Iconic Sheffield theatre The Crucible harnesses the power of Soundscape.

Having recently celebrated fifty years of groundbreaking theatre-making, the Crucible is part of Sheffield Theatres, alongside the Lyceum and Studio. With its distinctive, octagonally shaped stage and a reputation for unforgettable productions, audience members enjoy a fantastic variety of events each year, with the venue also hosting snooker’s highest profile competition, the World Snooker Championships, on an annual basis.

The Crucible is a Grade II listed building with 980 seats, located on three sides of its versatile thrust stage, with no audience member further than 22m away from the performance.

With the aim of enhancing the audience experience and helping its creative team to push artistic boundaries as far as possible, the theatre’s management decided to upgrade the audio system. Sheffield Theatres specified a d&b audiotechnik system and elected to embrace the new and immersive d&b Soundscape technology.

Our existing system was very old. It was capable but had its limitations, with the result that we regularly had to hire a lot of equipment to support some of our productions, such as large musicals. d&b was chosen as a named supplier based on the system installed at the Lyceum in 2014. We couldn’t have been happier with the quality, while the support d&b had given us throughout the design period and beyond was first-rate – they are a fantastic company to work with. After close consultation, it was clear that the incredible Soundscape technology would add so many possibilities for sound design at the Crucible.John Bates, Operations Director for Sheffield Theatres

d&b installation partner and Bradford-based specialist Pro Audio Systems were appointed to carry out the installation. Bates continues:

“Pro Audio Systems had delivered excellent service at The Lyceum. Their project management team was very efficient, communicated well, and their installation staff were highly professional and always prepared to go the extra mile. They were the logical choice to take care of the installation.”

The Crucible’s stage and seating is based on an octagonal design built around 45°. In total there are 72 amplifier channels and loudspeakers catering for the Soundscape system. d&b’s revolutionary audio system processor, the DS100 Signal Engine sits at the heart of the system, allowing for the individual placement and movement of up to 64 sound objects. A variety of loudspeakers from across the d&b range were deployed to meet the coverage requirements.

The installation was completed on time and on budget, much to the satisfaction of John Bates. “The process ran smoothly from start to finish. Pro Audio Systems expertly managed some COVID-related procurement concerns connected with ancillary equipment, and d&b’s delivery was spot on time.”

A very tight schedule meant that we faced a number of logistical challenges, but the job proceeded smoothly and efficiently from start to finish in a spirit of real cooperation. All parties involved - our team, the theatre’s technicians and d&b, contributed to an outcome that has been described in glowing terms by everyone who has heard the system. Peter Butler, Business Development Director at PA Systems Having experienced the system in use, I have no hesitation in saying that it’s the best audio experience I’ve ever had. No matter where you are in the auditorium the sound is incredibly clear - it actually gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it! John Bates, Operations Director for Sheffield Theatres

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