The Burdekin Theatre is downright beautiful, with its deep red stage curtains and matching carpeting throughout, accented by red and white lights setting a mood with reflections shining magnificently off golden-hued walls. It’s the Burdekin region of Australia’s home for arts and entertainment, playing host to a diverse range of live performances including musicals, plays and rock concerts. It also plays host to conferences and seminars, plus local events such as dance recitals, school award nights, and more. The theatre features an impressive 473-seat auditorium with proscenium arch, ﬂy tower, and orchestra pit, supported by a professional technical staff who work in its state-of-the-art facilities. To see this venue is to understand that the Burdekin Theatre is a first-class establishment that aims high at every turn, so it followed that when it came time to upgrade its sound system – Clair Brothers topped the list after a competitive review of major loudspeaker brands.
Explains David Luscombe, theatre technician, at Burdekin Theatre, “As time went on, I knew our old system was reaching the end of its life expectancy. It just wasn’t keeping up with our ever-rising standards. I saw it as an opportunity to upgrade, so I took a listen to several top brands before I got the opportunity to experience an in-person demo with Wayne Grosser, the Clair Brothers’ audio and design consultant here in Australia. After hearing the system Wayne proposed, I was sold, and knew right then that Burdekin Theatre was about to have installed a loudspeaker system from the best manufacturer in the market today.”
At the demo, David’s audio brief for the upgrade was a system designed by Mr. Grosser, a Clair Brothers speaker combination that would provide longevity and the best audio experience to the theatre’s audiences from rock to opera. The configuration was an LCR system which would give the venue and its engineers total flexibility and headroom, while using Dante to drive the system from their Allen & Heath iLive console. Adds Grosser, “My design approach was to use the same speaker elements in all three main hangs horizontally arrayed, which fitted within the theatre’s proscenium.”
The Burdekin thankfully possesses naturally flowing acoustics, so the installation of the new sound system wasn’t so much about overcoming challenges as it was about making sure the room achieved its maximum potential with the perfect complimentary components. It’s why this proposed Clair Brothers kiT12 system was the ultimate choice. “The top kiT12s on each hang,” explains Grosser, “were 60° x 40° and the bottom kiT12s were 90° x 40°. Each kiT12 is in bi-amp mode and has its own two-amp channels and Lake processing with a total of twelve 1000W @ 8Ω amplifier channels for the six kiT12s (three CB-D 40:4L amps). This allows David and his team of engineers to trim or shade the bottom kiT12s if necessary, for the orchestra pit or certain productions that perform on the extended downstage area. Two kiT-Subs placed on either side of the stage provide even sub coverage throughout the seating area powered by a CB-D 80:4L 4 x 2000W @ 8Ω. Four 5CX front fills work perfectly to provide vocal image to the front VIP seating rows.” Luscombe elaborates: “Having the exact same components in the LCR hang has made a significant improvement to the tonality and intelligibility in the room. And having front fill with the same voicing as the main hangs was a genius decision, really. When you hear the results, you realise why I knew this was the only way to go. Then, when you add in the four fantastic sounding Clair Brothers CB-D40:4L amps, you get headroom for days. What more can I say?”
With regard to video, the kiT12 system enables the Burdekin team to hang the speakers in such a position so as not to impede the sight lines of the theatre’s proscenium arch or obstruct video projection onto the rear cyclorama. In conclusion, Luscombe puts it this way: “The kiT12 system is a great system all the way around. Its flexibility provides us with an accurate presentation of what is being fed into the system. The contrast compared to our previous system is night and day. And honestly, from an audio engineer’s point of view, it has completely changed how I mix in this room. I no longer have to do combat audio just to get it to sound respectable. Now I can mix from a creative perspective, allowing a much more enjoyable show from both a patron’s point of view and the crew’s perspective. The icing on the cake is that since the installation, we consistently receive compliments from attendees and performers alike who notice how great the sound is. Absolutely they do – It’s a Clair Brothers system after all!”
Clair Brothers: www.clairbrothers.com