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Auckland observatory sees stars with Harman upgrade

Auckland observatory sees stars with Harman upgrade

Auckland observatory sees stars with Harman upgrade

New Zealand:

Auckland’s Stardome Observatory and Planetarium has upgraded its cinema and live performance venue with a Harman Professional networked surround sound system supplied by distributor JPRO and installed by AV integration company Avid Automation

The Stardome’s observatory opened to the public in 1967, while the planetarium – the largest in New Zealand – launched in 1997. The venue features a panoramic theatre with a full-dome concave screen, laser projectors and IMAX angled seating for 360° viewing. Doubling as a cinema and live performance venue, the Stardome needed a versatile sound system that would be easy for staff and volunteers to operate on a wide range of events

“The primary use of the system is to provide an immersive 5.1 cinema experience, but the theatre also doubles as a live performance venue for small bands and events – everything from strings to electronica,” said Darian Sundar, director of Avid Automation. “So, in addition to offering an accurate cinematic experience, the system needed to be capable of handling larger SPL to accommodate live performances.”

A range of JBL AE Series loudspeakers comprise the theater’s surround sound system. JBL AM7215/95 high-power two-way loudspeakers provide the left and right channels, with a single AM7215/26 loudspeaker with a 120°x60° rotatable waveguide for the centre channel. For the surround channels, JBL AC18/95 compact two-way loudspeakers were chosen as their enclosure design allows for installation close to the ceiling. Additionally, three JBL VTX B18 18-inch subwoofers provide a bass foundation.

“The AE Series speakers are specifically manufactured for theatrical sound design and performing arts facilities, so we knew that they would suit the scope of this project perfectly,” said Paul Edlin, sales director, JPRO.

“The cardioid sub-array configuration is simply magic and is an integral part of the system design,” added Sundar. “It allows the performance volume of the bass to be focused in the room without spilling into the foyer and office areas.”

Two Crown DriveCore CDi 4|1200BL power amplifiers power the system, with pre-loaded JBL speaker tunings that allow the amplifiers and speakers to work together. The amplifiers interface with a BSS BLU-806 signal processor via Dante, providing signal routing and control including the ability to interface with the venue’s fire evacuation system.

A Soundcraft Si Performer digital mixer has also been installed, with a Dante interface card allowing signals to be output to the BSS and Crown backend, while a Soundcraft Mini Stagebox 16 provides additional inputs onstage for larger performances. Avid Automation collaborated with Stardome organisers to design an intuitive, easy-to-operate user interface.

“A system of this nature is a significant investment,” concluded Sundar. “The venue is open to the public with performances six days a week, requiring the system to work day-in and day-out. Localised support, reliability and versatility were key in our decision-making.”

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