Amptec upgrades audio system at CCHA to be 'immersive-ready'


23-10-2023 / Live /

Amptec recently won the tender to upgrade the sound system of the main 890-capacity theatre hall in the Cultural Centre in Hasselt (CCHA), Belgium. The venue specifically requested a 'forward-looking approach' for the hall which caters for an extremely diverse cultural programme.

Head of theatre technology at CCHA, Yves Van Moerbeke, takes up the story: "Although immersive audio is still in its infancy, we wanted the option to quickly transition and use components that could serve for an immersive audio setup. Amptec emerged as the strongest contender due to their experience and a proposal closely aligned with our requested setup."

"The biggest audio challenge in our hall is the various seating arrangements," continues Van Moerbeke. "For example, we use our orchestra pit in several different positions, plus the balcony is sometimes open and sometimes closed, depending on audience numbers or requested sightlines. This demands a flexible solution in the system presets so that we can quickly switch between these setups without having to reconfigure the speaker arrangement every time."

"Immersive-ready for us means being prepared for the future - and this system give us all the flexibility we could possibly hope for."

Amptec's Brecht Ieven specified a comprehensive d&b system comprising L/R arrays of 7 x Yi8 per side (with ArrayProcessing), a centre cluster of 3 x ALi90 (with ArrayProcessing), 2 x Yi7P downfills, 6 x 44S lipfills and balcony outfills, a flown cardioid sub-array of 8 x Yi-SUB and 2 x KSLi-SUB infra subs. A DirectOut PRODIGY.MP matrix processor provides flexible routing options for analog, AES and Dante input signals. A d&b R90 touchscreen provides overall control of the system.

"All of the loudspeakers and their positions were carefully selected to achieve even, controlled dispersion throughout the venue," recalls Ieven. "ArrayProcessing is used to optimise the tonal balance for all audience members, regardless of where they are seated. We needed to achieve the same even dispersion with the subwoofers, hence the choice for a flown cardioid sub array which significantly reduces sound radiation towards the stage, thereby reducing unwanted reflections towards the audience."

Van Moerbeke is delighted with the result. "The decision to suspend the sub-array above the proscenium opening aligns with our concept of increasing flexibility and serves as a forward-looking solution since a 180° immersive setup fits nicely between the subs - plus the integration of a DS10 audio network bridge makes a future upgrade to d&b Soundscape a simple transition - and the use of d&b ArrayProcessing in combination with the R90 makes this setup super flexible and still easy to operate," he says.

He also made special mention of the DirectOut PRODIGY.MP processor which is used to manage the various routing options. "We can now run the entire system via analog, AES or Dante thanks to the combination of the Prodigy matrix and the R90 controller," he notes. "Through the R90, even our less technically experienced technicians can easily offer the option to connect a simple stereo input or, with the press of a button, recall a preset where the lip fills, sub-array, infra-subs, and/or the center cluster can be controlled separately. Using DirectOut's 'globcon' software, we can route any combination of analog and/or digital inputs to the 14 different outputs of the system for demanding setups, which was a must for us. This creates a perfect balance between ease of use and system flexibility.

"Immersive-ready for us means being prepared for the future - and this system give us all the flexibility we could possibly hope for."

Partners in this project

Amptec connx
Amptec ntwrx
d&b audiotechnik

Kunstlaan 5
3500 Hasselt