RG JONES AND MARTIN AUDIO BRING DOWN THE ROOF
Sonic excellence on Centre Court's big day
RG Jones Sound Engineering demonstrated the versatility of their custom Martin Audio AM distributed stadium system when Wimbledon's Centre Court retractable roof received its inauguration at a TV spectacular this month.
A packed crowd assembled to see a programme of exhibition tennis, and were at the same time treated to songs by Katherine Jenkins, Faryl Smith and the four-man classical/pop group Blake. Jenkins and Smith performed Amazing Grace as the opening number to coincide with the roof inching its way across to full cover position for the very first time.
RG Jones worked with production company 360 Events to stage the production, which was broadcast live on BBC2.
RG Jones' Tim Speight, who had joint project managed the installation for The All England Lawn Tennis Club with Jon Berry, explained, 'When the requirements of this system were first set out three years ago, it was specified for a speech-only system - we were told that music events would never be staged there. But the sound on Sunday was magnificent right across the dynamic range'.
Tim's views were echoed by RG Jones' hire department project engineer, Steve Carr, whose team stacked four additional pairs of Martin Audio's WLX subs in each corner, under the two-way AM10 mid-high roof, to boost the low end. 'The Club hierarchy all attended the first soundcheck, which was quite nerve-racking, as it was the first time the system had been used; but their reaction couldn't have been more complimentary.
'For a 100V line distributed system it sounded unbelievable - from the speech intelligibility at court side, to the huge vocal range of Katherine Jenkins the coverage was fantastic.'
Closing the roof served to intensify the sound, he said - however, no real EQ compensation had been necessary.
Carr himself mixed the show from courtside on a 32-channel Yamaha LS9, taking VT play-ins and sending splits to the BBC OB trucks from a 360 Systems Instant Replay broadcast quality playback machine. Katherine Jenkins and Faryl Smith had their sound mixed by Dick Rabel, who also provided Audio Technica mics. Some of the performers were on IEM and presenter Sue Barker used a Sennheiser radio mic with an Omni capsule.
Steve was supported court-side by RG Jones technicians, Matt Sussex and Tim Wann and Duncan Owen in the control room.
Martin Audio's EASE expert, Peter Child, had provided the modelling data after specifying a system utilising front and rear facing colour-matched loudspeakers which offered uniform coverage and good intelligibility.
Said Tim: 'With the need to work around lighting, it was surprising just how much change was required in resetting the loudspeaker positions. However, it was all relatively straightforward and came well within the specification.'
The real test of the system, he says, will come during the Wimbledon Fortnight (June 22-July 5).
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