Historic Dutch cultural centre equips with d&b
't Gasthoês06-10-2021 / Live /
‘t Gasthoês in the municipality of Horst aan de Maas in the southeastern Netherlands is a historic venue with a very modern heart. Founded in 1475 by a priest as a guesthouse for pilgrims, the building has retained its social function right through to the present day; it welcomed the poor, sick and elderly before becoming a hospital until a new, more modern facility was opened nearby in 1968. In 1982 the building was transformed into a cultural centre. Whilst the venue had been renovated as part of that transformation, nearly four decades on, was clear that the facilities were due for a major upgrade. Consequently, the venue was closed for nearly two years whilst the building was completely refurbished and transformed into the modern and welcoming multifunctional cultural centre that it is today. Amptec was contracted to specify, supply and install the audio systems throughout the building, in particular for the main performance space and café/restaurant area.
Billed as ‘Horst aan de Maas' living room' where people come together for all manner of activities, or even just for a drink and the opportunity to catch up with friends, facilities include a beautiful library; multiple spaces of varying sizes available for meetings, workshops, private events etc; a superb bar and restaurant area complete with mezzanine; and finally a flexible 475-capacity theatre space for performances of all types, cinema screenings, corporate events, banquets, weddings, funerals and more. It was for this space in particular that Amptec's expertise was required.
A further requirement was that the system be low maintenance and easy to operate. "We asked for built-in presets for various scenarios to make the system as plug-and-play as possible," continues Jacobs. "Amptec supplied us with a remote control touch panel from d&b that allows us to control the system very easily, even with little technical knowledge."
"t Gasthoês was conceived as a multipurpose venue," says Amptec's sales manager for live sound, Mike Manders. "Consequently, the theatre space isn't just for live performance use - it hosts all kinds of events, from weddings and funerals to corporate events, so it was important that the building manager and external event directors should also be able to use the system without difficulty."
To ensure the quality levels requested by 't Gasthoês, Amptec specified and installed a d&b point source system based on five high performance 24S cabinets; a pair of 24S are flown left and right of the stage supplemented by a 21S subwoofer flown outside the 24S clusters. A fifth 24S flown horizontally above the stage provides main centre fill. Side fill, lip fill and delays are provided by a variety of d&b xS-Series loudspeakers ranging from the ultra-compact 5S to the larger, more powerful 10S. Eight MAX2 stage monitors complete the lineup. A compact Yamaha QL1 digital mixing console complete with Rio3224-D2 I/O Dante interface performs FoH mixing duties. The cherry on the cake for this implementation is the d&b R90 touch screen remote control panel which offers straightforward, no-nonsense system operation and control. Amptec also supplied four 10S and a 12S-SUB subwoofer for the café/restaurant area which also hosts private events.
"The R90 grants any user, regardless of technical ability, with one-touch control over a range of predefined functions," explains Manders. "We created a number of different presets within the R90 to cater for a range of scenarios: for example, there is a preset for large events and shows using the PA in conjunction with the FOH desk, while for simplified use, such as a corporate presentation or a private ceremony, a small line mixer is provided, enabling the client to connect a wireless microphone for speeches and to play music over the PA without having to use the main FoH console. We've also interfaced the R90 with the lighting and projection control system, enabling users to turn the lights and projector on and off as well as raise and lower the screen, all at the touch of a button. This means that for smaller events, there is no need to hire an engineer, which of course represents a cost saving for the client, and generally makes life easier."
When it came to the commissioning process, Manders made special note of the d&b workflow which facilitated the task enormously: "As the theatre neared completion, we were called back in to tune the system. Unfortunately, on the day this was scheduled, there was still a lot of work going on with the lights and the curtains on stage", he recalls. "Obviously the pink noise that we would be generating for our measurements wasn't ideal for them, so I asked for 90 minutes to tune the system. Our installation team had already installed the loudspeakers according to the ArrayCalc simulations we had produced, so I loaded the design into the R1 remote control software which generates a project-specific user interface and transfers the required settings to the d&b amplifiers. As usual, the d&b workflow proved to be fast and efficient - even faster than I had anticipated, in fact - with the result that 60 minutes later, the system was tuned and ready to go."
Dion Jacobs is extremely pleased with the results. "The communication with Amptec throughout the design and installation process was excellent", he remarks. "We feel as if we've known them forever! We know that we can count on them if we need help, and that's a good feeling. I'd also like to mention the excellent project management provided by Koen Koch, an independent theatre consultant who coordinated all the various suppliers and helped ensure a successful conclusion."
5961 GA Horst