Sitting at the tip of Nariman Point in bustling Mumbai, the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) is unique in India. As the home of the Symphony Orchestra of India and a focal point for the arts, the NCPA celebrates both Indian and western culture, presenting an eclectic program of music, theatre, opera, dance, film, and spoken word performance.
Despite its architectural and cultural status, until recently the NCPA had virtually no permanently installed sound systems, other than a small handful of loudspeakers. For the venue’s technical team, providing sound reinforcement of a standard to meet the expectations of NCPA’s patrons was often a struggle.
When in 2017 the decision was taken to invest in permanent sound reinforcement solutions for the Experimental Theatre and the Little Theatre, the brief was simple. “The whole point of this investment was to standardize how the NCPA sounds,” says Jyoti. “No matter what the show is, the source is the same; it doesn’t keep changing with each vendor and each engineer.”
In their search for a solution, NCPA considered several sound reinforcement brands that they believed could deliver the high-quality sound system they were searching for. However, one stood out, as Ashwin explains. “One of the biggest reasons that we decided to choose the d&b system is the quality of the after-sales service that would be available. This was very important.”
The d&b audiotechnik sales partner in India is Ansata, an audio solutions specialist based in Bengaluru in southern India, but with branch offices in all major cities, Mumbai included. “We already knew d&b sounded good,” says Jyoti, “but we were very secure in knowing that if we bought this system, we would always have Ansata behind us. No matter what time of day or night, we knew we’d get a good response, and a quick response.”
Working closely with Ansata, and with support from the d&b Asia Pacific office, Jyoti developed system designs for the two spaces. So as not to interrupt the day-to-day running of the NCPA, Jyoti and the Ansata team installed the loudspeakers in a series of short shifts planned around performances.
The Little Theatre received a simple left/right system consisting of a single d&b V10P point source loudspeaker complemented by a ground stacked, cardioid V-GSUB per side. Additional fill for the small space was provided with a Yi10P point source as a centre fill and two E6 loudspeakers as front fills. For stage monitoring, four d&b M4 wedges are available. Amplification is provided by the d&b 30D installation amplifier.
The system they designed for the Experimental Theatre featured four V10P point-source loudspeakers, complemented by the controlled cardioid performance of a pair of V-SUBs, and four E6 cabinets serving as out/front fills. Here, six d&b M4 monitors are available for the stage. As with the Little Theatre, amplification is provided by D20 for the main system and monitoring.
Since commissioning, comments have been extremely positive. “Just in the two months since we started working with the new installed system, some of the best theatre production companies and some of the best sound engineers in India have come and worked with the system and they have been very impressed,” says Jyoti. “Everybody is happy with the changes.”
Best of all, patrons’ complaints about the sound have stopped entirely. “The NCPA is a venue where, the people who come here are extremely sensitive to what it should be, how it should sound, and what it should look like,” says Jyoti. “Before, we used to have lots of complaints about the sound quality, but in the last two months we have had none.”