Jun 14, 2005

Music Venues


--Two first-class cruise ships join the Thomson Cruises fleet this summer, fully equipped with new sound reinforcement systems in their public areas, installed by Delta Sound Inc., the south London audio specialist. Both the MV Destiny and the MS Celebration now carry Soundcraft's new GB8 8-bus audio mixing consoles in their main entertainment lounges, kept shipshape and seaworthy by Furman power conditioners.

Thomson Cruises’ new ships, each carrying between 1250-1450 passengers, have been through extensive refits at yards in Falmouth and Athens. Their entertainment and leisure facilities have been extensively refurbished, and the consultancy Fisher Marine was called upon to design sound and lighting systems to match.

On board, ambitious standards of performance and presentation mean that live bands and acts can be seen every night of the cruise. In the Celebration's main theatre, the Broadway Show Lounge, for example, 12 West End-style revues are staged every fortnight. To find the right combination of features to meet this demanding live schedule, Delta Sound worked with Marquee Audio, the main equipment supplier for this contract.

“Marquee suggested we look at a new desk, the Soundcraft GB8,” recalls Delta technical manager Daren Hirst. “We got hold of a demo desk and found that it had a lot of impressive ‘studio’ facilities, but what clinched it was the output matrix. It was the only desk of that size, from any of the main manufacturers, which had a matrix, and enough outputs to allow for all the feeds to other areas, such as running full audio from the lounges to the on-board TV service.”

As well as the GB8s, for the main venues, Delta Sound chose the LX7 and FX16 mixers from Soundcraft’s range for use in the secondary entertainment lounges and on the outside deck. These were also sourced from Marquee Audio, together with a substantial quantity of the latest generation of Furman’s legendary 20 amp power conditioners,10x PL-ProE IIs and 6x AR2330 30A Mains Conditioners.

“On board, all power comes from the ship's generators,” explains Daren. “The Furman power conditioners manage the voltage irregularities fluctuating round the ship; they can run from 160V-300V and yet still provide a supply that we consider appropriate for the sensitive audio equipment. We also used their power distribution systems, 1 in/15 out, to give us really well controlled distribution.”

Soundcraft's GB8 mixing consoles is available in frame sizes from 16 to 48 channels, each with four full-function stereo channels and four stereo returns. The GB8 has a dual-mode topology which allows it to be used on FOH or monitor duties, with fader control of group or aux outputs. Additional features over the GB4 include a 1kHz oscillator and a meter bridge with three led meters that very closely emulate the ballistics of VU meters. Four mute groups allow several channels to be muted simultaneously, while another unique facility is the limiter on both the Record and Alternate stereo outputs that makes it easier to create a stereo recording of the mix. The console also features an output matrix with 11 feeds to four outputs, being fed from the group busses and main L, R and C (mono) outputs.

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