Nov 09, 2007

Music Venues

Soundcraft Rocks Out In Cyprus

--Premium Soundcraft MH-series analogue desks have been installed in Cyprus’s leading rock venue — largely at the request of the sound engineers.

Avlea, in the island capital of Nicosia, has doubled in size since being taken over by owners George Ioannou, Charalambous Xenos and John Ioannou five years ago, and now attracts some of the best artists from Greece.

Most of the investment in the 933-capacity venue has taken place this summer, with an extended stage and acoustic insulation to the floors and walls (provided by Pan Acoustics from Limassol), to prevent sound leakage.

The venue, which can also be configured cabaret style, with table seating for 400, approached A.L.A Equipment Co for a sound system that would satisfy the wide demands of quality rock and traditional music from Cyprus and the Greece mainland, and lead them into the digital era.

Said George Ioannou, “We already had a relationship with Andrea Piemonti and Tony Lyssiotis at A.L.A and we felt comfortable that the system they proposed would work. We have improved the club systematically and spent nearly £600,000 (sterling) in preparation for Cyprus’s admission to the EU next January.”

At the heart of their spend was a 56-channel MH3 at FOH, followed soon after by a 40-channel MH4 on the stage — part of a complete Harman Pro solution.

Both resident FOH engineer Christos Pappoulis and monitor man Ierides Loukas have a wide knowledge of (and respect for) Soundcraft desks.

The latter’s father Mike operates one of the island’s prominent rental companies, Nicosia-based V&M, who stock a range of Soundcraft desks, including SM20, Series 5, MH3 and MH4 (and have road-tested the new digital Soundcraft Vi6™).

“The MH3 desk sounds extremely nice,” says Ierides. “I like the practicality of the aux groups and the full parametric knobs which are functional and easy to use, and there is no problem finding the right gain for any line. The VCA gain is also accurate.

Speaking of the MH consoles, Ierides added “Soundcraft is just beautiful and you feel really motivated to work with it.”

The stage communicates with the FOH desk by phantom power, and Ierides regularly sends a monitor mix to FOH, where Christos is stationed in the balcony control booth. The FOH man praises the quality of sound produced by the MH4, the operational simplicity and instant access to the desk’s features.

Feeds are sent to a JBL VRX system comprising two hangs of four 932LA’s over the newly-extended stage, with a pair of SRX 728 subs recessed under the stage apron.

Transmission operates over HiQnet and the line array is powered by Crown I-Tech 6000 digital amplifiers. These connect directly to Crown IQ Networks, and are controlled by HiQnet over Ethernet. A dbx DriveRack 4800 handles all the system limiting and loudspeaker management, controlled through the I-Tech amplifiers.

Outboard equipment includes industry-standard Lexicon PCM-91 digital FX unit, six dbx 160A compressors, dbx 3231L EQ (for FOH) and dbx 2231 EQ (for stage), and BSS DPR-504 4-channel noise gate.

The venue trades four days a week, running through to 4am on Friday and Saturday, and has hosted appearances by popular acts including Savvopoulos, Mahairitsas, Kotsiras and Gilad Atzmon.

Thus Avlea has become a perfect complement for the owners’ other venue — a café called Puzzle Coffeeplays — and they promise there is a lot more to come.

One man who is certainly planning to stay, after a lifetime of touring, is Ierides Loukas. “There is a lot of enthusiasm being shown by the owners of this club and I am now more than happy to remain here as resident engineer,” he says.

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