. It actually exceeds people’s expectations, especially for theatre. It’s also going down well with the music acts, even the louder ones. We’ve had lots of nice comments about the monitors, too. People appreciate their small footprint and warm, musical sound.”