A rose by any other name
Just over one hundred and fifty years ago Brampton was first recognised as a village with a population of five hundred souls. Today it is home to around five hundred thousand people making it one of Canada’s largest cities. Although urban sprawl has brought it closer to Toronto, Brampton has an individual and proud cultural heritage that celebrates the hardworking and industrious nature of its citizens. The Rose Theatre, built in 2006 in the very centre of the city, is a confident combination of glass and brick that boldly reflects the city’s pride in itself.
The brand new Theatre came equipped with a brand new loudspeaker system but, as Trevor Nash, Technical Co-ordinator explains, all was not rosy in the garden, “Plans on paper don’t always successfully translate into real world situations. There were coverage issues in several areas of the auditorium. Although adding ground stacked subwoofers and two-way cabinets provided some acoustic improvement, sight lines were compromised as a result.” Nash had worked with a rented d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system from APEX Sound and Light on Jesse Cook’s Canadian tour in 2010 and was in no doubt it would be the right choice for The Rose. How could he be so certain? “Having mixed on just about every type of speaker system around the world, for me the d&b product produces the best sound of them all, this was our main criteria. However, we did obtain quotes from another manufacturer but d&b’s innovative specification, the passive boxes that reduce the amplifier count; the internal processing in d&b amplifiers that reduce the need for external processors and the compatibility with our digital consoles made the d&b choice the more cost efficient option. The clear cut winner was d&b audiotechnik.”
Nash and the Rose team made use of d&b’s ArrayCalc simulator before opting for a combination of d&b Q-Series and E-Series. François Corbin, head of d&b Canada, explains, “They wanted to go with B2 subwoofers but when we showed them the J-SUBs in ArrayCalc they were able to reconsider their decision without incurring extra cost or wasting time at a later stage of the installation process. It’s what the ArrayCalc system is all about, providing that extra reassurance for our clients.” The Rose Theatre is an intimate space with a capacity of eight hundred and seventy six. The horseshoe design means that the furthest seat is only sixty five feet from the stage so coverage has to be achieved without overwhelming the listener. The main array is flown high to avoid sight line issues but Nash has been able to compensate with intelligent use of the other loudspeakers. “The Q1’s horizontal and vertical dispersion does a great job of covering the main audience space. The E6s cover corners just outside of the array coverage while the rotating horns of the Q10s allow us to completely cover under the balcony without conflicting with the main array.”
Nash is unambiguous about the results, “We’ve had great feedback from performers telling the audience how great everything sounds and playing longer sets as a result; engineers raving about what a pleasure it is to mix on the rig and last, but not least, audience appreciation. We have very discerning customers here at Brampton and they have always been very quick to complain in the past!” In fact the installation has been so well received that The Rose has gone on to purchase a mobile Q-Series system to support outdoor events staged by local community groups and the City of Brampton who have invested in a mobile stage system. Nash explains the rationale, “Our outdoor events happen in many areas. There is a ‘fountain stage’ in the Garden Square directly in front of The Rose. This is in the heart of downtown and hosts many events ranging from small afternoon concerts to full production festivals and special events. We also facilitate festivals in nearby Gage Park. Our biggest event is the Brampton Canada Day celebration that usually draws ten thousand people.”
In such circumstances, flexibility is the key as Nash confirms, “The range of these shows require us to have a very versatile system. The d&b system is amazing for this much needed versatility. On a given day we could have a symphony orchestra playing in the morning, an afternoon bluegrass concert then an evening theatre performance of Shakespeare, all capped off by an evening movie under the stars. With the d&b system of complete compatibility between all their amplifiers and loudspeakers we can quickly shift to any configuration.”
These events continue all year round and in these latitudes, that means functioning in the extremes of a Canadian winter. The annual New Year event can often take place amidst temperatures as low as minus thirty five degrees Celsius which even took d&b technicians by surprise when two engineers attended a d&b training session as Nash points out, “Their ArrayCalc is only programmed to recognise as low as minus twenty degrees Celsius but our infamous Canadian cold has not affected the system at all.” It seems this particular rose can bloom at any time of year!
Photographs provided by the Rose Theatre, Brampton.