As a key member of the project team at FACE, Martin Audio’s Belgian distributor, Steven Kemland played a major role in developing the sound systems at the Plopsa theme parks in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland—starting with Plopsa Indoor Hasselt, which opened in December 2005. Since then Martin Audio SR solutions have been a fairly constant feature of the various zonal installations and upgrades.

But just over a year ago a separate integration company, called Concept10 was set up by Kemland and partner Stijn Vermeiren, and while FACE remains an important supplier the operation enables them to provide not just audio, but a full turnkey audio visual, content and network integration.

Successive generations of Martin Audio speakers, from C115 to CDD and now TORUS constant curvature and FlexPoint have been specified for Plopsa, the most recent being the complex inside the area known as the Kiosk Village Square. This is dominated by an island stage where every morning and evening a show takes place (featuring Plopsa characters) while during the weekend different music groups take to the bandstand.

Previously Kemland had worked with Martin Audio to get products weatherised, and it was this first custom solution for CDD that had informed the development of the CDD-WR series for outdoor use.

Weatherproofing was again one of a number of requirements set out by the client for the refit of the Kiosk Stage and Square, inside the main entrance at Plopsaland de Panne. Kemland takes up the story.

Pieter Dewaegeneere, Plopsa Investment Team

“The Kiosk stage was built 12 years ago, when we installed three [Martin Audio] XD15 a side with WS218X subs. But 12 years is a long time—the stage was getting used more and more and instead of the anticipated maximum of 1000 people, during the weekend there would now be as many as 3000 people watching a show.”

Hence coverage became an issue. Not only would a line array be prohibitively expensive, he rationalised, but also the wrong solution since the audience is wrapped 160° around the stage which is open on all sides. “So we realised what we had to do was install TORUS to provide an even dispersion of 30 metres wide but 160° around the stage.

“We also wanted to have good dispersion across the complete square, which measures 50m x 80m. However, it also needed to be quieter at the back because there were fountains and things for children. So the sound needed to remain clear but drop by 10dB—and that’s working really great with TORUS, as at the end of the square, once you are beyond the 30-metre area, you have a nice sloping off of the sound. In that respect, TORUS is working perfectly.”

To accomplish this, a hanging cluster of four TORUS T1230 a side, augmented by a pair of FlexPoint FP8 on pillars, set 2m high on either side, provide downfill coverage, while a pair of S218X on either side provide low frequency extension.

“It’s the first time that we have integrated TORUS into a project, and it is providing a perfect solution,” says Steven Kemland. “The FP8s are also working great, and that is such a nice box,” adds the installer.

But the icing on the cake is once again the special WR version that was a joint venture between Martin Audio and Concept10. “Martin Audio delivered the boxes with a weatherised grille, and we took it from there, making special plates top and bottom, as well as a backplate—so now it’s completely waterproof. This type of custom work is something we are able to do now that we are independent, which we couldn’t have done previously.”

In January there will be a complete upgrade and harmonisation of the network (which is presently split between Dante and other platforms). CDD5 and CDD6’s will replace older Martin Audio C115s around the entrance, while various other zones in the Kiosk, including retail, will be upgraded. “We will have our own switches and network on separate fibre,” promises Kemland.

Rather than operate as an independent zone, the Kiosk is now tied into the voice evac, receiving emergency announcements that will duck the BGM. The network upgrade will allow any sound source to be routed to any zone on the suite. “For example, we can send DJ or live music to the complete park if we wish.”

Pieter Dewaegeneere from the Plopsa Investment Team confirms that all requirements have been met and the flexibility of the new network and sound upgrade will see the park safely into the future. “Plopsa has been working with the people behind the new Concept10, and their Martin Audio products for many years,” he confirmed. “For the Kiosk we were looking for a compact installation with a very wide distribution. The TORUS cluster provides a perfect answer to our needs here. With this investment we now have a real ‘live’ feeling on our entrance plaza … 365 days a year.”

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