Jan 07, 2011

Music Venues

JBL VRX and Soundcraft Vi1 serve up Rich Mix

LONDON, United KingdomShoreditch Arts Centre upgrades 450-capacity live room.

Rich Mix, Shoreditch's thriving multi-arts and community centre, is now treating clients to its 450-capacity live room with superior sound reproduction — thanks to the installation of a JBL VRX line array system and Soundcraft Vi1 digital mixing desk.

Occupying an old five-storey industrial building originally used as a clothing factory, the social enterprise Rich Mix originally opened with three state-of-the-art cinema screens four and a half years ago, showing world cinema and first run movies.

But far from being purely an art house it started to run events in the bar — and under the supervision of director, Jane Earl, this is one of the activities that has taken off.

Technical manager Glenford Barnes had been far from happy with the previous sound system, the shortcomings of which were exacerbated by the highly reverberant concrete and glass box it found itself in. "We had issues with our speakers and needed to upgrade," he confirmed. "So we decided to go the whole way and change to an easier-to-operate live mixing desk at the same time."

Set with a fixed budget he started to make enquiries — and his search quickly led him to Sound Technology, the Harman Pro distributors. "We needed a versatile system for speech reproduction — as we stage a lot of poetry and spoken word — as well as music. I've bought Harman equipment in the past and as soon as the system was demoed, I was sold."

Supply and installation was carried out by Southeastern Audio. Two pole-mounted JBL VRX932LAP 12" two-way powered line array loudspeakers atop a pair of VRX918SP front-loaded 18" powered subwoofers are situated stage left and stage right.

"The VRX line arrays give us much better coverage, eliminating the 'dead' area we had before. The top end was my concern and with the JBL's this is vastly improved. Especially now that we've added curtains and blocked off the mezzanine gallery space to deaden the room the system delivers not only the power but the clarity too."

As for the mixing desk, Glenford states, "We've had eight to ten different engineers now working the Vi1 and all love it. Several had already trained on the larger Vi6 [Soundcraft's original Vi desk] so were instantly familiar with the Vi1's interface."

"Everyone loves the desk for its ease of use, particularly those engineers used to analogue, as it behaves like an analogue desk." A single-wire CAT5 infrastructure and newly constructed control booth, now situated right at the back of the room to offer better sightlines to stage, complete the fit-out.

So as Rich Mix continues to offer a broad programme of film, performing arts, spoken word, education, and other creative endeavours to East London communities— seven days a week from 9am-11pm — it can do so safe in the knowledge that its live music room is functioning under the reinforcement of some of the industry's leading brands.

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