Inaugurated in 2016, Dubai Opera is the city’s first purpose built, multi-format performing arts venue and the definitiveinternational destination for world class entertainment productions and events. It houses a truly unique performance space that can change its physical form to perfectly suit the needs of any type of event. State of the art mechanized systems shift the room’s side boxes, walls, ceiling panels, stage, and seating wagons to completely transform the venue from opera house to concert hall to flat floor banqueting and events space, all in less than four hours.
The task of designing an appropriate audio solution fell to theater consultant and sound designer, Borneo Brown of Theatre Projects. He worked in tandem with the integrators, LSI Projects and 7Hz (formerly Lightbox Professional), d&b’s distributor responsible for the Gulf states, to deliver the elaborate audio design for the space. Brown opted for a system based on main L/C/R hangs of V-Series’ V12s with a flown V-SUB array. All speakers were delivered with a custom, color matched paint finish to blend seamlessly into the environment, and the system is fully optimized with ArrayProcessing. Brown’s choice of system was based on a combination of factors that largely boils down to three elements: products, people and brand.
“In terms of product, it was obvious early on that we’d need a line array for the main system,” observes Brown. “The briefrequired that it be removable, physically discreet, and yet able to handle as broad a spectrum of performance types as possible.”
V-Series had just been released and it was a really good in-between box - the ideal compromise between size, power and visual appearance. A smaller line array wouldn’t have been powerful enough, and anything bigger would have been too visually imposing in the space. It’s an excellent sounding, highly versatile cabinet and one I have specified on many occasions since.Borneo Brown, Theater Consultant and Sound Designer, Theatre Projects
In addition to the main system, there are a huge number of delay and surround speakers throughout the auditorium to ensure evencoverage, especially in the several VIP box areas at the back and sides of the hall. Brown selected a range of E-Series, and xS-Series installation loudspeakers.
d&b’s broad product range never disappoints. Whether I need a four inch speaker to tuck into a corner somewhere or a massive concert system, I know they’ll have the right product for the job — plus their support is amazing.Borneo Brown
Five years on and the system has stood the test of time. Jacey Linton, Head of Sound and Broadcast at Dubai Opera, was involvedin the project from the early days, as was his deputy, James Lynch. “The loudspeaker systems enable optimal presentation of many different types of performance depending on our venue configuration,” says Linton.
However, the real test of any venue system, especially one as complex as this, is usually further down the line once programming has started in earnest and the real world requirements become clear. “We discovered we needed more power for the louder, more energetic shows,” describes Lynch. “We added two V12s to the center hang. We added more SUBs - two J-INFRAs and later on two SL-GSUBs – as well as six T10s which are used as frontfills for the rock and pop shows. We now have great coverage and can achieve even higher SPL as well as extending the frequency range at the bottom end. The original system was good for 90% of the shows that came through in the first year and was versatile enough for everything from opera, via corporate meetings, through to most rock and roll bands. Our additions have made it possible to cater for even the biggest productions.”
Lynch also acknowledges the benefits of ArrayProcessing.
I’m very glad the system was spec’d with enough amp channels to allow ArrayProcessing on the arrays. The difference is really night and day — it allows a much clearer, brighter sound that enhances the experience for the engineer as well as the audience.James Lynch, Deputy Head of Sound, Dubai Opera
“The fact that the system has been able to grow and evolve with us is testament to the flexibility of Borneo’s original design,” says Linton in conclusion.
We have a world class system in a world class venue that easily meets the requirements of the original brief.Jacey Linton, Head of Sound, Dubai Opera
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