Based in Auckland, New Zealand, the independent Kristin School recently upgraded the sound system in its main 1000-seat auditorium, with a Martin Audio TORUS solution.

With a student body of 1,800, the demand for impeccable sound quality was paramount. This need was even more pronounced given Kristin School’s esteemed reputation for performing arts, where it regularly stages four full-scale productions each year, many of which are based on illustrious West End and Broadway productions. As a result, the school understood that their audio system specifications need to meet the exacting standards of a professional musical.

Following a recommendation from within the theatre world they brought in the highly experienced touring systems engineer Ratu Gordon to design the system. This was supplied by Jansen Professional Audio, Martin Audio’s New Zealand distributor.

Ratu Gordon already had a strong relationship with Jansen, having earlier supplied two other sizeable Martin Audio systems, commissioned by the designer, prior to this. “At Kristin School I was initially asked to advise and consult based on my experience and what was most important to the client,” he explained.

Ratu Gordon, System engineer

At the same time, according to Jansen director, Simon Adams, the timing coincided with his company conducting a demo of TORUS, at which Ratu was present. “He was able to have time to listen, and the sound of the TORUS boxes was very interesting to him. We gave him a quick rundown on TORUS and DISPLAY [dedicated software] and he went off to model it.”

The designer’s task had been to commission a system that “would have all the character and functionality of a professional audio system, with full frequency and even SPL coverage through the entire audience area.”

He explained, “Initially I listened to their existing system to make an assessment. From there, and knowing Martin Audio’s capabilities, it was very clear that this was the way forward. Many hours were spent in DISPLAY software running different scenarios and best outcomes. This definitely had a large hand in understanding how the whole system would behave.”

The solution was for a flown L/C/R system, comprising a combination of TORUS T1215 and T1230 for the Left and Right hangs and a Wavefront Precision (WPM) centre cluster (all in 3-box hangs). CDD6s provided infills. Because the orchestra occupied the space immediately in front of the stage, ruling out an arced array, four Martin Audio SX218 subs were deployed, in stacked positions left and right of the stage.

Explaining his choice, Ratu Gordon said, “I opted for TORUS in particular for its coverage and throw capabilities, size-to-weight ratio and high output. No matter where you are in the room, and in front of any element—whether CDD6 or main TORUS—the coverage and voicing are exactly the same.”

The six CDD6 infills were complemented by a further six CDD6 under-balcony—both set up to recall snapshots for the main Left and Right hangs. Meanwhile stage monitors comprise six Blackline X10 and six Blackline X15.

However, getting the new rig up in the air was far from a straightforward process, as Ratu Gordon explained. “The roof rigging had to be strengthened, not because of weight loading, but for the reason of hanging the PA where it actually needed to be to achieve the best design result. I had explained to the client that flown speaker placement was of high priority to achieving the design result.”

Thanks to his fastidious prep work, and the quality of the products themselves, the system required very little processing once installed. “I loaded the predefined box presets and then launched into taking trace files of the room. The software had modelled the system response brilliantly as expected. From there I timed the system and attenuated only the low mid elements (which was based on the rooms existing standing waves).”

At handover, his attention to detail extended to a week-long operator training for the audio department, leaving no-one in any doubt that the TORUS solution would meet all requirements. “It’s absolutely 100%,” states the designer. “Put simply it’s a proper system.”

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